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Author Topic: How many mailings? Formal invitation woes and one million questions.  (Read 6635 times)

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Bride and Groom are from opposite coasts and both have a number of elderly family members who are unable to travel but with whom they want to celebrate and whom they want to honor. They live in a city far from their respective hometowns. To that end, they're planning an engagement party in June in Hometown Number One, an extremely intimate destination ceremony in late July, a reception in Hometown Number Two in early August, and an old-fashioned "at home" open house in their current city in late August. 

Engagement party attendees will get an invitation to the party and then receive a wedding announcement.  Is it appropriate to tuck a personal note into the announcements sent to close family members who are, due to age and infirmity, unable to travel to the ceremony? 

But it seems weird to send an invitation to a wedding reception for a wedding that has not yet happened.  Would it be okay to send kind of a STD for the reception and then send announcements of the wedding and the invitation for the reception in the same mailer?

By the same token, can the the invitation to the open house be included with the announcement for local guests?

Annnnnnd finally, the Bride's keeping her name.  Most etiquette sources mention a lovely way to let this be known is with a Bride Hername and Groom Hisname will be at home at 123 Elm Street etc, etc, etc.  Bride and Groom worry this looks super gift grabby in connection with an announcement rather than an invitation.  Is it?  Bride and Groom aren't after presents, just correctly addressed Christmas cards.


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Re: How many mailings? Formal invitation woes and one million questions.
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2014, 10:10:23 AM »
1. Personal notes are almost always welcome. For these elderly relations, you could make the personal note the main announcement of the wedding, and enclose a copy of the "official" wedding announcement "in case they'd like to see what it looked like." Or you could send the personal note shortly before the wedding, and follow up with the announcement afterwards.

2. If you think about it, all wedding reception invitations are for weddings which haven't happened yet. Don't sweat the small details here. It's a party. It's a party where you really want your nearest and dearest in attendance. Send the invitations about two months before the reception, to give people time to plan. People send out invitations for graduations that haven't happened yet, and birthdays that haven't happened yet.

3. Yes. The announcement and invitation can go in the same envelope.

4. The "at home" card is a perfectly fine way of giving the couples' address to those who, it can be assumed, will want to know what it is. And it is not gift grabby to subtly point out how they would like their mail addressed. Look at it this way, their address and possibly names will be in the return address on the envelope. But it is much easier to save the little "at home" card, than to remember to save the envelope. The "at home" card is no more gift grabby than the announcement, IMO. Which is to say, both are stating facts--one the fact a wedding has taken place, the other the names and address of the Happy Couple. People might try to interpret this as gift grabby, but it really isn't.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


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Re: How many mailings? Formal invitation woes and one million questions.
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2014, 10:15:16 AM »
Camlan has covered all the major points.

If they were worried about the "at home" card looking like a hint for a gift, they can change the wording to "for your address book" or something. Nobody's going to find it weird that it doesn't say "at home."


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Re: How many mailings? Formal invitation woes and one million questions.
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2014, 11:15:53 AM »
POD to the above--it can be easy to overthink these things and get oneself mixed up. (Which I might be about to do!)

My suggestion is to make it crystal clear what each person is invited to, and not mention to them the things that they aren't invited to. The only exception would be, people are going to notice if they're invited to a wedding event but not the actual wedding, so that might need to be explained, because sometimes people might be offended (you only wanted an engagement gift from me and I didn't get to see the wedding!) if they don't know the full story.

Let's say Aunt Myrtle lives in Hometown #1. What will she be invited to? The June engagement party for sure, since it takes place there. Not the July destination wedding. Will she get invitations to the early August reception in Hometown #2 and/or the late August open house in Current City, though it's unlikely she'll attend? So her invitation might be like, "You are cordially invited to Engagement Party..." and then you make sure she knows (either in print or verbally) that she won't be at the actual wedding, because it will be very small. Maybe this can be conveyed tactfully at the party where you see her and/or through the family grapevine. Then I think after the wedding, I would send her an "address card" stating the HC's names and address, perhaps announcing that the wedding has taken place, when, where, etc.. Even if nothing has changed (like they were living together in the same place before), that will be a chance for people to double-check their records and have the official word. I would try not to mention the reception and open house to her, if she won't be invited at all.

With four different events I think it could be confusing to people who hear about all the plans through the family grapevine but aren't actually invited to all of them, so I would just take pains to be very clear when issuing invitations, and don't give info like exact dates and locations to people who aren't invited to those events--not because they might be rude and show up, but just to avoid confusion, and things like people making big travel plans to attend something you really didn't intend for them to be at. Conversely, if you hope people can attend something that will involve travel, make that clear, with details, as soon as possible so they can plan.


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Re: How many mailings? Formal invitation woes and one million questions.
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2014, 11:42:39 AM »
Thank you for your sage advice!