Living the Dream

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How to dress for an Engagement Party September 20, 2007

Have you noticed the increasing trend of engagement parties amongst your friends? For some of us who are unaware of the appropriate engagement party may wonder ”What do I wear?” Although some engagement party invitations will specifically state the dress code, others may simply state the date, and location of the party. The following steps will lead you to a stress free outfit choice:

1. Take a look at the invitation:

-Where is the party taking place? Someone’s residence, or a five star restaurant? Seems obvious but someone’s residence is probably going to be a bit more casual than the five star restaurant.

-When is the party taking place? Season, and time of day. If the party is being held during the Summer day, you may be tempted to wear white. DO NOT wear white to the engagement party. You do not want to outshine the bride-to-be in any way. Even if the party is being held during the day, do not wear shorts – opt for a knee length dress or skirt. Make sure you have the appropriate cover up just in case you are under dressed.

2.Ask your friends who were also invited what they are wearing. This is the ‘strength by numbers’ strategy. The more people you communicate with, the more in sync you will be with the rest of the guests.

Look at the big picture. You want to look your best- this is the beginning of the couple’s memorbable ”wedding” chapter of life. Dress according to venue, type of event ( BBQ, 5 course meal), time of day, and season.

*Keep in mind* – Engagement parties are never as formal as the wedding. So, if you have 2 outfits in mind, wear the less formal outfit to the engagement and save the formal outfit for the big day.

Some appropriate outfit options for an engagement party:


Winter- Try to wear something that is either a long dress, or skirt. If you have to wear something shorter than knee length, make sure you wear appropriate closed toe shoes, or boots. Try not to over do the outerwear. Remember, you don’t want to steal all the attention.

Spring- Think Sunday best. Or what you would wear for a family brunch. Something with light, larger patterns, or pastel colors. Again, nothing too short.

Summer-Summer is a great time to find your engagement party outfit because there are so many fun sundresses available. Remember to take a cover-up. If you do wear something without straps, or thin straps, I’d recommend you wearing your cover up into the event. Better safe than sorry. Try to avoid showing too much skin… unless of course it’s a pool party.

Fall- Autumn colors tend to be less festive and happy but try to be fitting with your season. Layering in the fall is a great way to make your outfit more exciting. Even if they are having an ”outside” party, try to dress appropriately for the weather.


Sorry, no season guide here but the guidelines are simple.

Try to find something that has a collar. Whether it be long sleeve, short sleeve, polo, or button down is depending on the actual party. Jeans are usually accepted as long as they are on the dark wash side. Flip flops are usually frowned upon unless it’s a pool party or on the beach.