Affordable Engagement Party Gift Ideas

After two years of putting a hold on big social gatherings, weddings are back. Nearly 2.5 million couples will get married this year, and 2.2 million couples will tie the knot next year — up from 2.1 million in 2019 — according to The Wedding Report.

As exciting as it is to celebrate loved ones falling in love, it also comes at a price. A Knot survey found that the average cost of being a wedding guest was $460 — with average expenses rising to $660 for guests who drove to an out-of-town wedding and $1,270 for guests who flew to a wedding. With inflation continuing to push price tags up across sectors, those expenses may continue to rise.

Of course, many weddings have additional events associated with them, including bridal showers, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and rehearsal dinners. Before all of that, though, comes the engagement party.

[READ:Affordable Wedding Gift Ideas]

If you’re concerned about the expenses associated with all of these events, you can skip the engagement party gift altogether.

“You do not have to bring a gift to an engagement party,” says Elaine Swann, at etiquette expert and the founder of the Swann School of Protocol. “It is most certainly a thoughtful expression toward the couple, but it’s not required.” That said, if you do want to bring a gift to an upcoming engagement party, consider the following to stretch your budget a little further:

Get personal. Etsy is a great source for gifts like personalized mugs, engraved cutting boards and monogrammed coasters. Costs vary shop to shop, but options like an embroidered sweatshirt with the couple’s names or a holiday ornament painted with the couple’s engagement date cost around $20.

[READ: How to Save for a Wedding.]

Use the price filter on their registry. Many online registries allow you to sort the list by price bucket. Consider purchasing a few small items off the registry and packaging them together.

“Put it into a basket and make it fun,” says Marilyn Anderson, author of “How to Live Like a Millionaire When You’re a Million Short.”

Go in with a group. If you have a friend group or other family members attending the engagement party, pooling your resources may allow you to purchase a larger gift for the couple. Apps like Venmo or Zelle make it a snap to collect funds from those who want to contribute, even if you’re not in the same location.

[READ:Inflation Calculator: See How Much Inflation Is Costing You]

Give them something for their wedding. The engagement party typically comes early in the wedding planning process. The couple may appreciate something that they can use at the wedding itself, such as a sign-in book, cake knife or champagne flutes.

“Those little things really add up for couples,” says Katy Turchich-Martin, owner of Coastal Coordinating in Florida.

Use discounted gift cards. Websites like Raise and CardCash allow you to purchase gift cards on sale. For example, CardCash was recently offering Sur La Table Gift Cards for more than 10% off. You could either gift the gift card directly to the couple as a gift or use it yourself to purchase an item for them.

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