What to Wear to an Engagement Party

group of women at a cocktail party admiring a women's engagement ring

Engagement parties tend to be more casual than a wedding reception, but you may find that you have to dress up a little more than you thought. What to wear to an engagement party will likely be provided with the invitation, but ultimately depends on a variety of factors, including the formality of the event, the venue, location and season.  

What Should I Wear to an Engagement Party as a Guest?

An engagement party is exactly what it sounds like, a party to celebrate the engaged couple and their upcoming wedding. The party dress code will likely fall into one of four categories: casual, semi-formal, cocktail or formal, and will vary based on the venue, season and time of day. Daytime events are typically more casual, while evening events tend to be more formal, and the outfit you choose for a gathering in the middle of the summer will likely be different than an event around Christmas time. 

A casual event has the most relaxed dress code. If it’s in the afternoon, men can skip the tie and women can wear a neural shade or patterned dress or nice pants and a top. In between casual and cocktail is semi-formal attire, also called ‘dressy casual’ a more formal business casual. For men a suit without a tie works well and for women a casual wrap dress, dress pants and a nice blouse, a romper or a jumpsuit. 

For a cocktail party, take business professional attire and dress it up a little. For men, ties can be optional, and you can opt for short sleeves or bring a coat or sweater. For women, dresses or a nice two-piece outfit again could fit the occasion, dressed up with some elegant jewelry. If the engagement party happens to be formal, a suit or a tuxedo is appropriate for men, or a dark suit with dress pants and nice shoes. An elegant dress or jumpsuit, a floor-length gown or a cocktail dress are good choices for women.

Engagement Party Attire Etiquette

The venue will help you decide how formal your attire is, and if it’s indoor or outdoor will determine shoes, accessories, and if you need layers or outerwear. For women, a go-to outfit that works for almost any venue, season, and dress code is a dress, especially a neutral shade that’s easily dressed up or down; nice pants and a top are an option for those who don’t want to wear a dress. A go-to option for men is slacks, a nice shirt and shoes, and a jacket. You can always bring a tie and sport coat with you then gauge whether to wear them or not.

In addition to more modest accessories and colors, and prints and patterns that aren’t overly bold or flashy, for any wedding-related event, including an engagement party, it’s best to avoid wearing white. Because the shade has such a strong bridal association, it’s considered disrespectful to wear it. 

If a dress code is not specified, you can assume business professional attire is appropriate. Jeans are generally considered a no-go unless the party is a casual backyard barbeque, then opt for dark colored jeans with a formal top for women or a nice shirt and jacket for men. If you’re unsure how to dress, you can always reach out to the couple, the host or other attendees to get advice. 

If you’re looking for an engagement party venue in Hershey PA, consider Historic Acres. Our stunning property features three spaces including indoor and outdoor options and can accommodate small and large groups. Contact our team and let us help you plan your special event.