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The Engagement Present

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Recently I attended an engagement party.  On the invite it asked for money instead of a gift via the form of a poem.  Now I understand that in today’s day and age, weddings are expensive and generally the bride’s parents don’t always pay for the ceremony and reception as has happened in years gone by.  What I want to know is. Why do you reward a couple with an engagement present and then again with the wedding present?

Shouldn’t they get the wedding present only as a reward for actually making it to the marriage ceremony?  How many engagements get called off before getting anywhere near the altar?  How many toasters, woks and irons have never been used in the intended marital home only to be argued over and sometimes used as weapons when the engagement ends badly?

Have a think about it.  How many people do you know who have gotten engaged only to cancel their engagement?  I can think of a few who fall into this category.  What happens in this case?  Do they return the gifts given to them at the engagement party?  Don’t you only give an engagement present on the presumption that the wedding will 100% take place eventually down the track?  Should you expect the present back?

To me, the engagement present is over rated.  Sure, have an engagement party.  The couple who are getting married should have the attitude of – Come along and celebrate as it is a very big deal for us but don’t pay for the privilege (unless paying for your own meal and drinks which is ok).  Just being there for our engagement should be enough.  But when (if) we have the wedding, we will really appreciate your gift whether it be material or financial.

Let me be clear that I am not saying this to be cheap.  It has nothing to do with the value of the supposed engagement present.  My issue is that a couple should only get rewarded with a gift for actually getting married.  That is when the real reward should be given.

What do you think?  Is it acceptable to ask for a money gift for an engagement present?  Should an engagement present be given at all?  Have you gone to an engagement party and not given a present? Keen to hear your thoughts.


  1. Keren says:

    No, I don’t think engagement presents should be given at all, too many get cancelled before the wedding, and we should get the presents back, just like the guy is entitled to the engagement ring back if they split before the wedding!

  2. Natasha Gillatt says:

    100% agreement with you Jack. Everytime I have bought a gift (usually an expensive one) they never made it to the alter (bad omen I reckon). Leave the formalities and the gifts(wheather that is money or stuff) for the wedding. The best rip snorter of engagement party I went to was in the parents of the grooms back yard, they hired a juke box & chairs. We were all advised to bring a plate, byo alcohol, and ourselves. Best party eva! We all rattled home in the wee hours, they made it to the alter and are still happily married many years later. It is about people and their love, not money and stuff.

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