The etiquette of engagement gifts: Some people bring presents; others don't. Do I need to bring a gift to an engagement party?
In the past, engagement gifts were not obligatory or expected, but it has become the custom in many parts of the country to bring a gift to an engagement party. Close friends and family usually do give the couple an engagement gift, either when the engagement is announced or at the engagement party. An engagement gift is really a good-hearted gesture of affection, and it need not be expensive or elaborate. Something simple such as a cookbook, picture frame, or a good bottle of wine - intended to help the couple establish a collection - makes a great engagement gift.
Couples who are conscious of taxing their friends' budgets may ask the host to pass the word to guests not to bring presents. As a guest, if you really aren't sure what to do, call the host and ask. Ultimately, your decision whether to give an engagement gift depends on your relationship to the couple, your budget, and local custom.