Weddings are a magical occasion, but they can also be a whole lot of stress. Not only for the couple getting married but for everyone who’s invited. Between the engagement party, bachelorette party, and the big day itself, there’s a lot of money to be spent, presents to be bought, and, of course, outfits to be planned. While we all know to go all out for the wedding outfit and to dress for a night on the town for the bachelorette party, we often end up stumped when thinking of engagement party outfit ideas. Whether you’re the bride-to-be or a guest at the event, deciphering what to wear can be tricky. Below, we show you some expert style tips on what to wear to an engagement party.
What Happens at an Engagement Party?
Engagement parties can be vastly different events. While most may be raditional cocktail parties, others can be formal dinners, afternoon drinks, or backyard barbeques. The one thing that they all have in common is that they’re a lot of fun! That doesn’t mean you can let loose and go wild, though. Have a good time, but act respectful of the occasion. When you arrive, greet your hosts first and thank them before you depart. Try to stay for at least a couple of hours (including speeches) or most of the night if you are close to the couple; during the party, alternate between circulating the room to talk to other guests, eating the delicious food provided, and dancing on the dancefloor. Most of all, remember to enjoy yourself on this happy occasion by dressing confidently and comfortably.
Engagement Party Dress Codes
When attending an engagement party, make sure that you check the dress code. You can usually find this on the invitation, but if not, consider asking your host. Dress codes make it easier to decipher what to wear to the occasion and help give you an idea of what others will wear so you don’t feel out of place. If you ignore a dress code, you may insult your host, so it’s always best to dress accordingly. Most engagements typically have a cocktail dress code, calling for dresses at, or slightly above, knee-length and high heels. If your party states a different dress code, however, such as semi-formal or dressy-casual, you may need to dress up or down accordingly. Use this helpful dress code guide to find the general styles you should wear.
Engagement Party Locations
Knowing the location of the engagement party is crucial to planning what you’re going to wear. The area and dress code will provide critical information for deciding which outfits are appropriate and which are not. The site of the event should also be given on the invitation. If it simply states an address, or you are unfamiliar with the venue, try googling for more information or ask your host. As a general rule of thumb, outdoor parties require a more casual dress code, including flats or wedges if on grass or at the beach. The weather should also be taken into consideration for outdoor engagements. If the party is indoors, dress up or down according to the venue. If it’s at a casual restaurant or someone’s house, dress relaxed but chic in your favorite weekend wear, but if the platform is a formal restaurant or function space, wear a polished dress and heels.
Engagement Party Outfits for the Bride
Planning your outfit can be easier and more complicated when the engagement party is your own. On one hand, you’re the one choosing the venue, theme, and dress code, and you can choose whatever you want to wear. On the other hand, what you wear will set the tone for what others will wear, and people will expect your outfit to be the best of the night. Our advice is to pick something that makes you feel confident and comfortable. Choose a company that reflects your personality and the personality of your engagement party. Whether you want traditional white or something with a little more color, go for it if the dress feels right. It’s your engagement, after all!
Engagement Party Outfit Ideas for Guests
As an engagement party guest, you want to look fabulous but not as unique as you will on the wedding day. As most engagements specify cocktail attire, choose a fun dress with equal parts polish and party. Try to steer away from white unless you know that the bride-to-be isn’t wearing it. On the other hand, Black is fair game and can make an elegant choice for an evening event. Remember, it’s a celebration, not a business conference, so try to have fun with your outfit. Prints, bold block colors, and playful accessories can all be excellent choices for injecting energy into your party outfit. Speaking of power, make sure yours doesn’t drain too quickly with painful shoes. Plan a long night (or day) of circulating the room and dancing your heart out with comfortable yet fashionable footwear.
Engagement Party Outfit Ideas
All White Outfit Ideas
All white is the traditional outfit choice for brides-to-be at their engagement parties. The pure and classical color has been worn for many years and offers a timeless quality to engagement outfits. Very “bridal” in nature, wearing white at your engagement party will undoubtedly keep the spotlight on you for the event if that doesn’t sound like your thing, opt for print or color instead.
Print Outfit Ideas
Prints are often an excellent way to turn up the style factor on an outfit. You want to stand out in a sea of dresses (at least a little!), and a print will help you do that. Fun and often filled with color, prints are perfect for those summer engagement parties. Choose a more simple cotton print dress for a daytime party or a printed silk number for the ideal after-five style.
Color Block Outfit Ideas
While prints never fail to pack a punch, block colors can often be just as impactful. Bold, striking, and more eye-catching than the usual black, bright block colors, such as magenta, cobalt, Fuschia, and tangerine, can create a standout dress. Likewise, this year’s favorite pastel colors, powder blue and soft pink, can create eye-catching looks that break free from the mold. Remember, if you choose a block-color outfit, keep everything else simple and understated, including silhouette, accessories, and hair. The color is your feature element.
Outdoor Engagement Outfit Ideas
As previously mentioned, the location of the engagement party is an essential piece of information for planning what you will wear. Outdoor engagement parties often occur in gardens, backyards, or even at the beach, so you must plan accordingly. Choose outfits that are more casual than formal, and wear appropriate footwear. As outdoor parties usually occur during the day, try a simple maxi dress or sundress instead of the usual cocktail attire.
Non-Traditional Outfit Ideas
Not every woman wants to wear a dress to an engagement party; the good news is that you don’t have to. If you feel more comfortable in pants and a top or prefer a jumpsuit style, go ahead and ditch the dress. As long as you still look stylish and dressed to the same degree of formality as the rest of the guests, a non-traditional outfit can be the perfect look.
What to Wear to an Engagement Party FAQs
What do you wear to an engagement party?
What to wear to an engagement party depends largely on the location of it. For example, if it is at a fancy restaurant, you want to dress accordingly. Always check the dress code on the invitation, and if it is not specified, consider the theme. This will ensure that you do not feel out of place. Most engagements have a cocktail dress code, with knee-length dresses and high heels. It is typically a semi-formal or dressy-casual occasion. If you are the bride, you want to look stylish and polished, but this day is typically less formal than your wedding.
What should you not wear to an engagement party?
Most engagement parties have a cocktail dress code, and although you want to look amazing, try not to overdress, as this may make you feel awkward or out of place. You do not want to wear anything too short or too revealing and do not pick shoes that are uncomfortable and that you cannot walk in. Always pay attention to the dress code and consider the weather.
Which dress is best for engagement?
Deciding what dresses best for an engagement really depends on the location, time of year and weather, and how formal it will be. Most engagement parties typically adhere to a cocktail dress code, which means men usually opt for suits and dress shirts or smart pants with a button-down shirt. Women can wear a tea-length dress, a midi dress, or a short but well-fitted dress. You are also not as restricted in colors and patterns as you are for a wedding.
What is customary for an engagement party?
It is common for guests to an engagement party to bring a small gift. This is usually not something terribly expensive and is more thoughtful than anything. If you know the couple well or are a family member, you may want to give them something meaningful.
Can you wear jeans to an engagement party?
If you are attending a very casual engagement party, such as a beach celebration or a simple and laid-back backyard gathering, then it may be acceptable to wear jeans and a smart shirt. That said, unless you are certain that the dress code is very, very casual, you should always overdress rather than underdress.
How much money do you give for an engagement party?
An engagement party is not like a wedding where you are required to bring a gift, especially not a monetary one. Most people do bring something small to these events, but it is often something simple or sentimental. If you want to know how much to spend on the gift or prefer to write a card with money, the average is around $50.
Do you have a cake at an engagement party?
Unlike at a wedding, an engagement cake is not really an important part of the party. You can definitely offer other desserts, and if you want, you may serve a special cake, but this is not the norm.
Are you supposed to bring a gift to an engagement party?
You do not have to bring a gift for an engagement party, but, depending on how close you are to the couple, a card and something small to show your support of their relationship will be appreciated. You could also bring them a box of chocolates and flowers. Unlike a wedding, there should be no expectation for an engagement gift.
Is it OK to wear white for engagement pictures?
Unless the couple has asked you not to wear white, it is perfectly acceptable to wear this color to an engagement party, but try not to opt for anything that resembles a bridal dress. It is common for the engaged pair to wear white at their party, though, so you may want to avoid this hue.
Taylah Brewer holds a bachelor's degree in fashion and business and is a skilled writer with several years of experience in the world of online content creation and copywriting. She is passionate about fashion, beauty, and all things lifestyle-related and has been writing for The Trend Spotter since 2016. She currently works as the Head of Digital & Ecommerce at White & Co.
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