Post # 1
My fiancee and I are planning a wedding for next fall. My mother is an immigrant to the US and has a relatively large family in Europe. Last month, we visited our family abroad and my mom threw an engagement party for us (cocktail hour plus three course meal at a nice restaurant for 35 people). While I would love to invite all of these people (30, not including kids) I would also like to have a relatively intimate wedding at my parent’s house. My mom says the engagement party makes up for the wedding and that I am not obligated to invite anyone who attended the engagement party. I have some cousins that I would really like to invite, others that have invited me to their wedding but with whom I’m not particularly close. My questions:
Can I invite cousins and not aunts/uncles?
Do I need to create some hard and fast rules? (i.e. all cousins are invited or no cousind are invited)
Do I need to invite cousins whose wedding I attended?
Any advice is greatly appreciated. Many thanks!!!
Post # 2
steckarrr: Was this social event specifically pitched as an engagement party and/or did many of the attendees bring you gifts? If so, that might have created an expectation of receiving an invitation (in the USA to invite someone to an event like an engagement party where gifts are given or shower without also inviting them to the wedding would be perceived as offensive by more than a few people). What country in Europe? Perhaps someone who is from that country could offer an opinion then.
Wedding invitations do not have to be reciprocal.
Generally people suggest inviting in circles like “all cousins,” but that is not a hard-and-fast rule. Remember though that Cousin D may be upset if Cousins A, B, and C are invited. If you can deal with that, then that’s fine.
Post # 3
steckarrr: If I were you, I would invite all of the guests who attended your engagement party. I hear you about wanting to keep your wedding small, but if these people live in Europe they most likely won’t come to your wedding in the US anyway. In the US the etiquette is that you can’t invite someone to a pre-wedding event but not the wedding itself. Wedding invitations do not have to be reciprocal.
Post # 4
I would be inclined to invite all of them. However if that’s truly not possible your mother is the one to take guidance from. She’s going to know your family dynamics better than anyone.
Post # 5
Thanks!! The party was pitched as a “family reunion” before my fiance (typo in OP– not fiancee 😉 ) proposed and morphed into an engagement party after I said yes. My parents were in on his plans to propose. The country is France. We asked that no gifts be offered, mostly because we didn’t have the room in our suitcases to bring it back. Two people (my parents’ friends) gave money.
Post # 6
What is an “intimate” ceremony? If you are getting married with less than 20 people (immediate family only), I wouldn’t even think twice about inviting them. Come to think of it, if you aren’t remotely close to these people, I wouldn’t bother with it either. What would be the chances they would come?
Invite only who you want. IMO engagement parties are not the same as bridal showers etc in that all guests must be invited to the wedding, since most people don’t bring gifts.
If you are close to the aunts/uncles/cousins, invite them. If they are people you see once every 10 years, I don’t think anyone would really be hurt (you or them).
Post # 7
I think you need to invite everyone, or no one. You can’t invite cousins but not their parents.
Because of how your engagement party came about, I don’t think you’re obligated to invite everyone, but picking and choosing some but not others isn’t good. As for inviting people solely because you were invited to theirs — no, weddings are not tit-for-tat.
Post # 8
Maybe you could gauge through your parents or someone else how likely they are to attend the wedding? Ours isn’t going to be as small as yours, but we’re definitely being more liberal with inviting our family and friends abroad rather than worrying about numbers because we know that so many of them can’t actually come… (Actually, we wish they could… but anyway on a strictly numbers level, it makes it easier to estimate how many will come since we know they can’t.)
Post # 9
I’m getting married next year and I also have family out of the country (Dominican republic) im only inviting some cousins and some aunts and uncles I have way too many to invite them all. The way I’m inviting them is if I talk to them on a regular basis then I’m inviting them but if I don’t I’m not. I’m inviting some cousins and not their parents and also some uncles and not their kids it may sound bad but with 28 aunts and uncles with multiple kids there’s no way I can afford to pay for everyone. Good luck!
Post # 10
Ideally, we’d have 85 people, as that’s what I’d estimate to be a comfortable head count at my family’s home. Draft guest list is at 123, including all aunts, uncles and cousins.