Post # 1
We’re being thrown an engagement party in January. My fiance’s parents are paying for the meals of their side and my mom is covering our side. When my fiance and I discussed the possibility of an engagement party before we were engaged, we agreed that we wanted it to be less of a party and more of an intimate get-together. All of our siblings haven’t met each other yet and our parents have only met a couple of times. We just wanted to go out to dinner with our parents, siblings (and their spouses and kids of course), and maybe the bridesmaids and groomsmen, but maybe not even them. We just wanted our parents and siblings to get to know one another better before the wedding.
Engagement parties are not done in my family so we really wanted it to be something small without the pressure of having an elaborate party that people would feel compelled to bring gifts to.
Well, that’s not flying with my fiance’s parents, who have invited 25 people on their side alone – his aunts, uncles, cousins, even some great aunts and uncles and second cousins. For my part, I am still only inviting my parents, siblings, and bridesmaids (and again, maybe not even them). We explained that we didn’t really want a party, just a chance for our immediate families to meet, but his parents disagree with us on what ‘immediate family’ means. Their definition is closer to what, as far as I know, is usually called an ‘extended family.’ But that’s not what this post is about!
We’ve come to terms with the fact that our engagement dinner is now an engagement party. No problem.
However, now that the party has increased in scale, I feel like there’s an increased chance of people feeling obligated to bring gifts. But we do not want any gifts for this party – in my opinion, that’s what a bridal shower is for! I don’t want people to cough up even more gifts for us as weddings are expensive enough for guests and bridal parties.
What I’m wondering is, is there a polite way of saying this? I know you can put on an invitation “Best wishes only” but inevitably, people will still bring gifts. How can I avoid this?
Post # 3
This has been discussed on the boards before… I was surprised to find out that the majority of guests to engagement parties don’t actually bring presents! Usually a card & wine or something! Is it common in your circle to bring lots of presents?
The best way to get away from gifts is to do it word of mouth & hope the guests respect your wishes. Someone will always bring a gift though… 🙂
Post # 4
My fiance’s half-Italian and his cousin had an engagement party last year. Included with their engagement party invitations were registry cards. Apparently the (Italian) groom’s family brought a ton of gifts while the bride’s family (non-Italian) didn’t bring anything. That’s exactly what I’m afraid will happen. His family will bring gifts anyway and my family will end up looking cheap even though I asked everyone not to bring gifts.
Edit: I shouldn’t say ‘looking cheap’ because I’m really not concerned with appearances. I actually mean that I don’t want my family to feel bad.
Post # 5
My bestfriend and cousin threw us an engagement party and we didn’t want gifts. So they simply put no gifts please. No one but my mom brought a gift. A few brought us cards. I don’t think it bothered any of our friends and family to put that on their. We had a great time. Lots of good food/drinks and fun in the sun! It was so laid back
Post # 6
We recently had an engagement party and FI mom wanted it to be lavish. We said no, keep it casual (same idea with the family being invited). So it was only cousins, aunts/uncles, g-parents and wedding party. On the invite it stated Best Wishes Only. Some people did bring us gifts but they were bottles of wine or a card with some money – nothing for us to open in front of others which is exactly what i wanted to avoid.
Best of luck. My advice is to let them know it’s a family gathering – that’s it!
Post # 7
Thanks for your advice, everyone! It sounds like generally, people will respect the bride and groom’s wishes and I’m hoping that holds true for us. My fiance is going to talk to his mom and have her mention this to her invitees as she invites them (it sounds like we’re going the phone-invite route rather than using paper invites for the party).
Post # 8
We had an engagement party and only 1 couple brought a gift. A few people brought a bottle of champagne, but that was it! I think right now, with the costs that people will have to spend to attend the wedding itself, it doesnt really make sense for them to get an additional gift. We got a lot of cards in the mail though, but just not at our party.