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  • November 24, 2017, 03:36:07 AM

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Author Topic: Invitation etiquette for local engagement party and destination wedding  (Read 8460 times)

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sammycat

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Re: Invitation etiquette for local engagement party and destination wedding
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2015, 06:06:07 PM »
I'm probably wrong about this since no one else has mentioned it; but my thought was that the engagement party guest list and the wedding guest list had nothing to do with one another, because the engagement party was held so early in the process that the couple legitimately hadn't decided on their wedding guest list or size or anything much yet.

In general, I believe you're correct; see my post above about the engagement party simply being a party at which the engagement was announced. The two are separate events.

But then I made the mistake of expressing a similar thought on the Etiquette boards over at The Knot. There, the rule that anyone invited to any wedding-related event must be invited to the wedding as well is inviolable, and an engagement party is absolutely a wedding-related event (no matter how early its held) and woe betide anyone who suggests differently.


Powers  &8^]

It may depend on the country. In Australia and New Zealand (and maybe the UK?), the engagement party guest list pretty much mirrors the wedding list guest list. Most people have a good idea of the people they'd like to share in their special event, such as particular family members, close friends etc. so it's not that hard to make up the engagement party guest list.

It'd be considered quite rude here to invite someone to the engagement party but not the wedding.  There'd have to be a pretty good reason to not follow up an engagement invitation with a wedding one, such as a major falling out between the events.  Quite often the wedding date is announced at the engagement party, so there's a built in assumption that you'll be invited to the wedding/inviting these people to the wedding as well.

It's also quite normal to invite people to the wedding who weren't invited to the engagement party; most likely because you didn't know them back then, or maybe weren't as close then, but have become closer since then.

I wonder how many people really have engagement parties still, of the sort that are so early in the process that no planning has really been done? Well, I can imagine a couple throwing a casual backyard thing themselves early on, if they're the type who like to have parties for whatever reason. But the OP's situation sounds more formal than that. It seems like wedding planning takes longer and is started earlier these days, such that the "engagement party" would just be one more step in the process as opposed to realistically happening well before any planning.

Engagement parties (complete with nice presents) are the norm in some countries.  Just about every married couple I know personally has had an engagement party within a few weeks or months of the proposal (not that I was invited to them all! It's just such a normal thing to do), with the wedding 8-18 months later. It's not just a party for the sake of having a party, and is far more common than any sort of bridal shower type event.

Lynn2000

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Re: Invitation etiquette for local engagement party and destination wedding
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2015, 06:23:08 PM »
Engagement parties (complete with nice presents) are the norm in some countries.  Just about every married couple I know personally has had an engagement party within a few weeks or months of the proposal (not that I was invited to them all! It's just such a normal thing to do), with the wedding 8-18 months later. It's not just a party for the sake of having a party, and is far more common than any sort of bridal shower type event.

That's so interesting! I don't think I've ever known of anyone in my circle (US) even having one, unless it was the casual "might as well have a party because we got engaged" thing. I wouldn't have thought they were gift-giving occasions, either, except for maybe a bottle of wine or whatever hostess gift type thing. My main experience of them comes from novels and TV shows set in the past (like 1950s or earlier). That's the context in which I picture the party from the OP's mom--something where you as the parent invite all your "society friends" and local family to celebrate the upcoming marriage, when it's quite likely this will be the only wedding-related party they'll be invited to. In fact, it kind of is for those people.

What if the OP's mom made the party an open house, and distributed the info widely among her friends and family? That's a bit more casual and who knows who will show up, so you couldn't possibly be expected to match that with a future wedding guest list.
~Lynn2000

sammycat

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Re: Invitation etiquette for local engagement party and destination wedding
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2015, 06:30:57 PM »
Engagement parties (complete with nice presents) are the norm in some countries.  Just about every married couple I know personally has had an engagement party within a few weeks or months of the proposal (not that I was invited to them all! It's just such a normal thing to do), with the wedding 8-18 months later. It's not just a party for the sake of having a party, and is far more common than any sort of bridal shower type event.

That's so interesting! I don't think I've ever known of anyone in my circle (US) even having one, unless it was the casual "might as well have a party because we got engaged" thing. I wouldn't have thought they were gift-giving occasions, either, except for maybe a bottle of wine or whatever hostess gift type thing. My main experience of them comes from novels and TV shows set in the past (like 1950s or earlier). That's the context in which I picture the party from the OP's mom--something where you as the parent invite all your "society friends" and local family to celebrate the upcoming marriage, when it's quite likely this will be the only wedding-related party they'll be invited to. In fact, it kind of is for those people.

Based on my own wedding and engagement, a lot of the engagement presents were actually nicer the wedding ones. Don't get me wrong, the wedding ones, were lovely and we appreciated them all! But the wedding ones were probably more practical (cookware, sheets etc, whereas the engagement ones were more likely to be crystal vases etc).  Photos of my parents' engagement party back in the 1960s show lot of silver presents (trays, candelabras etc).

The parties can be casual or as elaborate as you like, and I've been to ones ranging from a casual backyard BBQ, to a formal sit down dinner. All were equally nice.


LifeOnPluto

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Re: Invitation etiquette for local engagement party and destination wedding
« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2015, 08:19:44 PM »
Something to else to consider: in your region, are engagement parties usually gift-giving occasions? In Australia they absolutely are. Sometimes the HC even registers for their engagement party (or they might ask for gift cards, etc).

And I echo Sammycat's point that it would be considered rude to invite someone to the engagement party, but not to the wedding (barring a falling out or something).

In this case, could your mum still throw the engagement party, but make it clear that the HC will be having a smaller destination wedding? That way, guests know upfront that they won't necessarily be invited to the wedding.   

LtPowers

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Re: Invitation etiquette for local engagement party and destination wedding
« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2015, 01:37:20 PM »
It seems like wedding planning takes longer and is started earlier these days, such that the "engagement party" would just be one more step in the process as opposed to realistically happening well before any planning.

It is difficult to understand the party's role in such a context. If it doesn't occur within a very short period of time after the engagement, then it ceases to be a celebration of that event. And if it's no longer a celebration of the betrothal, then what distinguishes it from a bridal shower?


Powers  &8^]

Zizi-K

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Re: Invitation etiquette for local engagement party and destination wedding
« Reply #20 on: November 06, 2015, 02:30:16 PM »
I'm an American. I had an engagement party, a fairly nice one with an open bar, a full dinner that was served family style at the table, music, etc. We did not register and did not expect gifts, though some people certainly did give us gifts. The point of it was to have my extended family be able to meet my husband's family, as they lived about 4-5 hours away. It was also a fun opportunity to host everyone and have a good time. It was not at all obligatory (no one would have thought it strange if we didn't have one) but I think they also liked that we did.

Lynn2000

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Re: Invitation etiquette for local engagement party and destination wedding
« Reply #21 on: November 06, 2015, 03:55:51 PM »
I'm an American. I had an engagement party, a fairly nice one with an open bar, a full dinner that was served family style at the table, music, etc. We did not register and did not expect gifts, though some people certainly did give us gifts. The point of it was to have my extended family be able to meet my husband's family, as they lived about 4-5 hours away. It was also a fun opportunity to host everyone and have a good time. It was not at all obligatory (no one would have thought it strange if we didn't have one) but I think they also liked that we did.

How did the guest list compare to your wedding list?

I am wondering if the OP's mom could manage expectations ahead of time somehow, to make it known that this is basically a party for people in her local area to see her son and meet his fiancee, without any expectation of being invited to the wedding itself. I don't think there's anything wrong with having a "holiday open house" even if it's after Christmas and she already had a Hanukkah party. That way it could be the week between Christmas and New Year's, but not directly on New Year's Eve (dad's birthday). Let it be known that along with Mom's special apple brandy punch and Dad busting out the ukulele, Bob will also be at the party with his fiancee Betty, making it that much more special.

Calling it an "engagement party" seems to mean specific, but different, things to different people, most of which aren't compatible with Mom's purpose.
~Lynn2000

Bexx27

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Re: Invitation etiquette for local engagement party and destination wedding
« Reply #22 on: November 07, 2015, 01:41:23 PM »
It seems like wedding planning takes longer and is started earlier these days, such that the "engagement party" would just be one more step in the process as opposed to realistically happening well before any planning.

It is difficult to understand the party's role in such a context. If it doesn't occur within a very short period of time after the engagement, then it ceases to be a celebration of that event. And if it's no longer a celebration of the betrothal, then what distinguishes it from a bridal shower?


Powers  &8^]



Unlike a shower, it's for both halves of the couple and guests of both genders, and gifts are not expected. My mom's purpose is basically what Zizi-K described.

I'm going to my mom's house today to help figure out invitations and I'll bring up the suggestions from this thread. Thanks, all!
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these. -George Washington Carver

Zizi-K

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Re: Invitation etiquette for local engagement party and destination wedding
« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2015, 02:22:04 PM »
OP, glad to hear you are proceeding with your plans.

Just to clarify - when I met my DH, he was living in the metro region where I am from and where my family lives. He is from another city about 4 hours (not miles!) away, and we had all events in our area (with the exception of a shower in his home city, where his family continued to live). We knew we were going to have a large wedding, and that it would not be considered a "destination" though many of his side were going to have to get a hotel room for one night (which, incidentally, my MIL largely paid for guests on their side). So, there was no question about whether we'd be inviting the same people to the engagement party and the wedding, that was a foregone conclusion.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2015, 04:05:26 PM by Zizi-K »

gellchom

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Re: Invitation etiquette for local engagement party and destination wedding
« Reply #24 on: November 07, 2015, 03:39:31 PM »
I think that the meaning of the term "engagement party" has changed from its original meaning: a party at which the couple's engagement was announced. 

Now, at least in my experience, it has come to mean a party any time before the wedding, given (a) by one of the sets of parents who live in a city far from where the wedding will be or (2) close friends or relatives of the parents who want to give a party for the couple and don't want it to be a shower.

I hear you, OP: you don't want it to seem like a gift grab, or even a hint for gifts, especially if people who are not to be invited to the wedding will be invited.  It doesn't matter what people should think; if you have a sneaking suspicion that people will feel that gifts are required for something called an "engagement party," listen to it: you know your crowd.

Here is what I would do:  If you want to invite people who may not be invited to the wedding, just call it a party -- don't mention anything about the HC or the upcoming wedding, and it doesn't have to be tied to any holiday.  Or, call it an engagement party, or a party "to celebrate [or meet] Petunia and Cuthbert, who will be married [date, place]" -- but write "no gifts, please."  Yes, I know that that is a technical etiquette violation, but it isn't rude or grabby and it certainly isn't uncommon.  It solves a lot of problems at a very small etiquette "cost"! 

For that matter, if, in your community, "engagement party" is understood to mean "bring a gift," then I think the rule about showers applies: immediate family members don't give them.  (Also commonly violated, especially in the northeast, in my experience, but more susceptible to uncharitable assumption.   :))  I would think of it a lot like a shower altogether, in fact, when making other decisions like whether to invite people who aren't to be invited to the wedding, in deciding on the guest list even among those who are to be invited (some people aren't close enough to expect to give multiple gifts), and so forth. 

I think whether this is considered a "destination wedding" is irrelevant for this discussion -- the relevant point is that it will be very far from where the parents' friends live (whether it were the HC's own home or a resort 3 hours away), so this is something they can host for them in their town.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2017, 02:22:21 PM by gellchom »

Bexx27

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Re: Invitation etiquette for local engagement party and destination wedding
« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2015, 06:53:46 PM »
I helped my mom create the evite today. She settled on calling it an "Open House" and inviting guests to join them and meet their future daughter-in-law and her family. So not an engagement party and hopefully no one will assume they should bring gifts.
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these. -George Washington Carver

sammycat

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Re: Invitation etiquette for local engagement party and destination wedding
« Reply #26 on: November 07, 2015, 06:56:00 PM »
For that matter, if, in your community, "engagement party" is understood to mean "bring a gift," then I think the rule about showers applies: immediate family members don't give them. 

This will most definitely vary from country to country.

In Australia, the most common hosts of an engagement party are the parents/legal guardians of one or both of the engaged couple, and/or the couple themselves. I've never personally been to an engagement party outside these perimeters. Aside from situations where the parents aren't in the picture, I can't imagine why anyone else would pay for/host it if the couple (or parents) themselves couldn't.

OP, my opinion, for what it's worth, is to invite whomever you want to the wedding, and then let them decide if they want to attend.  People you think might not want to travel could surprise you and be delighted to attend, and be upset that they weren't otherwise invited, especially if they would've been had the wedding been more local.  Working backwards from there, I'd extend those same people an invitation to the engagement party.

HannahGrace

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Re: Invitation etiquette for local engagement party and destination wedding
« Reply #27 on: November 07, 2015, 07:24:30 PM »
I helped my mom create the evite today. She settled on calling it an "Open House" and inviting guests to join them and meet their future daughter-in-law and her family. So not an engagement party and hopefully no one will assume they should bring gifts.

This sounds just perfect!  Nice work :)

gellchom

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Re: Invitation etiquette for local engagement party and destination wedding
« Reply #28 on: November 07, 2015, 10:17:52 PM »
I helped my mom create the evite today. She settled on calling it an "Open House" and inviting guests to join them and meet their future daughter-in-law and her family. So not an engagement party and hopefully no one will assume they should bring gifts.

Great choice.  I think you made a great decision, and I don't think that people will assume they are to bring gifts.  Some will, but some people like to give a little engagement gift even if there is no party.  And many people bring a hostess gift anyway to a party, so if they bring a little gift for the couple instead, that's not going to seem like a big deal to them.

LifeOnPluto

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Re: Invitation etiquette for local engagement party and destination wedding
« Reply #29 on: November 08, 2015, 08:41:06 PM »
For that matter, if, in your community, "engagement party" is understood to mean "bring a gift," then I think the rule about showers applies: immediate family members don't give them. 

This will most definitely vary from country to country.

In Australia, the most common hosts of an engagement party are the parents/legal guardians of one or both of the engaged couple, and/or the couple themselves. I've never personally been to an engagement party outside these perimeters. Aside from situations where the parents aren't in the picture, I can't imagine why anyone else would pay for/host it if the couple (or parents) themselves couldn't.


Agree with this - engagement parties here are gift-giving occasions, and are also thrown by the HC, or parents of the HC.

Now that it's been pointed out to me, it actually does seem a tad rude!