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Author Topic: Large engagement party and intimate wedding?  (Read 8183 times)

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Lady_Belle

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Large engagement party and intimate wedding?
« on: August 23, 2016, 04:27:59 AM »
My fiancÚ and I had always planned to elope but are now leaning towards an intimate ceremony. This is largely in part due to budgetary reasons - my fiancÚ has a LARGE extended family and when I attempted to put together a guest list, it got complicated quick with where to draw the line (i.e aunts & uncles we are not close to but felt obligated to invite, wanting to invite one cousin but not necessarily their siblings we hardly know)

I just can't imagine inviting those that are not actively a part of our lives.

We are set on our ceremony taking place on a fairly remote island - around 3.5 hours from where everyone lives. Our guest list will be limited to both sets of parents, 4 close friends in total, a close Aunt & Uncle of mine and potentially his Grandmother and Aunt & Uncle.

I initially had the idea to hold an "After Party" the following day on the mainland from the island - however (as many pointed out) this is impractical - not to mention rude.

I am now thinking we could have a "large" engagement party, possibly a few months before the "wedding", where we would extend the invite to friends and relatives... it would be a cocktail party with a bar tab at a venue close to where majority of guests live.

I would want to convey that "this is it!" and we are not having a traditional "wedding" per se... I would also want to be clear on the invite that we do not expect/want gifts, as I don't want this to be seen as a gift/cash grab. How would I go about the wording?

I live in Australia and did see a previous post about "large engagement parties, small weddings" being common/customary here. I have heard of couples doing similar - but I wouldn't say its the norm and I have always seen engagement parties as a prelude to the wedding. Although I have heard of many cases where people are invited to the ceremony and NOT the reception - which I think is potentially more awkward!

Deep down I think we are in the clear and that majority of relatives will be understanding - however I am interested in thoughts and other considerations I should make/appropriate wording for the engagement party invite/how to field questions at party about the "wedding"?

#borecore

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Re: Large engagement party and intimate wedding?
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2016, 08:02:38 AM »
I didn't reply to your previous thread, but now I have to say that I think this is a much worse idea than the far-away reception, which I didn't think was a great idea in the first place.

I understand that customs may be different where you are, but I definitely see, from my cultural perspective, an engagement party as a precursor to being invited to a wedding! I would be quite puzzled by being invited to the pre-wedding party but not the wedding or at least the reception.

I strongly think that your best option is to have a hometown post-wedding reception, still. You can have it as casual or intimate or wild or whatever as you like, to fit your budget and family, but it really does make a lot of sense to have it that way. I think it could easily be scheduled as much as a month out from the wedding, say when you return from a honeymoon, if you're having one.

Harriet Jones

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Re: Large engagement party and intimate wedding?
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2016, 08:43:00 AM »
I didn't reply to your previous thread, but now I have to say that I think this is a much worse idea than the far-away reception, which I didn't think was a great idea in the first place.

I understand that customs may be different where you are, but I definitely see, from my cultural perspective, an engagement party as a precursor to being invited to a wedding! I would be quite puzzled by being invited to the pre-wedding party but not the wedding or at least the reception.

I strongly think that your best option is to have a hometown post-wedding reception, still. You can have it as casual or intimate or wild or whatever as you like, to fit your budget and family, but it really does make a lot of sense to have it that way. I think it could easily be scheduled as much as a month out from the wedding, say when you return from a honeymoon, if you're having one.

I agree.  I think a post-honeymoon reception would be perfectly fine.   

HannahGrace

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Re: Large engagement party and intimate wedding?
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2016, 08:46:34 AM »
I didn't reply to your previous thread, but now I have to say that I think this is a much worse idea than the far-away reception, which I didn't think was a great idea in the first place.

I understand that customs may be different where you are, but I definitely see, from my cultural perspective, an engagement party as a precursor to being invited to a wedding! I would be quite puzzled by being invited to the pre-wedding party but not the wedding or at least the reception.

I strongly think that your best option is to have a hometown post-wedding reception, still. You can have it as casual or intimate or wild or whatever as you like, to fit your budget and family, but it really does make a lot of sense to have it that way. I think it could easily be scheduled as much as a month out from the wedding, say when you return from a honeymoon, if you're having one.

I agree.  I think a post-honeymoon reception would be perfectly fine.

Another voice of agreement. This is a much worse idea than your original idea. A post-wedding party down the road is your best option.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Large engagement party and intimate wedding?
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2016, 09:00:16 AM »
I agree a post wedding party a few weeks or so past the wedding date in your local area would be a better option. Is there a reason you do not want to go with that option?

Luci

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Re: Large engagement party and intimate wedding?
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2016, 09:57:01 AM »
I feel as you do that weddings are intimate occasions and a party/reception for a wider group of people is fine. I like the way you said "actively part of our lives."

I personally wouldn't consider an engagement party any differently than any other party, especially if it is months beforehand. A true after party closer in geography to the majority of guests would have a lot more feeling of marriage celebration to me.

I don't think that is rude. Having it on the mainland so near the island and expecting people to travel that far may be what posters were objecting to. At least that was the general impression I got.


Outdoor Girl

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Re: Large engagement party and intimate wedding?
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2016, 10:10:05 AM »
Nothing wrong with a post wedding party in a location close to most of the invited guests.  My cousin married an Australian here in Canada and had an additional reception in Australia.  Though everyone got the same invitation and could choose to attend both events, if they wanted.  The only Australians at the wedding were the Groom's closest family and some of the bridal party.  At the Australian reception, the only Canadians were the bride's closest family and some of the bridal party.

My brother limited his wedding to keep numbers down.  And a lot of hometown folks didn't make the cut.  My Mom really wanted to do something for the hometown folks and asked my brother and SIL if they would come to hometown a few weeks after the honeymoon for a second reception, that she would pay for.  They agreed.  It wasn't expected to be a gift giving occasion though I believe a few people brought modest gifts.
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Betelnut

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Re: Large engagement party and intimate wedding?
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2016, 10:26:29 AM »
I don't understand something.  If you are limiting the number of people coming to the actual ceremony "due to budgetary reasons" how does that fit in with having a large party either earlier or later?  An actual wedding ceremony lasts 5-60 minutes and (usually) isn't that expensive--it's the party/reception that's expensive!

I agree with most of the other posters--if you want to have a separate party to celebrate your wedding, have the small wedding (i.e. ceremony) first, then the party when it is more convenient for your guests.

It isn't really necessary to have that party at all...
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Hmmmmm

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Re: Large engagement party and intimate wedding?
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2016, 10:39:09 AM »
On another point with the engagement party idea. It's my understanding that engagement parties in Australia are usually gift giving occasions so though you say you'd put no gifts on the invite, I think you'd still have an issue with that.

Since cost is a factor, I still think a casual bbq hosted at a park or a parent's home in you and your fiance's honor post wedding is the best way to celebrate with family if that is the goal.

rose red

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Re: Large engagement party and intimate wedding?
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2016, 10:48:07 AM »
If you have a party, I think after the wedding might be better since that's celebrating the wedding, not the engagement. You can also show wedding pictures to those who can't be there.

VorFemme

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Re: Large engagement party and intimate wedding?
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2016, 11:36:31 AM »
I'd suggest the small wedding and a large "open house" type reception at your new home *after* the wedding might go over better than the current idea.

An engagement party, presents or not, is usually a precursor to a wedding invitation.

Granted, my perspective is from the Southern USA and from a time when "cake, punch, and possibly soft pastel mints or Jordan almonds" were the limits of the refreshments at the reception in the church hall after the wedding.

My own reception was in our home (moved in that day even though my stuff was mostly already there - I'd been living out of a suitcase at my parent's home the last couple of days) after the church wedding, as there was another wedding reception that was still being cleaned up afterward (if I reconstruct events properly after some 40 years and a few months - I was just told that the reception hall was not available and there were still flowers & candles in the main church area where the wedding was held).  I was 18 & not practiced in setting up *events* so there were questions that I didn't ask about "why" - I just said, "okay" and went on to the next thing that I knew did need to be done (order cake, get punch ingredients together in our fridge at the house, and sort out where everyone could stand while eating cake - we had seating for about ten people and not that many people who *had* to be seated during the cake & punch reception...two grandmothers & one grandfather).

It was easier to plan as well as a lot cheaper than the current expectations, I will admit.
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gellchom

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Re: Large engagement party and intimate wedding?
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2016, 01:27:04 PM »
I agree with the majority -- do it after the wedding, not before. 

I think what's bothering me here is that (in my experience, anyway) "engagement parties" aren't given by the couple themselves, they are given by others for them.  So if the invitation comes from the HC themselves, there is a real risk that it will be seen as, if not a gift grab, then sort of wanting to have your cake and eat it, too.

And they usually do mean that those who are invited are to be invited to the wedding, although not in the case of a very tiny wedding like yours, a very distant wedding, a party for the work gang, etc. -- like showers; there are some that don't have to be limited to wedding guests, but usually it does signal people to expect an invitation.

Writing "no gifts, please" on the invitation won't quite fix it, because it still suggests that it really is supposed to be a gift-giving occasion -- else why write it?  You wouldn't put "no gifts, please" on a New Year's Eve or Halloween party invitation, for example.  Even if etiquette doesn't require a gift for an engagement party, many people bring them -- I always do.

If you really must do it before the wedding, don't call it anything, just call it a "party."  Even then, people who know you are getting married soon may not pay close attention or remember exactly what the invitation says and still think of it as wedding-related.  And then you're right back where you started.

But I think you are much better off doing it after.  Is there some reason not to do that?


lowspark

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Re: Large engagement party and intimate wedding?
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2016, 01:36:59 PM »
Another vote for after the wedding.

You have some kind of party in mind already, right? I mean with regards to venue, food, drink, etc. So the only real question is when. Having it before the wedding and calling it an engagement party invites a totally different interpretation than having it after the wedding.

I agree with a lot of things PPs have said, including that engagement parties are mostly not hosted by the couple but by someone else, and that an invitation implies that an invitation to the wedding will follow.

I'll ask the same question: is there a reason you don't want to do the after party a few weeks after the wedding?
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lowspark

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Re: Large engagement party and intimate wedding?
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2016, 01:42:15 PM »
I don't understand something.  If you are limiting the number of people coming to the actual ceremony "due to budgetary reasons" how does that fit in with having a large party either earlier or later?  An actual wedding ceremony lasts 5-60 minutes and (usually) isn't that expensive--it's the party/reception that's expensive!

I agree with most of the other posters--if you want to have a separate party to celebrate your wedding, have the small wedding (i.e. ceremony) first, then the party when it is more convenient for your guests.

It isn't really necessary to have that party at all...

I'm curious about this as well. I got the idea in your other thread that the reason you wanted to keep the wedding small was because of the venue you chose, which is absolutely fine.

Really, it almost doesn't matter, but again, I don't think you should give too much justification to your friends & relatives about why the wedding itself will be small. You are choosing to do a small wedding because that's what you have decided you want. I wouldn't bring up budget or location or anything because that JADEing always does sort of bring up speculation. If you say it's the venue, people can interpret that to mean that the venue was more important than the people. If you say it's budget and then have a big party (either before or after) then people will wonder about why the budget allowed for that party but not a party at the same time as the wedding.
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TootsNYC

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Re: Large engagement party and intimate wedding?
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2016, 01:55:47 PM »
I expect engagement parties to be given really close in time to the engagement, since that's what's being celebrated. If you wait more than 3 months to celebrate an engagement, I think you should just dispense with an engagement party altogether.

If you want a small wedding, have a small wedding.

And simply decide that this is a reasonable choice (bcs it is), and then just blithely ignore all other comments, because--hey, you've done the reasonable thing, and you're not required to please everyone.

Just say, with faint regret, "Yes, we had a small wedding."