What Is the Proper Engagement Gift?

Making sure you give the right engagement present to the happy couple is key. Find out how to handle the task with these 3 tips from Modern Manners Guy.

Richie Frieman
3-minute read
Episode #142
The Quick And Dirty

Modern Manners's engagement tips are:

  1. Keep it simple and don't break the bank—save the fancy gift for the wedding!
  2. Consider asking a group to go all-in on one nice gift
  3. Be creative—personalized gifts are always treasured

Everywhere you look, there are couples announcing their engagements. With so many people getting engaged and you being the popular person you are, chances are you will be called with an invite to the engagement party. Your happiness for the couple might turn to panic, however, when you find yourself wondering, “What do I get them for an engagement gift?” Don’t worry; you’ll be able to handle this task with ease after reading my top three tips for the proper engagement gift:

Engagement Gift Tip #1: Don’t Break the Bank

Getting someone an engagement gift usually assumes that you are close enough with them that you’ll be invited to the party

When it comes to time to pick out a present, remember that you will also be buying them a wedding gift down the line, so don’t break the bank. Think of an engagement gift as an appetizer and the wedding gift as the main course.

Now, I’m not going to say how much you should spend because every person has different finances and really money is not the issue here. Presents are not about money; they are about the thought, and I will argue that until I’m blue in the face.

For example, my one friend took my wife and me out for dinner when we got engaged. We had a great night with him and his wife and it was a perfect way to congratulate us. He didn’t splurge on the nicest place in town, but then again it wasn’t McDonald's. His gift was a way to spend some time with us and share our excitement about the big day—it was just what we wanted.

What about if you're going to an engagement party? Again, engagement gifts are a way to say “Congratulations!” They’re not a competition. Keep it simple with a nice picture frame, a photo album, or a gift certificate to the couple's favorite restaurant.

If you need more guidance on the engagement gift, you can buy something small off the registry.

Engagement Gift Tip #2:  A Group Gift

I had eight groomsmen in my wedding party and I have been the best man in five weddings, so I’m used to hanging out with a tight group of guys. One way we like to give engagement gifts is by doing a group gift. We pool our money together and get the happy couple something from all of us. It ends up being a very nice present and saves us a lot of money individually.

Presents are not about money; they are about the thought.

Group gifts don’t have to just come from groups of friends. A family can also give a group gift. Wedding gifts tend to come from a person or a couple, but engagement gifts can be from the whole family. The engagement gift is also the best time to give a unique gift. For example, six of my friends came together and got me a TiVo (and a lifetime subscription) for my engagement.  It was a very generous gift, but because it was split among a group, it didn’t break their individual banks.

Engagement Gift Tip #3:  Be Creative

As I said in the previous two tips, the engagement gift is the sneak peek to the wedding gift. It has a looser and more casual feel than a wedding gift, which is why I like to go off registry and get creative. I usually like to find a fun gift and personalize it.

A really cool gift I receivedand then gavewas a personalized wine bottle with a custom label with our names and date of the wedding. Another great gift I got for a couple who got engaged on Christmas was a crystal ornament that had the dates of their engagement and upcoming wedding etched into it. It was simple, elegant, spoke to the moment, was one of a kind and didn’t break the bank. I gave a couple who lived by the beach personalized beach towels with their names and the date of their wedding etched on them. All of these gifts are just examples of presents that were much appreciated because they were fun, personal, and of course thoughtful—three great things to keep in mind when deciding on an engagement gift.