Do take cues from the invite. If there’s no dress code listed, look at the time of day that the engagement party is going to be held. Is it during the day? For breakfast events, a floral dress and low heels should be fine. A lunch or afternoon tea will be slightly more dressy, so wedge heels or dressy sandals should be paired with a chic dress. Think about what you’d wear to a daytime wedding and then opt for something ever so slightly less formal. We’d recommend a flouncy dress in a light print, a matching skirt and top or loose pants and dressy top in light colours. For a fashion-forward approach, think of trending prints (like leopard) and go with that. Just because it's an engagement party doesn't mean you need to forget your love of fashion.
If the engagement party is at night, do make sure that you’re wearing something a little dressier. Even if there’s no dress code, it’s safe to be more formal, so opt for a sleeker dress that hits midi length or on the knee, and forgo prints for a block colour in a silky fabric.
Don’t ignore the dress code — and, if there isn’t one, don’t go too casual. Engagement parties are meant to be semi-formal affairs, so unless you know for sure it’s a casual event, opt for something more dressy than less. Unsure? Bring a change of shoes to leave in your car, which you can use to dress up or down the outfit.
Also, don’t wear white. Although it’s not quite as bad as wearing white to a wedding, the bride-to-be will likely be in a white dress, so let her have her moment.
What do I wear if I’m the bride?
This is your moment, embrace it! Take the opportunity to wear a version of your wedding dress, but much more relaxed. Whether that’s a white jumpsuit, a cream mini dress or even a light pink floral number, your outfit can still be relaxed, but will also let everyone know that yes, you are the bride. Use the opportunity to get ready for the big day and prepare for the attention.
Can I wear white to an engagement party?
As mentioned above, although it isn’t exactly the biggest fashion sin, wearing white to an engagement party is still a bit of a no, in our opinion. To ensure you don’t match with the bride, opt for something colourful or printed. You can’t go wrong, and it’ll save you some embarrassment when long lost family members mistake you for the bride-to-be.
What do I wear to an engagement party in summer and in winter?
As any formal or semi-formal event, the type of fabric and the length of your dress is really all that needs to change with the seasons. For a summer engagement party, go nuts with silks and cottons, and choose light prints in florals for a failsafe attempt.
For winter, choose deeper colours and go for rich velvets and sturdier viscoses. Not only will they keep you warm, but they’ll look the part. Throw a formal jacket over the top, which you can later remove. If you do want to try your hand at winer florals, choose a print with a deep pattern, think a black, red or dark green.
What if I’m going to an engagement party with a theme?
Engagement parties with themes or dress codes make it easier: you have a guide! For a formal black tie engagement party, dress like you would to a black tie wedding. That means floor length dresses, heels and no garden party prints. For cocktail, choose your favourite knee-length dress and pair with walkable heels. For anything more casual, you might need to check with the bride and groom, although a chic pair of trousers or a sophisticated dress will never go wrong. For any more specific themes, such as colours, make sure to stick with the rules — there's nothing worse than sticking out an event where you don't know everyone.