Engagement celebration not limited to those invited to the wedding?

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
1644 posts
Bumble bee

First, understand that while I am going to go against what “everybody knows” about pre-wedding celebrations and the wedding guest list, that’s because I am going to invite you to a higher and more traditional standard. And then I am going to tell you how to do what you want to do.

The higher standard is this: do not have any “wedding-related events”. Just have the wedding. People who are not members of the head-of-state’s family in a monarchy do not have months-long pageants leading up to their wedding. They just get married and celebrate it with a party immediately afterward for everyone who came to watch the ceremony. BUT — have plenty of non-wedding related events. Give parties. Practice hospitality (trust me, it takes practice to do it right and starting with a party for eighty — let alone three hundred — without prior practice on smaller guestlists is a great way not to do it right.)

Somehow the word has gotten out in wedding-board land, that inviting someone to a party is placing an awful burden on them that you need to pay back by inviting them to a bigger party down the road. Planning and arranging a community-building occasion for people to come together and have fun is “gift-grabby” and “attention-whoring”. Offering a limited amount is cheap and selfish if you don’t offer the sun and the moon as well. The net result is that the world is a less communal, less cheerful, less hospitable place because too many would-be hostesses have been frightened off by pointing fingers and condemnatory verdicts of “RUUUUUDE!”

Fortunately, normal people outside of wedding-boards actually think you are quite nice to invite them to a party. Some people do not like parties, of course, but they are the ones who will politely say “Oh, gee, I already have plans to clip my poodle that night, shucks!” and not “well, I’ll come, but only if it means an invitation to your wedding.”

Now, if you advertise a big “engagement party” on facebook a reasonable number of those non-wedding-board-informed friends probably will falsely assume that they need to give you a gift, and they will probably expect to talk about the upcoming wedding, and you will be doing two of the things you learned not to do in kindergarten: grubbing for gifts and talking about a party to people who won’t be there. If, on the other hand, you advertise that “Chuck and I are sponsoring the entertainment at Bailey’s Pub on Saturday, so drop buy for a beer on us!” and then use the gathered crowd as a place to announce your engagement, you’ll be doing what traditional ‘engagement’ parties were designed for — spreading the news so that other hostesses know you have entered into the must-invite-together category of social contacts. Which is all that such an announcement implies.

Have fun. And I wish that you may be very happy.

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