If you’re new to the wedding circuit, you may have a lot of questions about etiquette when it comes to gifts, dress codes, and more. When you receive an invitation to a friend’s engagement celebration, your first question might be “what do I wear to this event?”
What to wear to an engagement party depends on a variety of factors, including the venue where the party is held, the formality of the event, and more. We’ll walk you through the basics of dress code etiquette for engagement parties.
What Exactly Happens at an Engagement Party?
Engagement parties come packed with an array of events. While some lean towards the traditional cocktail parties, others can include a formal dinner, backyard barbecues, or afternoon drinks. One thing is common to all of engagement parties though; sheer fun!
Typically, engagement parties are not lavish affairs. The newly engaged couple generally invites family and close friends to celebrate their recent engagement. Sometimes, the celebration is already planned by the groom so that it takes place directly after he pops the question.
Expect drinks, snacks, and excited conversation about the happy couple at an engagement party. There may be games or activities, depending on the location and overall feel of the party. Otherwise, plan to mingle with guests and congratulate your friends on their engagement!
Engagement Party Dress Codes
Before you attend the engagement party, be sure to ask if there is a particular dress code. Plan what you’ll wear to an engagement party beforehand to avoid any faux pas.
In most cases, this information is usually provided in the invitation. However, if it is not available, feel free to ask your host; you do not want to show up looking completely out of place.
Dress codes come in handy in deciphering what outfit works best, while giving you a rough idea of what others will be wearing. Additionally, failing to honor the given dress code can be viewed as an act of disrespect to the host, so be sure to gather all the necessary information regarding this beforehand.
Most engagement parties are casual, requiring you to dress like you are attending a cocktail party. However, depending on the particular details of the party, you can either dress up or dress down.
Engagement Party Location
In addition to the dress code, the engagement party location can also help you in your choice of outfit. The event’s site should also be provided in the invitation. However, if it not, be sure to confirm from your host.
The rule of thumb here is that if the event is outdoors, you should go casual. While the weather is an additional factor to consider, be sure to strike a balance. Be ready for anything. You could carry a light jacket or shawl just in case the weather decides to misbehave.
For an indoor party, be sure to either dress up or down depending on the specific venue. If you are at someone’s house, let your outfit be relaxed, but well thought out. Come in your best weekend-style kind of outfit to blend in. If the venue is more formal, be sure to rock a more polished look.
You should also consider the time of day of the engagement party. A daytime party calls for a sundress, while a night time party might call for a cocktail dress. Make sure you account for the time of day when choosing your outfit.
Outfit Ideas for the Bride and Groom
If the engagement party happens to be for you, it can be harder to choose the best outfit. However, it can still be at your advantage. You will most likely be the one planning the theme, the attire, and even the venue!
Here, you can be the pacemaker, setting the pace so others can follow. While everyone expects for your outfit to stand out from the crowd’s, the trick is to be comfortable; do not overthink anything. Choose an outfit that best reflects your personality, and don’t forget to show off your new engagement ring!
It does not matter if you choose the conventional white or add in a little bit of color. Be you. After all, it is your engagement party!
The groom can follow his bride in terms of a color scheme; while you don’t have to match, your outfits should complement one another so that you don’t clash in pictures. Follow the same rules that you would for engagement photo outfits to look your best.
Depending on the location and formality of the engagement party, the groom-to-be can wear either nice pants or shorts and a button down shirt. It’s your party, so you can choose how casually or formally you want to dress, and guests can follow your lead.
Outfit Ideas for Guests
As a guest to the engagement party, you definitely want to look your best! While you are saving the best for the actual wedding day, be sure that your wedding engagement outfit is still on point. The best thing to do is pick an outfit that is part polish, part party.
Be creative when choosing an outfit, but don’t stress too much about what to wear. Black can be a perfect and elegant choice for an evening engagement party, especially if you accessorize it with gold.
The rule of thumb here is to have fun with your choice of outfit; it is an engagement party, not a business conference! If you feel like bringing in some energy into your outfit, try bold colors, prints or even playful accessories. However, remember to stick to the given dress code.
In the case where there is no stipulated dress code, be sure to try out the following outfit ideas.
Engagement Party Outfit Ideas for Women
Cocktail attire .- and engagement party attire – should not be too stressful. For women, opt for a nice dress. If you’ll be outside on a warm day, a sundress should suffice. If the engagement party is at night or at a more formal venue, wear a nicer evening dress that would fit at a cocktail hour.
The bride often wears white to her engagement party, so we recommend avoiding this color. It’s not a faux pas to wear white to an engagement party like it is at a wedding, but the bride may want to stand out in her bridal white. To play it safe and keep good engagement party etiquette, do not wear white.
Otherwise, simply dress for the season, weather, and formality of the venue. If dresses aren’t your cup of tea, you can opt for jeans or dress pants and a nice blouse, rompers, jumpsuits, and other casual but nice options.
Engagement Party Outfit Ideas for Men
Men should also use context clues like location, venue, and season to help choose their outfits for an engagement party. Dress up, but not too much.
If the engagement party is a backyard barbecue, shorts or pants and a polo or short sleeve button down should work well. For an indoor, nighttime event, wear pants (khakis, chinos, or dress pants work) and a button down. If the event is more formal, add a sport coat. In winter, a sweater and nice pants works fine as well.
An engagement party is an exciting celebration of love, and it’s the first party to kick off the nuptials of your close relatives or friends. Don’t stress too much about what to wear – you can always ask the host or other friends who were invited for tips.
Have fun and congratulate the happy couple! If you want to bring a gift, you can find ideas here!
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