Post # 1
My FI and I are already struggling with our guest list for the wedding since both his family and mine are “suggesting” many people be invited that we do not want to invite. We’ve made it clear to both families that we are creating the guest list and there is no discussion about who is invited and who is not. However, both sets of parents think that we should have an engagement party (which they will host) so that those not invited to the wedding, and those who are, will have a chance to celebrate with us.
My FI and I have attended many many weddings in the last 3 years and think the amount of parties surrounding a wedding are a little much. Meaning we don’t want an engagement party to begin with, especially one where people bring gifts. Our wedding is one where 90% of the guest list must fly to, so it is sort of a destination wedding. Those attending are making an investment in simply attending our wedding, so it seems unreasonable to us to host other parties where gifts are typically given. We finally compromised and agreed to the engagment party IF the invitations specially requested that people DO NOT BRING GIFTS.
The invitations went out to people both invited to the wedding and to those who are not invited and they did specially indicate that we requested no gifts. A few days later we started to receive angry calls and emails saying that we were being rude for requesting no gifts. Those who have married before us think we are being ‘self-righteous’ by suggesting we are too well off that we do not need gifts. Those couples had created registries specially for engagment parties and showers and would feel greedy since we provided a gift at their engagment parties. Others are saying it is rude to tell people they cannot provide a gift at a party that traditionally includes gifts.
We are not being self-righteous for not wanting gifts, nor are we by any means well off not to appreciate gifts given. We were doing the enagement party as a compromise to our families and felt that creating the ‘no gifts please’ request would eliminate another added expense for our guests who will be spending enough money to travel to our wedding in the first place. Obviously we would be grateful for gifts given, and write thank yous appropriately, however we do not want people to feel obligated to provide a gift. Are we being rude or are our guests the ones who are blowing this out of proportion?
Post # 3
It is always a pity that guests do not haunt etiquette message boards as frequently as do brides: it would solve so many problems for thoughtful ladies like you. Well, and a pity also that etiquette message boards do not always get things correct, especially about gift etiquette.
The proper etiquette for engagement gifts, is NOT to give them. A couple’s engagement is a delicate time: they are trying on the idea of permanent commitment in public, and discovering whether that idea fits. Early in the engagement is when pressure or conflicts are most likely to disturb their happy romance, whereupon the presence of gifts would create a truly awkward situation. Only the most intimate of connections should presume to pressure the couple to accept an engagement gift.
For that matter, no-one should ever assume that a gift would be welcome. Gifts should only ever be offered, never imposed (and certainly never expected.)
Ah well, I did say we etiquette sticklers were prone to wishful thinking. Obviously your guests are innocent of any acquaintanceship with standard etiquette or real tradition. But you knew that already, since standard etiquette forbids the practice of angry calls and emails avering rudeness and self-righteousness. Your best course of action is selective polite deafness. That strategy goes as follows: since you (as a nice person) must assume your guests are polite, but since you (as an intelligent person) cannot figure out any polite interpretation for what you think they said, then you must have mis-heard or mis-read them. So, assuming that they said something different (and polite) answer “It is good to know of your kind feelings toward us. We do appreciate your kindness,” and let them decide for themselves whether that counts as an apology, an invitation to give a gift anyway, or a subtle reminder to behave themselves.
Post # 4
@izzer2036: Maybe I read this wrong, but are you inviting people to the engagement party and then not inviting them to the wedding? That is an ettiquette no-no and really rude! Your friends and family may be offended when they don’t get an invitation in the mail. Is there a reason why you can’t invite all of them to the wedding?
If someone wants to give you a gift that badly, I would just accept it with grace. Refusing gifts will only lead to hurt feelings and if you fight back too much it would look self-righteous.
Post # 4
The no gifts thing it very considerate of you!! That being said, inviting guests to your engagement party that will not be invited to the wedding is very rude. It’s like saying I can’t afford, nor do i want you at my wedding BUT since our parents are paying for our engagement party you can come to that because it’s less important. I think i would be very angry to be invited to an engagement party and not the wedding. I would however bring a small gift for the bride and groom even if gifts were not requested because that’s how I am. Maybe a set of toating flutes or a cake cutting set. Or even just a little cash in an envelope.