What To Wear - April 1, 2015

What to Wear to An Engagement Party

Though the holidays are typically “engagement season,” I’ve found that engagements actually happen year-round. At least that’s been the situation with my group of friends! And I’m sure it’s my age (my twenties), but it seems like every month I have an engagement party to attend – which is fun! You usually get to see a lot of people you know while celebrating the couple, and I always find it a fun thing to dress for. I love a good event or reason to style something particular, and engagement parties are no different.

Turns out, a lot of people actually struggle when it comes to this type of event though – and what exactly to wear. Since there aren’t as many typical rules slash guidelines (like a wedding), I guess I can see why! Since I think I have a good grip on what to wear from experience, I wanted to put together some general guidelines in case you’re unsure of what to wear. Hope it helps!

What to Wear to An Engagement Party: Engagement Party Attire

First up, let’s talk about proper engagement party attire. It really depends on a few factors, which I’ll cover first:

Where is the event taking place?

Most times, engagement parties are hosted at someone’s home (usually a close friend, brother/sister, or parents), or hosted by the same people at a casual venue. I haven’t been to many super formal engagement parties, and things tend to be more relaxed (vs. a bridal shower or of course the wedding). It’s usually a time to celebrate, drink champagne, and just have fun – so try not to overthink things too much.

If it’s at someone’s house, you can consider it more casual. If an event venue or restaurant/bar is being rented out, I’d go a little bit dressier (but not overboard).

What time of year is it?

There are lots of engagement parties in the early part of the year and spring, which tends to be a tricky time to dress for. If this is the case, be sure to layer and bring a jacket if you’re wearing a dress. If the party is during summer, the vibe tends to be more casual and a maxi dress or something similar should work just fine. Unless it’s a crawfish boil or pool party, denim cutoffs or anything that casual are usually a no-go. I always like to be a little overdressed, so if you’re concerned, go with something fancier vs. too casual.

How traditional is the couple?

This is a great guide to how fancy you should dress. If the couple is super laid-back, the party probably will be too. If the couple likes to get snazzy, opt for something dressier. Most of the time though, I see engagement parties being somewhat-fancyish-but-not-really-casual-and-definitely-not-cocktail.

Engagement Party Attire Rules

Also, before we actually get styling, a few quick things to keep in mind about engagement party attire:

  • 99% of the time, families attend engagement parties, so never go too revealing or anything like that. It’s not the event to dress like you’re heading to Vegas. Make sure you’d be comfortable chatting with a dad, a little sister, or a grandma in whatever you’re wearing.
  • Don’t wear white! Yep, it’s a rule for ALL wedding events. Let the bride do her thing in white.
  • Jeans aren’t a no-no necessarily, but I’d make sure the event is VERY casual before wearing them. And remember, I’m from the South so things are probably a little more traditional here. If you see people regularly wearing nicer jeans at these types of parties, you should be able to follow suite. Black jeans should be perfect for a winter-time event!

What to Wear to An Engagement Party: Engagement Party Outfits

Now that we’ve gone over specific circumstances and attire rules, let’s talk about the actual engagement party outfits! I’m a dress kinda girl, and I find that they’re just the EASIEST thing to wear when you don’t know what to wear. They just always work and you’re rarely over/under-dressed. A simple wrap dress or floral summer dress go a long way depending on the season, and you can dress them up or down when needed. Plus, it’s not necessarily an event I want to buy a one-time outfit for, but instead, I’ll think of buying a dress I know I’ll be able to wear more than once that season.

If the party is at a restaurant, it’s easy to throw on some wedges and a snazzy pair of earrings to elevate the look. If things are in a backyard, sandals and a cute straw bag tone things down. Simple!

See, engagement party outfits don’t have to be as tricky as you think. Just grab a dress you’re comfortable in and then cater your accessories depending on the specifics of the party. I’ve added a bunch of options that would work below. Have fun!


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