Accessorising Engagement Party Outfits: Hot tips to ensure you look fabulous

party dresses

Being invited to an engagement party is pretty special, but it can be hard to know what to wear. There seems no limit to the number of engagement party dress options out there, but how do you know which is the right pick for this special event? 

We’re here to help you out with some tips on how to choose the right engagement party outfit, and how to accessorise so that you look downright perfect at the party.

Let’s start by running through some of the basic do’s and don'ts of engagement party dressing, then we’ll take a look at accessories.

What not to wear to an engagement party

Let’s begin by saying that generally the engagement party is a little looser than the wedding dress code, however, there are rules that are commonly followed, so if you’d rather not rock the boat, consider these tips.

Don't wear white

Yes, we know it’s not the wedding, but wearing all white (or cream) is the bride’s territory at this time, so it’s best to avoid it.

Avoid jeans

Unless you’re going to a super casual engagement party, jeans are a big no-no. It’s a special event, after all. Whilst a well-fitted pair of jeans can look great, they’re not really the fare of a classy occasion. If you absolutely must wear jeans, opt for slim-fit black denim as it comparatively looks less casual.

Avoid revealing clothing

It’s generally recommended that you steer away from super revealing outfits at engagement parties. If you like to show flesh, consider off shoulder or halter neck dresses or tops. Also, there’s no rule to say you can’t wear a short dress, but avoid going above the mid thigh.

Follow the dress code on the invite

This seems obvious, but if the invitation declares a dress code, it’s a wise idea to follow it. For starters, it makes it clear you respect the wishes of the hosts, and secondly, it gives you clear guidelines to adhere to, and makes the task of dressing for the event easier.

If there’s no dress code stated…

If the bride and groom haven’t outlined a dress code, then they’re likely not fussed about what guests wear. This can leave you feeling a little lost though. If you have no idea, you can:

  • Research the venue. If you’re not already familiar with the venue, it never hurts to do a web search to find out the general attire worn in that setting. Look up pictures online or check their social media pages. 
  • Call the bride and groom to ask about the dress code.
  • Opt for a little black dress if all else fails. It always looks good!

Tips for accessorising according to dress codes

Here is a quick breakdown of the standard engagement party dress codes, and some tips on how to accessorise for each standard of attire.


This is basically your best casual clothes. It could be a floral dress, a stylish jumpsuit, or a blouse with tailored pants or skirt. Casual attire is for relaxed occasions – think of an engagement party in a bistro or at a park. 

When accessorising a casual engagement party dress, you want to appear like you haven’t put in too much effort, yet you still want there to be a touch of sophistication in your outfit. Ultimately, let your personal style shine through, making the outfit uniquely yours for this joyous celebration. 

How to accessorise for a ‘casual’ dress code:

Accentuate the waistline: If you’re wearing a dress, consider adding a statement belt to define the waist and elevate the overall look. 

Keep footwear friendly: Opt for trendy yet comfortable footwear, such as stylish flats or low heels, depending on the venue and atmosphere. If the occasion is on during cool weather, heeled ankle boots are perfectly acceptable.

Go light with accessories: You can go for a light touch when it comes to accessories, as you don’t want jewellery weighing you down at a casual affair. Depending on the neckline of the dress, you can play with accessories like layered bracelets, delicate necklaces, or statement earrings.

Opt for practical style with your bag: A chic clutch or a small handbag can add a practical and stylish element to your ensemble. Regarding colour and texture, don't shy away from experimenting. For example, if your dress is monochrome, you might want to add a textured or brightly hued clutch purse to add some interest. 

Semi formal

More dressy than casual dress, semi-formal dresses tend to be knee length or longer, but not full length gowns. Fabrics are plush, and include silk and satin. Wearing pants is an option, especially if they’re silky or quite structured. Matching sets are also something to consider in this category. A floaty skirt with an embellished top or classic silky blouse will also work well.

How to accessorise for a ‘semi formal’ dress code:

Sumptuous footwear: To elevate the overall look, opt for classic heels in a colour that complements the dress colour, and look out for materials that are a little luxurious, such as suede shoes or patent leather.

Create a chic silhouette: Unless the dress already cinches at the waist, consider adding an elegant belt to create a polished silhouette.  

Sophisticated jewellery: Incorporate statement jewellery like a dazzling necklace or bold earrings to accentuate the neckline and add a touch of glamour. 

Carry your essentials in style: A sleek clutch or small evening bag will ensure you can carry the essentials whilst looking stylish. Look out for materials that offer a silky or velvety sheen, or else go glitzy with a metallic purse, or one studded with diamantes. 

Match outer layers with dress: In terms of outer layers, consider the weather, and if you need to stay a little warm, wear a blazer or shawl that works well with the outfit. 

If in doubt, limit the colour palette: In terms of choosing colours to wear when it comes to matching accessories with your outfit, you’re free to experiment, as long as you veer away from white. If you’re unsure of how to coordinate colour well, your best bet is to aim for colours that harmonise well with each other (look up cohesive colour palettes online) and let the accessories enhance the outfit's elegance.


Cocktail attire for women is a chic and polished look that can include cocktail dresses or separates like cigarette pants and a blouse, skirt and evening top, or a jumpsuit in a silky fabric. Cocktail dresses traditionally range from knee-length to midi-length, however these days dresses that hit mid-thigh can fall into the category. The key with cocktail dresses is to not go too long, and to avoid anything resembling a full gown, as that is the realm of formal dress.

How to accessorise for a ‘cocktail’ dress code:

Keep footwear classy: For footwear, choose elegant heels or strappy sandals that coordinate with the dress's colour. This could be a colour similar to that in the dress, or gold or silver tones with a black dress. Trust your eyes! 

Let jewellery shine: If your dress is understated, then you can let jewellery do the talking. For example, a chic black cocktail dress with a diamond or pearl necklace will look very classy. A pair of dramatic earrings can also really stand out and add a touch of class, and a sleek bracelet or a stack of bangles can add glamour to your wrists. 

Keep your bag small: You don’t want your cocktail dress overshadowed by your bag, so take a small clutch or shoulder purse with you to carry the essentials. In terms of the style of purse and the material, follow the advice from the semi-formal category above.

Immaculate and tailored outer layers: If the weather’s cool, experiment with a tailored blazer or a chic shawl. Just ensure the shape of the blazer ties in with the shape of the dress. Also make sure that your outer layers look immaculate, as you don’t want things like fluff or pet hairs to let down your ensemble!


For this kind of event you can wear your most glamorous dress, including midi-length party dresses, slip dresses, evening dresses and floor-length gowns. Accessorising for a formal occasion revolves around the principles of coherence and balance. It's crucial to align the metals, materials, and tones of your accessories with your dress, ensuring a harmonious look. 

How to accessorise for a ‘formal’ dress code:

Choose statement jewellery: In the realm of formal wear, the power of statement pieces should not be underestimated; a striking necklace or dazzling earrings can serve as a focal point, eliminating the need for excessive adornments. Just remember that if your dress features silver tones, then opt for silver jewellery rather than gold, and vice versa. 

Carefully select footwear: Consider the event's style, duration, and your dress design. The right pair of heels can elevate or detract from your formal look – a strappy heel might be right for one dress, but a closed toe heel might be better for another. If you’re unsure, maybe get a second opinion from a friend.

Identify the perfect clutch: The ensemble is incomplete without a well-selected handbag or clutch. Opt for small, stylish and functional bag styles. They can be sleek or embellished, but overall must tie in well with your outfit as a whole. 

Pay a thought to your hair and makeup: Finally, your hair and makeup should enhance, not overshadow, your outfit, with the hairstyle and makeup choices complementing both your dress and accessories. You can choose to get your hair professionally styled for the occasion, but most often that won’t be necessary. A simple, updo, or hair down look can look classy, as long as your hair is clean and shiny.

In conclusion, mastering the art of engagement party dressing is crucial for creating a memorable look. Understanding the do's and don'ts is your foundation. For casual events, keep footwear comfortable and opt for light accessories. In semi-formal settings, focus on sumptuous footwear, chic silhouettes, and sophisticated jewellery. Cocktail attire demands classy footwear, shining jewellery, a small bag, and impeccable outer layers. Formal occasions require coherence in accessorising, choosing statement jewellery, carefully selecting footwear, identifying the perfect clutch, and paying thoughtful attention to hair and makeup. Overall, if you balance your personal style with the dress code you’ll certainly shine at the engagement party.

To find just the right outfit for the event, see Femme Connection’s range of engagement party dresses, including various occasion dresses whether they be cocktail dresses, party dresses, or evening dresses. And don’t forget to consider other engagement party outfit ideas, like stylish jumpsuits, chic pants and blouse combos, or evening tops and elegant skirts.

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