Confused over hosting own engagement party and/or bachelorette

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 2
Member
2257 posts
Buzzing bee

If the idea makes you uncomfortable, don’t let anyone throw you one. But don’t feel guilty. People do it because they want you to have a special event in your honor.

Don’t call it an “engagement party” if you are hosting yourself. Just say its “dinner and drinks” or whatever it is. Don’t create formal invitations, as is protocol for engagement parties.

For the bachelorette party… they’re kind of overrated. I had a little cabin getaway with my whole wedding party and the boys went hog hunting and us girls went wine tasting. You can even do simpler, and have brunch or get your nails done. I would let your Maid/Matron of Honor or other BMs bring up the subject. But with the distance limitations, don’t be surprised if one of the out-of-towners doesn’t offer.

If a local guest or Bridesmaid or Best Man asks if you’re having one or the other, just say “Well, since it’s not really etiquette to throw one for yourself, we hadn’t planned anything…” They may offer.

But again… if the idea makes you feel oogy, then don’t do it.

Post # 4
Member
1754 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

miamia00:  I think this is partially a “know your crowd” situation. If none of your friends or family have any idea what the “etiquette” is for these situations, then is etiquette even an issue? In other words, if they all think it’s 100% fine for you to host a party, I don’t see any problem. “Etiquette” is there to prevent offending people or making them uncomfortable. If you aren’t doing that, I don’t see the issue. 

I will comment on the bachelorette party thing… I wanted to go out for drinks with my friends, but my matron of honor lives across the country and just had a baby. No way was I going to expect her to plan it for me (I think THAT would be rude!). So I made a Facebook event, invited some people, and figured it out myself. I’m not asking anyone to pay for anything if they don’t want to, and invitations are always optional and not mandatory. 

I think what you’re planning is completely fine. People want to celebrate with you, they’re looking to you to take the lead on these events, and you’re planning to take on all responsibility and costs. That sounds amazing to me, and MUCH more polite and generous than what some etiquette-heavy bees might say. 

Post # 5
Member
1112 posts
Bumble bee

miamia00:  The idea behind all of this is that it is rude to invite someone to a party that is hosted in your honour, or is generally a gift-giving event. (So birthday parties, Bridal Showers, Bachelorettes, etc)

It’s the same as saying – hey everyone, come to my party, pay attention to me, celebrate me, and bring me presents! I know you aren’t exactly saying this, but that’s the gist. 

Your wedding (and the parties leading up to it) is the one of the only times in your life where people will fawn over you. I suggest you let your bridal party plan and host your shower & bachelorette. You don’t have to ask them to. If any of them take a second to google “Bridesmaid” one of the first things to pop up is how to plan a shower/bachelorette. Don’t worry about how much it’s costing – they will do something within their budgets. And just know that what goes around, comes around, and when it’s their turn, you will return the favour. Plus, people love to do things like these for their friends. You need to let go of the guilt and focus on the love.

As for your engagement party, althought you aren’t expecting gifts, you will receive gifts. You should never expect gifts, but that doesn’t mean people won’t give them. You could continue with your plan, or perhaps a friend will step in and offer to host it for you. 

At the end of the day, there is no etiquette police that is going to come by and ruin your party. You just want to be careful about stepping too far out of the “etiquette boundaries” because you will risk insulting someone you love. And at the end of the day, I know I would hate to insult or put off someone I love.

Post # 6
Member
2858 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

Just throw the party, ediquette smediquette. Your right that its so much ruder to make someone spend time and $$ to throw one for you when you can just do it yourself and cover the costs and legwork.

If your really afraid of peoples reaction if they found out you hosted your own parties, just host the party at anyplace other than your house. Noone will have any idea who hosted it. I cant tell you who hosted the last few engagement parties/showers I’ve been to and couldnt care less honestly.

Sidenote: This does NOT apply to a bridal shower – I would cringe if I knew someone was organizing their own gift-getting party (which you are not.)

Post # 8
Member
1566 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

soontobemrsKB92615:  “Your wedding (and the parties leading up to it) is the one of the only times in your life where people will fawn over you.”

Except when they can’t or don’t, whether it’s because friends and family live too far away, or because they can’t afford to host those events, or because you’re not having a wedding party so there’s no designated person to plan those things. Then it’s just depressing to be the bride who misses out on fun things like celebrating your engagement or going out for a night on the town with the girls. My closest friends all live too far away to attend a party (one of them can’t even make it to the wedding), but I would like to do a girl’s night out with the few friends I have here and some of FI’s female friends whom I’m now getting to know. However, I don’t have a wedding party to plan that, so I’m doing something similar to what KitSnicket: is planning. No one’s obligated to attend and no gifts are expected. I just want to go out with some fun ladies and indulge in some sugary cocktails and fried foods since I’ve been on a diet for the past four months. 

OP, I agree that you shouldn’t host one of the gift grabby events like a shower, but that you’re fine hosting a lovely “come celebrate our engagement” party. Sure, some people might bring gifts but there are tons of other events that you host in life like that, like a housewarming party or a birthday party for yourself. I don’t see any harm in that and I doubt your friends will either. If they are offended for some crazy reason, they simply don’t have to come. I also agree that it’s insane that according to proper etiquette it’s more rude to host and pay for a bachelorette party than it is to expect your friends to pony up the cash for one. I just don’t get that.

Post # 9
Member
1112 posts
Bumble bee

CakeSniffer:  Your situation doesn’t sound anything like OP’s. She already stated that she knows some friends would offer to host a party for them if they knew etiquette. And she stated that she has a Maid/Matron of Honor and other bridesmaids. 

My suggestion stands OP – let your nearest and dearest show you some love. Then give it right back to them when they tie the knot.

Post # 10
Member
865 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2017 - historical mansion

miamia00:  You know your friends best, and if your group has never heard of the supposed “etiquette” that you shouldn’t host your own party, then I really doubt that they will consider it rude to be invited to your parties. I totally agree with you that I would feel uncomfortable making other people do the work or pay for the party, etc. I’m sure your friends will be cool with you inviting them to a party to celebrate your engagement and your bachelorette party, too. Have a great time! 🙂

 

Post # 11
Member
1566 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

soontobemrsKB92615:  Oh, I know. I’m sure OP’s friends would be happy to host the party if they can afford it so that’s probably not the case for her. I was just making a counterpoint to your blanket statement since not everyone’s situation is the same. I’m sure there are plenty of brides who don’t find their friends and family fawning all over them and it’s all too easy to get sad about that. I just wanted to point out that not everyone experiences that. 

Post # 12
Member
1082 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

I’d feel fine hosting my own engagement party. I don’t see how that’s rude at all. I wouldn’t host my own bacherlorette party though, that seems really odd. That’s up to your friends to throw one or not. 

Post # 14
Member
841 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Im pretty sure according to Emily Post, Miss Manners etc is fine to host your own engagement party. They are not customarily gifting events anyway so I would not mention gifts in any way.

Bachelorette party- no. Its too much.

Birthday- yes. I mean adults dont really expect a bday present from all their friends regardless. Most people invite people to their own bday dinner/outing/drinks whatever.

Post # 15
Member
2600 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

OP, you’ve gotten some great answers on teh specifics so I’m answering your question in general, for future reference:

There is “traditional etiquette” which has certain “rules”–the relevant one here being that you should not host events for the purpose of honoring yourself (birthdays, engagement parties, bachelorette parties, and even…dum-da-dum…weddings)–this is a sort of blanket standard for most people.

At the same time, “etiquette” is a only a guide that is subject to the cultural context in which it is being practiced, and it is flexible and changes that way. So, “traditional etiquette” says that wedding invites shouldn’t even have an RSVP card because guests are expected to respond via their own stationery (giving them the opportunity to express their own sentiments and/or offer an explanation for declining), but as this is an almost all but forgotten custom, it has been replaced by the reply-card–and I doubt many people would receive an invite today and say, “Hey waitaminute, I really WANTED to write my own RSVP to the couple in my own way on my own stationery!” That’s a basic way of saying that when you get etiquette advice, you should consider whether it makes sense for your specific social circle and the expectations among those YOU interact with. 

Now, that said, the reason why etiquette exists is to preserve social respect and to reduce the potential for conflict and/or discomfort on behalf of other people, so it does behoove you to understand the logic behind certain etiquette customs before you break them just to make sure you’re not overlooking a possible overstep. So, I’ll skip the engagement party, but one reason that the bride shouldn’t host her own bachelorette party is because traditionally, the bridal party covers her expenses, and also because the night has to be arranged to accommodate several different people’s availability. It makes much better sense for the Maid/Matron of Honor to host because she is better positioned to take input from the BMs regarding their schedules, their temperament for certain activities as well as their financial comfort. Obviously, the Maid/Matron of Honor takes her cues from the bride and is not going to plan a raucous night out if the bride just wants pedicures and old movies, but it is different, isn’t it, if the bride planned something that a Bridesmaid or Best Man felt uncomfortable about–how would that Bridesmaid or Best Man say ‘no’ to the bride? It’s better to allow your bridal party to plan one for you because the process will allow them to have some input. You also want to tread lightly around the logic that you want a bachelorette party, but no one is local so you’ll just plan it yourself. Your BMs are not under any obligation to plan or attend your bachelorette party, and whereas if they dont’ plan you one, that’s their perogative, if you plan one for yourself, are you compelling people to come even if they don’t want to? That’s a bigger consideration, especially if your BMs would have to travel to get to your bachelorette party. 

But like I said, all of this is simply hypothetical advice. It really depends on your circle and circumstances. If you’ve got an easy-going crowd who would say, “It’s a breach of etiquette to host your own engagement party? Huh? Really??” then why bother with “traditional etiquette”?

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