If so, are certain types of gifts traditional? Thanks.
You don't HAVE to bring a gift....but it's nice. A small household gift is nice...I am still using a package of 3 Madeira napkins I got...and my daughter a pair of champagne glasses.
It used to be that engagemnet parties were meant as an occasion for the families and friends of the bride and groom to celebrate the announcment and to meet each other, get to know each other. It seems to me now it is more a part of the process. Engagement party, showers, stags, stagettes, doe and stags, rehersal party.......etc.
We have been invited to several engagement parties of late and it seems most people bring gifts. I try and give someting that is memorable to the couple but not over the top. Very nice picture frame, flower vase, candle sticks, things like that.
Oh and in some cultures people give cash...I don't go there, not for an engagement, I want to give a keepsake.
I think that this really depends a lot on the community. In the northeast US, at least in many communities there, people give cash for wedding gifts and "thing" gifts for engagement gifts. I'm from the midwest and my husband is from NY. When we got married (1982), his parents' friends gave us stuff like place settings of china for engagement gifts -- and that's even without a party -- and cash for wedding gifts. My parents' friends gave us "thing" gifts for the wedding and no engagement presents, except for some very close friends, who gave small engagement gifts (ring holder, lingerie bag, etc.).
If I were attending an engagement party, I'd probably bring a small gift, unless I had already sent one or it were very close to the wedding.
You never have to. If they are a close friend or family member then I would.
The appropriate engagement gifts are monogrammed towels, napkins, tablecloth.
Again it's not a must. It's never a must to give a gift at all. Only it's a nice gesture and very thoughtful when done. Of course hopefully always fully appreciated.
I agree that some sort of keepsake is a wonderful gift! Candlesticks, two champagne glasses, monogrammed towels, etc are all very appropriate IMO.
You also might want to consider a picture frame (those wedding photos will have to go somewhere).