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Congratulations, you or someone you know just got engaged!

As much as the occasion of getting married is a joy though, it’s also a lot of stress.

First there’s the engagement party, then the bachelorette party, maybe a bridal shower and a rehearsal dinner in between. That’s three different events before you even get to the ceremony!

You get the picture though, it’s a lot of stress. And a lot of outfits for both the bride and her guests.

Planning what to wear to each requires ninja-like planning and execution.   

What’s the Engagement Party Dress Code?

The Trend Spotter says an engagement party can mean a lot of different things, which makes it that much more tricky to pick an appropriate outfit.

It could mean a cocktail party, a formal dinner, afternoon drinks or even a backyard BBQ.

For the most part though, engagement parties have a cocktail dress code. Which means you need a tea-length dress and some high heels.

red satin dress


As always though, look out for the dress code on the invitation and dress up or down accordingly. And if in doubt, it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed.

Remember to use the venue as a clue as well. Some general rules of thumb are:

  • Outdoor parties: this usually means it’s a casual dress code. Wear flats or wedges.
  • Indoor parties: this is usually more formal but use your judgment and dress accordingly.
  • Formal restaurant or venue: wear a polished dress and heels. 
  • Casual restaurant or someone’s house: Dress relaxed but chic. 

What to Wear to an Engagement Party if You’re the Bride

Being the bride, deciding what to wear to your own engagement party makes things a little bit easier because you get to choose the venue and the dress code.

On the other hand, there’s a little added pressure on you to be the best dressed. Everyone will be expecting your outfit to stand out on the evening.

What better way to stand out than with a traditional white dress? You are about to be a bride after all.

white crochet dress


My recommendation though, as with most things, is to pick an outfit that makes you feel confident and comfortable. Whether that’s a traditional white dress or something more colorful that reflects your personality.

What to Wear to an Engagement Party if You’re a Guest?

Consider the engagement party as a teaser for what’s to come. You want to save your best outfit for the wedding.

Even though it’s not the wedding, just make it a point to avoid wearing white⸺everything else is fair game.

That doesn’t mean you can’t stand out though. And a print will help you do just that, especially at a summer engagement party.

polka dot midi dress


Bright block colors like magenta, cobalt and tangerine can really make for a standout dress as well. Just make sure to keep everything else understated.

fuschia dress


Even if you choose to go with a more neutral color outfit, Martha Stewart Weddings says a splash accessory will always add flair to your outfit.

I mentioned before that outdoor engagement parties are more casual, so a simple maxi dress or sundress will look just perfect against a garden or beach backdrop.

 yellow maxi dress


Look, I know not everyone is a dress person, so don’t think that I’ve forgotten about you. A jumpsuit can look just as beautiful and will actually stand out among a sea of dresses. As long as you look dressed up for the occasion, that’s all that really matters.

halter jumpsuit

Need more outfit tips for occasions like these? Keep reading What to Wear to Damn Near Every Social Event Part 1

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