Wedding Etiquette: Am I supposed to bring a gift to an engagement party?


Katie Kett Photography

QUESTION: Am I supposed to bring a gift to an engagement party?

GINA’S ANSWER: Absolutely not. A card is a nice gesture and a perfectly acceptable way to congratulate the newly-engaged couple, in addition to attending their celebration of course. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to pick out a gift for the couples’ shower and/or wedding. As a bride, I would have felt really weird if someone brought me a gift just for getting engaged – celebrating with my loved ones is gift enough!

JESS’ ANSWER: No, unless there were formal invitations sent out that list a registry. If it’s a casual celebration at say, a bar, then no gift is necessary. However, you should bring a card! If you’re still not sure, a good compromise is a nice bottle of champagne!

ASHLEY’S ANSWER: Typically yes, though I think there is some wiggle room with this rule. Depending on the couple and your relationship to them, you can judge the appreciation and the appropriateness of a gift. If you hardly know the couple or as of recent are friends, then I think that a small gift or nice card is acceptable. However, if you are family or long time friends, this is a big occasion and a gift is very appropriate. One way to sneakily address this is to ask ahead of the party if there is a registry somewhere online you may peek at. Scope out their wish lists and see what their style is. Some couples will not have a registry that far in advance though!

Need more wedding etiquette, advice and tips? See previous etiquette posts here.

Gina and Matt_web_175Gina Heideman is a bride-in-training from Boise, Idaho. When she’s not planning her navy/preppy/downtown wedding, she spends her time perfecting her crab cake recipe, drinking wine and playing cribbage with her fiance, and playing outside. She’s an avid swimmer, runner, gardener and reality TV junkie. By day she works as Executive Director of a statewide nonprofit organization that focuses on meth use prevention. By night she’s a freelance graphic designer (


Jess Keys is a Journalism graduate of Indiana University, a Chicago transplant and Founder of The Golden Girl Blog. She was first bitten by the wedding bug at age 11, when she purchased her first Brides magazine in the Lexington, KY airport. She’s partial to red lipstick, French Bulldogs, and a lover of the written word. When she’s not writing for Wedding Party, you can often find her at the closest Dim Sum establishment, or exploring the Windy City with her camera in tow.


Ashley Smith is the wedding planner for Buzzworthy SF. She believes that purpose, craft, design, and strategy are all cohesive elements to produce a successful event. Ashley is available for weddings in California and worldwide. Her expertise is in the Bay Area, but her heart is in Mexico, where she is certified by the board of tourism to plan and work. If she is not in San Francisco planning weddings and being social, you’ll find her on the beach at Playa Azul, Papaya Playa, or exploring the coast lines in Central America via bicycle.


Marriage expectations: What you need to know about your fiancé before tying the knot


Laura Ivanova Photography

This is a guest post by our friend and couples coach Kira Asatryan!

As a couples coach who specializes in pre-marital coaching, I love to encourage brides – in between dress fittings & mimosa brunches, of course! – to make time during their engagement to discuss the marriage. This is a once-in-a-lifetime stage in your relationship, where you’re completely committed but not yet set-in-your-ways, that you’ll never get back. Make the most of it!

One of the main topics I urge couples to address during their engagement is marriage expectations. If you only have time to discuss one topic with your fiancé before you wed, make it this one. Expectations are the aspects of your future you strongly believe will happen, and this is exactly why they’re important to share with your partner – they are reflections of your closely-held beliefs.

Below are some tips for getting the expectation conversation started, and for getting it back on track if you stumble upon something unexpected…

1. Ask Open-Ended Questions

Most engaged couples have discussed the nut-and-bolts of their future – where they want to live, what they want their jobs to be, how many kids they want – but many gloss over the more subtle expectations embedded in these topics. Get at the underlying expectations by asking open-ended questions, such as:

  • How do you think we should raise our kids?
  • What roles do you want me to take on after we’re married?
  • How do you want me to support you when you’re going through a hard time?

If you pose one of these questions to your fiancé, you’ll probably get a resounding “Huh?” That’s because it’s going to be weird at first. But not only is weird healthy, weird is what you’re going for! Weird means you’re covering territory you haven’t before. And the beauty of weird conversations is: your partner really doesn’t know what the “right” answer is. They won’t know what you want to hear, so they’ll have no choice but to speak their truth.


Kaitie Bryant

2. Put a Weight on It

If you like it then you shoulda put a weight on it….

Sorry I had to.

Once you start asking open-ended questions, you’ll discover you and your fiancé have some differing expectations about the future. Hopefully you won’t be replete with polar opposite opinions, but some variance is inevitable. So what should you do if your partner expects something from the future you disagree with? Put a weight on it.

Put a weight on it means: identify how much that expectation really matters to you (and to them). This is the perfect moment for a little coaching exercise (YAY!). Rate on a scale of 1-10 how much you really care that this expectation works out the way you envisioned it – 1 meaning you actually don’t care at all and 10 meaning it’s of essential importance to you. Have your fiancé do the same. Then share your ratings & discuss.

You’ll find that it’s actually very rare for both partners to find the same expectation essentially important. Take, for example, a husband’s expectation that his wife will quit her job after she gets pregnant, but she’d rather keep working. He may rate this a 7 in importance because he feels it’s more financially responsible. She may rate this a 10 because she considers her job part of her identity. Basically, this matters a lot more to her than to him, so her vision needs to take precedence.

3. Find the Overlap

If you find that you both really do care strongly about a certain expectation, it’s time for a bit of compromise, or what I call “finding the overlap.” Finding the overlap means shelving the aspects where you disagree for the moment and building upon the aspects where you do agree. There’s almost always some aspect of an issue that two people can agree on.

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There’s More?!?: A Guide on Tying Up Loose Ends After the Wedding

after the wedding

Redfield Photography

For those who have just been wed — congrats, you did it! You just pulled off an amazingly spectacular wedding and married the love of your life! Now you can wipe the sweat of stress off your brow with a hankie and throw it to the ground in triumph. Okay, now pick it up again. Why? Because wedding etiquette doesn’t end with just the end of the wedding (sadly and surprisingly enough). There are a lot of tasks that you need to accomplish after the wedding, so make sure to do them and do them well to ensure a great start to your marriage! It might add a bunch of unneeded stress, but at least you conquer these tasks while commiserating/celebrating with some much needed apple pie.


after the wedding

Mel Barlow Photography

Hopefully you and your significant other have already established what name you want to share when you’re both happily wed. And hopefully you’ve already deduced it by the time you’ve registered for your marriage license so it saves you the trouble of having to contact your county clerk for one.

Now, your new name is not just the symbol of your new shared bonds — it is also the biggest indicator that your marriage is an ironclad confirmation of your commitment to one another, which is why you’re going to have to change your name on all your important, all-secret official documents. This includes your Social Security card, bank account names, insurance policies, and essentially any sort of card that is issued by the state but you don’t really need for anything but annoying grown-up stuff. It can be a lot of tedious work, but better done now than never!


after the wedding

Crystal Stokes Photography

Hopefully you’ve appointed someone close to you to be in charge of salvaging some of the awesome things at your wedding to keep them as memories. Cake, flowers, programs — the list can go on, so be sure to really keep account of what you want to preserve.

For cake, you want to 1) prevent loss of moisture and 2) prevent it from going bad. Take out any unnecessary adornments like sugar flowers and try to cover over bits of the actual cake itself with frosting if you can in order to prevent moisture from leaking out. Chill it in the refrigerator until the frost firms up a bit (so you don’t accidentally smush your cake’s frosting), and then neatly wrap the cake with several layers of seram wrap. Then place it in a box, seram wrap that box as well, and your cake should be able to keep for a good while (or until your first wedding anniversary at least!).

For flowers, you can either dry them yourself or you can take them to a specialist and have them preserved specially. If you choose to DIY-dry your flowers, I really like either drying them upside down or using a book. I take a small bouquet of flowers, trim the excess leaves, tie them at the end with a small rubber band, and hang them upside down from a door knob or a hanger of some sorts. Flowers can take a couple of weeks to dry, and I find that roses dry the best for me. You can also take a really REALLY heavy book (think atlas heavy) and place individual flowers in between each page. Close the book and let the weight really press down on the flowers to flatten them and dry them out effectively. Pile on more books for more effective pressing. Flowers that are more fragile like peonies or lilies can be more difficult to dry by yourself, so consider taking them to a specialist if you want to preserve more delicate flowers.

For programs or other paper goods, ways to convert them into really cute keepsakes is to frame them! I personally love the idea of a wedding album (and somehow integrating your photography prints and guestbook), so that way you have one collective resource of wedding memories that you can keep throughout the years.

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Something Blue: A Unique Twist on Classic Wedding Traditions


Elisa Bricker

Weddings are all about traditions. Like this one. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. You know how the saying the goes. This one is one of the most time honored wedding traditions around. You’ve seen it before–in the movies, in other weddings. But now it’s your turn. So, herein lies the big question. What to choose, what to choose? What will your something borrowed be? How about your something used? Your something old? Your something blue? Well we can’t give you all the answers, but we can help you out. Today, Wedding Party is all about something blue. Blue shoes. Blue flowers. Blue rings. Blue, blue, blue. Below is our list of favorite ideas for the something blue part of wedding traditions. Which ones are your favorite? Have you used any in your own wedding? Let us know what you think by liking, commenting on and sharing this post. And, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for more wedding planning tips, tricks and ideas. Happy planning beautiful brides!



My Love Story Photography


Tracy Enoch Photography


Intuitive Images Photography


Ryan Bernal Photography


Rock This Moment Photography


Meredith Carlson Photography



Albert Palmer Photography

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