Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

Does an engagement change things? UPDATE #15

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So my friend Jenny's birthday is tomorrow.  Todd, her boyfriend, sent out two emails:  1) to invite a large group of people to meet up at a bar & 2) to invite a limited number of us friends to "pre-game."  Todd asked my BFF if we could use her apartment.  His reasons for asking were 1) her apartment is closer to the bar, 2) Todd/Jenny's apartment is a bit smaller than hers, and 3) it would be hard to keep Jenny from doing work for her own birthday celebration if he had everyone over to their apartment.  Friend said it was fine if everyone met up at her place, but reminded him that she has an exam in the morning and couldn't really do much in the way of hosting.  Todd assured her that he'd be bringing over alcohol for anyone who wanted some (Friend doesn't have to serve anything that way).  She had since told me that she was a little embarrassed/feeling bad, but after the exam, she wouldn't be up to cleaning things like she normally might when people come over. 

Well tonight I got a text from someone wanting to let me know since I'm not on FB to see it myself that Jenny and Todd have gotten engaged & announced it/posted pictures on FB.  I wasn't surprised to hear about the engagement as I had a wee little inkling that something might be coming up since Todd had been doing a lot of follow up on the invites to make sure people would be there for her birthday.  The Friend whose apartment Todd asked to use then called me, but I didn't really know what to say, as I was surprised at her reaction.

Friend is wondering if tomorrow is actually more of an engagement announcement event than a birthday thing and therefore more of a big deal.  She had been expecting a quick, let's meet and have a drink at Friend's apartment before we consolidate cars with the DD and meet a whole crowd of people at a bar.  As a result, she is feeling worse about not having the apartment clean, in general & also because there are likely to be a lot of pictures taken.  Her second thought was a sense of irritation - Friend said that she can totally understand him not wanting to spread it around ahead of time, but that if he had known the birthday event was actually an engagement thing, she would have liked a bit of a heads up as it feels like more of a big deal to her than what she originally signed up for.

She is now stressing about whether she has to make an extra effort to clean the apartment after the exam and wondering if she is supposed to do more than she had planned to.  I can kinda see why she is torn on the state of the apartment.  Todd and some of the others have only been over when it was in its "company's coming" state so he might not be expecting what he's walking into. 

I think she is borrowing trouble at this point, or possibly just really stressed out about the exam?  No one has heard from either Todd or Jenny.  Friend texted Jenny to say she'd seen the pictures and congratulations, but there wasn't any response.  So questions from Friend:  Does Friend have to or should she do more than she planned to do originally?  Should Todd have given her a heads up? Oh and one question for me - Is it okay if I wait to congratulate the newly engaged ( ;D yay  ;D ) Todd & Jenny  in person tomorrow night rather than text? I feel weird saying I heard it through the text grapevine, but I don't want them to think I'm ignoring it either.   

Whew that was way longer than it probably needed to be, sorry!!

My view is that no, your friend is not rude for making a greater hostessing effort just because Jenny and Todd have got engaged. Obviously, her apartment should be reasonably clean and tidy, with enough room for people to sit, etc but I don't think she needs to do anything more.

I think your friend should continue to treat the occasion as a casual birthday gathering, rather than an engagement party, unless told otherwise.

Your friend is already being very generous by letting them use her apartment.  She doesn't need to do more.  When the apartment is full of people no one will notice extra cleaning.  She can clean up after the party, and her apartment will stay clean for awhile.

I think that it would be fine if you congratulate them at the party.  You could do both, though - send them a text now and give them best wishes when you see them.  You seem concerned about it, so maybe doing both will make you more at ease.

Sorry if I missed something, but why doesn't Friend just call Todd and ask? If he doesn't answer, she can leave a voicemail explaining that he needs to get back to her before the party.

Whether or not Todd thinks of this as a more party-like event or a quick meet-up event, Friend is not obligated to do any extra-clean up or preparation than she had already planned to do. But at this stage, I think Friend is borrowing trouble. Instead of stressing, she should just ask him what he had in mind.

I don't think your friend needs to change the level of hosting she was already planning to provide. One thing that might clue her in on Todd's plans - how early is he having people over? If the pre-party is only an hour before the bar party I'd say he's expecting a quick "meet up, have a drink, say congrats, let's go!" but if it's 3-4 hours before he may be expecting people to snack (on food he's provided, I hope!), drink and hang out. That's more of a "party at friend's house!" vibe and I can see why she's more stressed.


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