Post # 1
I am having a really small wedding – 30 people or less kind of small. We are having our engagement party and I know that my Maid/Matron of Honor will throw some kind of a party but we do not want to have any event that would make anyone feel that it is important to buy us gifts. We have everything we need and then some things and it’s a second marriage for both of us.
Because of the small numbers of people attending our wedding and the fact that we don’t want gifts (and will be specifically saying so) does it matter if I invite a bunch of people to the parties that we won’t have at our family only wedding?
ETA: I want to be able to celebrate with those that I love which is why we are having these parties in the first place you know?
Post # 3
I think that traditional etiquette would say that it’s a better idea to have an informal party with everyone AFTER your wedding to celebrate the marriage and keep your pre-ceremony festivities (specifically your shower) to only those invited to the ceremony. However, given that your wedding is family only, I think that if someone else wants to throw you an engagement party, that’d be okay–particularly if you specify “No gifts, please” on the invitation (or make sure it gets around via word of mouth).
I’m sort of more hesitant to cheer on having several parties beforehand, because when your wedding itself is that exclusive, it seems kind of unfair and might be taken as self-centered to keep ramping up the pre-celebrations for an event that people aren’t going to be invited to in the end. The exception is if you are having separate parties for separate circles that don’t intersect much.
Post # 4
This was helpful for me in planning for my small wedding:
According to Miss Manners, “…no instructions about presents, even negative instructions, belong on an invitation. The host is not supposed to be thinking of the possibility of getting stuff from his guests.” In other words, spread the “no gifts” policy by word of mouth.
I agree with JennyW1 about having multiple pre-wedding parties. However, if you really want to have a large informal gathering (an engagement party) you could still invite everyone and call it something else so they don’t bring gifts or feel excluded – Meet and Greet, etc.. I think most people are understanding when you are doing a family-only wedding, but an engagement party, a meet-n-greet, and additional events would be too much.
Post # 5
No bridal shower at all, I refuse to have one will be spreading the word. Engagement part is happening in May – also very very small only 26 people invited. The wedding won’t be for another 1.5 years and out of everyone invited, only 5 people total will not be at the wedding which is family only.
The only party that we would be having would be something like a girls night out. So, no opportunity for gifts because the events themselves aren’t ones that people would feel that they had to give a gift at.
Post # 6
If you invite guests to any type of pre-wedding party (engagement party, etc), proper etiquette states that they need to be invited guests to the wedding. As a guest, I would probably be very confused as to why I’m invited to the engagement party to celebrate the pending nuptials, but then not be invited to the nuptials themselves. Even if gifts are not involved, all guests to pre-wedding parties should be invited to the wedding. If you want to celebrate with people before the wedding, the you should also want to celebrate with them after the wedding. If you don’t want to invite them to the wedding, then you shouldn’t invite them to any pre-wedding celebrations.
The 5 people that this may effect may have mixed feelings about this. I understand that you want a family only ceremony. You can ask one of these friends what they think about the idea and see how they react – ask someone who you know will be honest with you.
Post # 7
@neontl: Well then I guess that this means that I cannot celebrate with anyone outside of my immediate family. 🙁