Saturday, June 12, 2010

Who's right? Gift or no gift

Please ladies, help me on this one.

We received an invitation to an engagement party yesterday for next month {a pool party, great 4 wks to drop 10 lbs.} oh and my frienemy maybe there and well, this was how the last time we saw each other went, 2yrs ago, a raging success.

So you can tell I'm thrilled about this.

But that's neither here nor there {but if you're a new reader go read up on the frienemy, she's a nut job, its good for a laugh}. Anyways when I checked out the couples webpage under registry it says "The presence of our friends and family is truly a gift in itself, but for those who wish, we are currently registered at Crate and Barrel."

Now here's the thing, is that for the engagement party or the wedding?

Here are a couple facts in case you need them to make up your mind....
-most of the info on the webpage is about the engagement party not the wedding
-the wedding isn't until the fall of 2011 {although what's with the long engagement they are living together, have been for a while and she has kids..... why not just get hitched?}
-the engagement party is out of town for us and apparently quite a few others as there is travel info up on the webpage

I say, the gift info is for the engagement party, flyboy says its for the wedding. He actually said, "that has to be for the wedding, they can't think I'm getting them a gift for both" {in the car as we were turning the corner near the ball field dear in case you don't remember}.

Who is right?

I know they say being right doesn't matter... but it does.

So what do you say... was that no gift necessary for the wedding or engagement? And if your traveling and getting a hotel does that effect your "level" of gift?

Again the disclaimer, flyboy is in the wedding {how bad is it that he didn't even know till I checked the website, proof he needs to return phone calls more often} so I'll get a gift regardless, I'm just curious on who's right.


  1. I've never known people to give gifts for an engagement party, but if I were to see an invitation like that, I'd assume that they were talking about gifts for the engagement party. I'd probably get them something small, just to avoid feeling awkward if people really do give gifts at the engagement party.

  2. The way I was raised, this is how it works: engagement gift is off the registry, wedding gift is a monetary gift that you give based on the idea of "covering your plate" (ie, how much it cost to feed you and the hubs at the reception). So I'd gift for both. It is acceptable to "deduct" money from the wedding gift if you have to travel and pay for a hotel, etc.

    The exception to this is if they went to your wedding/engagement party, in which case you give them gifts that are the monetary equivalent of what they gave you. I keep a running list for big events (Seriously. And my mom inherited my grandfather's list when he died.)

  3. oh my goodness, I have never heard of the term "frienemy" before, love it!!

  4. I'm pretty sure that's for the engagement party. So that would mean that you're right!

  5. I think you should definitely bring a gift for the engagement. Maybe they're doing this big party in lieu of a shower? It does sound like they're planning a big wedding for next year though.

  6. I also would have to say yes on it being for the engagement party. I would say something small off the registry if you are traveling to offset the cost. If they wrote you don't have to bring a gift, they shouldn't expect anything extravagant :)

  7. Ok, so some points before I get to the topic at hand:
    A) A pool party is not acceptable for an engagement party. E parties are cocktails and heavy appetizers, IMO.
    B) E parties are usually for young "traditional" couples (first marriage, no kids, etc). Exceptions are always made for the fabulously wealthy. Maybe these people are uber rich?? ;)

    I can only assume the registry is for the engagement party, which I don't agree with. Out of protest I would bring them something small like a bottle of wine or a copy of Emily Post or something...haha

  8. In my area it has become almost expected to have a huge engagement buy a gift off the registry...and another gift off the registry for the wedding is given at the wedding {it's really getting ridiculous!}. So I think they are talking about the engagement party. And I agree about it being silly that they are waiting to get married....what is with the really long engagements these days??

  9. Unfortunately I've known a few people who had engagement parties and weddings expecting gifts for both or, even worse, multiple 'themed' wedding showers. Call up the bride to be and ask! It's better to know. And she'll be so busy she won't remember you called.

  10. I would say No gift! That is what showers are for. Engagement parties are just to celebrate their engagement/ let families and friends meet each other.

    Otherwise, you could have to buy an engagement gift, shower gift, and wedding gift. Way too much in my book!

  11. gosh, i don't know what etiquette dictates here... especially since they are already living together - don't those sorts of couples already have most of what a newly married couple would need anyways?

    we had a small "engagement party" - ie. some family came over to my mom's house for lunch and i was SHOCKED to get gifts. but i was new at the whole married thing, so i could have been clueless.

    since i'm not sure what yo'ure REQUIRED to do (for manners and stuff) and i'm into gift giving (its my love language), here's what i would pry do:

    #1 engagement party - small something. (oh i also hate getting gifts off registries :-p i LOVE making one and getting gifts from it, but my inner rebel without a cause likes to buck the mold. of course that only works if you know them well enough to think outside the box)

    #2 shower - you ONLY get someone a shower gift if you attend (this i know for an etiquette fact). i mean, sure if they're your fav person ever and you pink puffy heart love them, send one anyways. but since its sounds far away and stuff, you pry won't go to the shower, so you dont need to get them something and i personally, would not.

    #3 wedding - gift. people like gifts AND cash for weddings. i was glad to get both - helped pay for some honeymoon incidentials and fill in registry holes and i like getting regular presents too. so get what you feel comfortable with - shoot, a crate and barrel giftcard works too!

    good luck!

  12. oh shoot, just saw that flyboy is IN the wedding - i would then definitely get an engagement gift.

    doesn't have to be crazy fancy, tho, esp since you're traveling far. i vote $25 giftcard to C&B and unless you're like me and like to get non registry gifts :)

  13. I would say no gift for the engagement party as well. Maybe a bottle of booze that YOU can drink for yourself!

  14. I would say "no gift" especially since you have to pay to travel out there. Get them something nice for the wedding, but not the ngagement party. I like Jamie's idea about bringing booze.

    Also, with the wedding so far out, I would hesitate, a lot of things can happen in that time. My bro had an angagement party more than a year before the wedding, and here we are 6 months later and they are pretty rocky, sooooooo, I go with no gift.

  15. Based on that phrase being on their webpage, not a specific part of the webpage like the details for the engagement party, my assumption would be BOTH wedding and party. Also, if they are an older, non tradtional couple, I see them having everything they need but knowing people might want to get them something anyhow. Does that make sense?

    Everyone seems to have different opinions here. Here's what I know: gifts are expected at almost every event in traditional weddings. E party, showers, wedding. I have not been to a wedding in which people only brought monetary gifts even though that's apparently protocol.

  16. My parents threw me and the hubs an engagement party. I did not expect gifts and was surprised when about... maybe half? of the attendees brought things. It was smaller stuff. The girls that were in the wedding party did not bring gifts, but I'm pretty sure that they had asked me, and I told them not to. If I remember correctly, they brought cards.

    I think if you want to err on the side of caution, I would bring a small something like the other commenters have mentioned. You did mention that you have to travel, which I do believe affects how crazy you should go with the gifting. Hope this helps! :)

  17. After reading all the replies, I just have to say that it has gotten so dang complicated!

  18. May I just say that I think it's ridiculous that we have to worry about the gift or no gift dilemma?? And if someone gets mad because you didnt gift.. even more ridiculous. They said it... your presence should be enough, but if you WANT to buy them something, go for it!

  19. I think I would bring a card to the Engagement party, especially if you have to travel to attend it. If you feel obligated, stick a C&B gift card in there like someone suggested.

    For the wedding, I tend to send a gift even if we have to travel to attend, it just ends up being less than what I would spend on them if I didn't have to stay in a hotel and pay for airfare, rental car, etc. If flyboy is in the wedding, then he probably was planning on attending anyway, so the rule I mentioned above goes out the window.

    We recently attended an out-of-state wedding and D was a groomsman. Once the tux was rented, hotel booked, rental car reserved and plane tickets were purchased we literally were eating Ramen noodles. ;) I'm still planning on sending them a gift in the near future. D would have gone to the wedding even if I didn't, so all the expenses were moot in my mind.

    With that being said, I think weddings, engagement parties, bridal showers and the gift-giving that goes along with it has gotten completely out of control!

  20. I think wedding etiquette is so much harder to figure out now that there are engagement parties, showers, (and sometimes lingerie showers, which are different than a regular shower), and the wedding.

    But I always think, if in doubt get a small gift. Maybe just a nice bottle of wine? (That's assuming they drink wine.)

  21. first, YOU are right, the registry has to be for the engagement party - why would they even CREATE a registry more than a year ahead of the event (wedding)? Half the stuff on their registry will probably be clearanced or out of stock by that date.

    That said, I agree wholeheartedly with other comments on here, this whole wedding GIFT thing has gotten completely out of control.

    I love the idea of bringing a bottle of wine, or even liquor, as your contribution to the engagement party. Theoretically, you might get the opportunity to enjoy this WITH them, which is what the party should be about.

    I had a really long engagement - even though we already lived together and had kids - but it was because we couldn't AFFORD to actually do the whole wedding thing. And I think hubby had cold feet. We ended up doing a SMALL ceremony with family only in attendance, followed by a lunch reception for about 100 people. Prime rib, cake, champagne toast, DJ for dancing, ballroom rental, etc - all for less than $3,000.00 (finally - after being engaged for more than 3 years!)

  22. I'm with most of the others here. I think etiquette dictates you bring something to a party, any party, as a hostess gift. A bottle of wine, booze, or any other little small thing is appropriate. As for the registry, I'd hang on to that list for the shower if there is one. I could be wrong on this, but if I give a nice gift at the shower, I do not give on at the wedding. Especially if travel is involved and I've spent money on a tux/dress for the wedding party.

  23. I'm sure it's for the engagement party. Or you could get a "housewarming" gift like wine or wine glasses and save the Crate and Barrel for the wedding. But I'm sure on their actual wedding invite they will include registry info as well.

  24. Definitely sounds like the registry is for their engagement party. It's customary here to give gifts for engagement parties, BUT (and it's a big one) if you travel and have to hotel it up, you are absolved of all gift-giving responsibilities.

  25. I have never bought a present off of a registry for an engagement party. I think it is appropriate, but definitely not expected, to bring a gift to an engagement party. The last engagement party I went to, I got the couple a subscription to Food and Wine magazine (a year for $10 on amazon) and brought a bottle of wine. And that was from me AND my friend. I also agree that if you don't attend the shower, you don't send a shower gift. But I definitely will never be buying an engagement party gift off of a registry!

  26. I agree with Paula (and most of the others). I think a gift is customary at any party; however, it doesn't necessarily have to be off of the registry. I'd (like Paula), wait to give a gift off the registry at the shower...and if they don't have one, I'd use it for the wedding.

    Hope you guys have a great time...can't wait to read all about your frienemy escapades this time :)

  27. We had an engagement party thrown by our parents. We didn't register anywhere yet because it was 7 months before the wedding, but we had numerous calls asking us where we were registered so they could get us an engagement gift. Some people chose to get a gift for hubby for the engagement party and a gift for us as a couple for the wedding. Others chose no gift which was fine. If they say no gift necessary, they mean no gift necessary. If flyboy is in the wedding party I'd say don't bring a gift. He'll be spending enough money. If you feel compelled, a bottle of wine is appropriate.

  28. As a bride-to-be, I think 1 registry should be used across the board to cover the engagement party, shower, and wedding. I think it’s kinda tacky to create a new registry for each event! Besides, isn’t it easier for everyone to just make 1 big wish list for reference? I created my registry on, and sent out an e-nouncement from the website as soon as my engagement party invites went in the mail. So I have the one registry, but I have been updating and adding items to it since I made it. Personally, I have no expectations of how many gifts each guests purchases off my registry OR which event they choose to give a registry gift at. If they choose to give a registry gift at my engagement party…that’s beautiful! But if they wait till my wedding…that’s still fantastic! I wouldn’t expect for anyone to make 3 separate registry purchases for each event…that’s kinda asking a lot (I think).

  29. I would say its for the engagement party! I dont know anyone who would register that far inadvance (not that I have been married tho, so who knows haha). Besides, if there isn't much about the wedding on the site, then I would assume they're just talking about the engagement party. If I were you, just give them something small on their list (or something personal) and then wait for the bigger gift for the wedding.

    Just so you know...I made my old blog private and created a new one! My new blog will look VERY similar since all of my old posts have been transferred to it, but this time around I'm not using names or pictures. Feel free to follow:

  30. If it IS for the engagement party, they're CRAZY!

    I don't really like the way they stated their registry either... If the presence of friends and family is "truly a gift in itself" then don't ask for other gifts! I would just drop that line and state that the "WEDDING" registry is at Crate & Barrell but no pressure.

    Give people the opportunity to be generous, but don't try and squeeze every cent out of them!

    So I definitely agree with Hope. And also I'm a big fan of myregistry too! and I know you can connect crate & barrel registries to work with them as well.

    Being in the wedding though, I think, doesn't take away the responsibility of getting a gift. It doesn't need to be high end, but if you're part of the wedding, it's a time to be generous (if possible)!

  31. I despise engagement parties. Esp. if you have to travel. It should def. effect the range of price on gifts. My inlaws believe in Engagment parties and then bridal showers. So they usually get THREE nice gifts from me. Seriously folks. Get over yourselves.

    I'm not just saying this because I have FOUR weddings to attend this summer. I'm just fed up.

  32. I only got one gift at my small engagement party, which consisted of 5 of my friends, and 3 of Rob's. We haven't even thought about registering yet though, and we're oh, seven months in, oops. The gift was a bottle of wine with a nice card. I thought it was really sweet and didn't expect gifts to begin with. I don't know your thoughts on that - wine is easy at least. I initially thought "screw em" when I read your post, but after reading a few comments, I agree that you will definitely feel more comfortable coming prepared with a small gift in case others do bring them.


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