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Engagement Party - Invite guests not invited to wedding?


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I know that the etiquette indicates that no one should be invited to an engagement party that is not invited to the wedding. However, etiquette (according to my mother) also indicates you should get married in a church and not in a (beautiful) gazebo in Cancun, so I'm going on a limb here.

 

I am having a small wedding but have a lot of friends and family who I would like to celebrate with at an engagement party. I have asked around to my wedding party (friends) and they think that everyone will understand that it is a small destination wedding and that it's fine. Of course, my mom thinks it is bad etiquette (etiquette smediquette) wink.gif ..but I really do not want to be rude and offend anyone.

 

Would it be okay to invite others (we want a rather large engagement party) if we included a separate note with the invitation indicating something along the lines that we will be having a small destination wedding in Cancun on November 27th, etc. and to not bring gifts..?

 

Please advise if you have had similar parties/invitations and suggestions of the wording of the note! Thank you!

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We are having a larger engagement party too due to our destination wedding. Basically people understand this due to the fact that they will not be travelling to our wedding in Cancun. If we were millonaires it would be a different story and I would have everyone come, but that is just not in the books.

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I don't know, I agree with your mom here. I would be offended if I was a family member and only invited to the local celebration....it would seem like I was good enough to give you an engagement gift, but not good enough that you would want me on such an important day.

 

I think you should invite people you care about to both or neither. No halfsies.

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We were planning on inviting all of the family that is invited to the engagement party to the wedding, but wanted to invite a lot of friends to the engagement party but not to the wedding (only friends invited are in the wedding party).

 

..what if we put on there to not bring a gift to the party??

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I also agree somewhat with your mom. I'm not stickler for tradition, BUT I could easily see how some people could become offended that you are inviting them to the pre-party (the engagement party) but not inviting them to the big day. I think most people assume that if they are invited to the engagement party they will also be invited to the wedding. So that will put you in the position of explaining that they aren't invited.

 

Also, even if you do say "no gifts please" most people will still bring something.

 

Hmm... Have you considered throwing a small, casual "reception" at home after your wedding? That would allow you to inform your engagement party guests that while you are having a small destination wedding with family, they can celebrate with you at home after you are wed. That might temper things a bit.

 

Good luck!

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I'm was sort of going through the same dilemma.

 

If it were up to us, it would just be the wedding and that's it. My fiance and I just want a small destination wedding and nothing else. We don't even want to register anywhere, have showers, etc.

 

However, his parents and my parents were pretty clear on the fact that they really want to do something for us either before or after the wedding, "to allow those who can't come to the Dominican for the wedding to celebrate with us and congratulate you". After much prodding we finally relented and agreed to their wishes. Although, I'm still a little "meh" on the whole thing as our families are in completely opposite areas of the country, so it looks like there will have to be two separate at-home parties, rather than the one we finally caved and agreed to. There will now be an an engagement party for my family before the wedding and an AHR with his family after the wedding.

 

Postage is pricey, printing is pricey, DIY invites are time consuming--all of those factors, plus the fact that we really only want very close family and friends at the wedding, led my fiance and I to quickly decide that we were only sending out invites to those who we're extremely close to, and/or those who expressed interest in the commitment to travel. All of that meant that we're only sending out 26 invitations.

 

Last night, as I was making out the mailing list for the invitations, for a brief moment I had this same thought--"will we offend anyone not getting an invitation to the wedding by inviting them to the engagement party?". My FI and I talked and were just like, "You know what? We're already bucking tradition by doing a destination wedding, so why do we have to obide by all the traditional etiquette items? Plus, the people who would be invited to the engagement party, and not the wedding, aren't as close to us anyway (extended family and friends), so if they don't understand would it really matter? We'll just explain that the wedding is small and if they don't get it, well we're sorry." In the end we decided to remember our mantra on this marriage from the beginning, "This marriage is about us, our love and lifetime commitment to each other. No one else. It's not about parties or events. It's about our love."

 

That's what is working for us. I hope you whatever you decide, you find peace in your decision as well. The most important thing is not to let worrying about all of these outlying factors stress out you and your fiance. Enjoy the ride.

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We havent arranged an engagement party; but from past experiences all those that i have been to we have then been invited to the wedding and people will presume that if they are at the engagement party they will receive a wedding invitation. Its just the way of the world and human nature. Im not a stickler for etiquette but do tend to agree with your mum here. Could you not just have an AHR and invite everyone to that instead as we are having one but it will be more of a party than reception. Or arrange an engagement meal with a few close friends and family.

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  • 2 months later...

Well, we had our engagement party last weekend and I went ahead and invited guests not invited to the wedding. When I sent out the invitations, I sent 2 separate cards. 1 had the party details and the other was a smaller card that said:

"Mike & Beth are planning a small intimate wedding in Cancun over Thanksgiving weekend this year. Accordingly, we are honored to host their engagement party so that they are able to celebrate their upcoming nuptials with all of their family and friends.

 

We are overjoyed for the happy couple and hope that you are able to join us on this evening!"

 

No one seemed offended. It was a great party. Hope this helps! :)

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That is a sticky situation. When my sister got married, we did that and people were very offended (you live and you learn). We thought we were being nice by inviting them since they weren't going to be attending the wedding, but I guess we should have just left well enough alone. With that said, piggybacking on what some of the ladies above said, instead of having a large engagement party, have you guys considered having a large AHR? That way the invitations will indicate that the wedding would have already taken place. In today's economic climate, I think people will understand about the small wedding, but maybe more understanding after the fact rather than before.

 

Good luck!

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