From dress code to best dressed, here’s your guide to suitable engagement party guest attire
Whether it’s your best friend, your cousin or your colleague, getting invited to an engagement party is exciting, and pretty much a guaranteed good time. But before the big day, of course, comes the big question: what is suitable engagement party attire for guests?
ENGAGEMENT PARTY GUEST ETIQUETTE
There are a few, mostly unwritten rules when it comes to engagement party guest attire. Not surprisingly, all of them also relate to general guest etiquette, so here are the key considerations.
Respect the Couple’s Wishes
Whether we’re talking about a dress code attire or the start time of the engagement party itself, the engaged couple have a plan for their celebration, and as a guest, it’s important to respect this. Don’t be late, don’t underdress (or overdress—though this is better than turning up in too casual an ensemble), and remember that the party is for and about the couple, not you. Similarly, if there’s a theme listed on the invitation, follow it.
Follow the Tone of the Party
Traditionally, engagement parties were hosted by the bride’s parents, with formal invitations mailed out for an event that would take place no more than three months after the proposal itself. Similar rules applied to gifts, speeches, and even the food served at the party. These days, of course, things have changed: the groom’s parents, other relatives, and even friends can organize a celebration, so simply follow the overall tone when trying to figure out how formal or casual your engagement party guest attire should be.
Never Outshine the Bride
A golden rule of thumb for the engagement party, the big day itself, and everything wedding-related? Don’t outdo the bride—meaning don’t wear white unless you are absolutely positive she doesn’t plan to (and even then, we’d still advise against it, just to be safe) and don’t choose anything outlandish or over-the-top (everyone’s attention should be on the couple, not you). Do, however, have fun—the couple want their engagement party to be remembered as a good time, so wear your dancing shoes, circulate the room, and get involved.
WHAT DO YOU WEAR TO AN ENGAGEMENT PARTY AS A GUEST?
If the engagement party invitation calls for semi-formal, black tie, or smart casual, dress accordingly. If it doesn’t specify, however, cocktail is the most common dress code attire for an engagement party—which means a dress that falls at (or just slightly above) the knee, finished with heels and refined accessories. Black, navy and other neutrals are always safe for the engagement party, as are bold jewel tones and prints that make sense for the season.
ENGAGEMENT PARTY GUEST OUTFIT IDEAS
Shop our beaded cocktail dresses!
Flutter Sleeve Hand-Beaded Cocktail Dress in Black Gunmetal
This dress may as well have been made for engagement parties. The ideal length, with beading for a bit of shimmer and flutter sleeves for a soft touch, it’s modern, elegant and striking: ideal engagement party guest attire. Wear it with colorful jewels for a youthful finish, or pair with high heels and a clutch for a more sophisticated, streamlined look.
Shop our embroidered sheath dresses!
Plus Size Sequin Embroidered Sheath Dress with Bell Sleeves in Red
A sheath dress is an iconic shape and ideal engagement party guest attire. The rich, dark red hue of this piece makes it a bold option, while the modest neckline and sleeve length keep things ultra-chic. The floral embroidery also means you can keep accessories to a minimum: a delicate bracelet or pair of earrings, strappy sandals, and a smoky eye are all you need.
Shop our cocktail dresses for engagement parties!
Hand-Beaded Short Sleeve Cocktail Dress in Champagne
With its illusion neckline and beaded silver waist trim, this short-sleeved sheath dress is pretty yet practical; classy yet comfortable. It’s made from a mesh knit that offers plenty of stretch—ideal if you plan on hitting the dance floor in a major way—while its champagne hue is universally flattering. Go tonal with metallic shoes or opt for black pumps and red lipstick for a more put-together, polished look.