(Closed) Should I Have an Engagement Party?

posted 7 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
Member
1696 posts
Bumble bee

Well, you have to announce your engagement somehow, so that when your friends and family-members hold THEIR weddings (or other formal events) they know that they have to send an invitation to your fiance, and they know whom to address it to, and where. Nowadays you can take care of that by changing your status on Facebook. But it’s more fun to do it by inviting everyone over for whatever kind of party folk in your social circle normally have — usually one of the larger such parties because you want to target as many people as possible — and then dropping the announcement into their midst at the height of the party.

That’s the actual *traditional* way of doing an engagement party, and it gets around the “are gifts expected” question, because no-one knows that it’s an engagement party until after the fact. And, since (unknowing as they are) no-one is bringing presents or coming just to honour you, it is perfectly acceptable for you to throw the party. It is even a courteous thing to do, since it keeps everyone in the social loop, and prevents the passive-aggressive game of people gossiping about the rock on the newly-engaged girls’ fingers but not knowing how to ask about it, while the girls in return flash their rings hoping people notice but not wanting to be obvious and bring it up. Sigh: the olden days had so much less angsty drama!

Nowadays, engagement parties are often thrown as part of the cycle of wedding parties showcasing the bride-to-be (and her groom) and are mixed in with showers as a gift-gathering occasion that should be given in honour of the bride and groom by somebody else. I find that kind of engagement party a bit over-the-top and unnecessary — but if you HAVE already changed your facebook status, you’re too late for the traditional kind. It is a good alternative if you have complicated parental relationships: one set of estranged parents-and-steps can throw the engagement party and then keep their fingers out of the reception or rehearsal parties, so that everyone has their own little kingdom to rule over, and they don’t need to squabble over the wedding as a whole.

Post # 4
Member
4137 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

you can go out to celebrate your engagement, but don’t throw your own engagement party. it will look like a gift grab. someone should offer to host one for you.

Post # 5
Member
220 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

We aren’t going to have an engagement party. Planning the wedding is enough!  If someone, a close friend or something, had offered to host one, we wouldn’t have said no though (parents are out of the question since they live far away) – but whatever.  I’m still a little confused about whether you can invite people to the e-party but not the wedding and I don’t want to offend anyone – so I guess another reason not to have one! 

I really don’t think you HAVE to have one, and I think it’s another thing (ahem, expense?) that’s been hyped up by the industry since the traditional type is sort of obsolete (when the father of the bride invites everyone to make an announcement of the engagement).  As long as you let those closest to you know about the engagement, whether it be by phone, email, facebook, that’s really all you need to do. 

Post # 6
Member
445 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

We are having a traditional engagement ceremony (dam hoi).  It is a vietnamese tradition that my parents insisted on keeping so they are planning the party.  The ceremony is similar to that of the rehersal dinner, however it is months in advance of the wedding. We invited a few of our friends, but it is strictly for family members from both sides to get together to be introduced to one another.

Post # 7
Member
2788 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2011

We had an engagement party, hosted by my Future Mother-In-Law and Future Father-In-Law.  It was in their home, nice and informal. To me, it was an excellent oppurtunity to have my extended family meet FI’s extended family. 

To answer jenter:‘s question about who gets invited.  Everyone that gets invited to the engagement party should be invited to the wedding.  We limited our e-party invite list to family only (which was good because we had over 80 people!), but depending on who hosts, close family friends may be invited as well.

Post # 8
Member
220 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@rachaelrobin:  See, I’ve definitely heard that, but also know a handful of friends that have been invited to eparties but not the wedding (and no offense was taken) usually it was to cast a wide social net to include friends, acquaintances, co-workers that are local, but the actual wedding took place in another state, so maybe that made it ‘ok’? … idk, very confusing. 

Post # 9
Member
1696 posts
Bumble bee

@jenter:

The distinction is whether it is treated as a social event where an engagement just happens to be the current topic of interest (or is announced) — in which case anyone can give the party and anyone can be invited; or whether it is treated as part of the round of pre-wedding events, in which case it has to be given by someone else and only future wedding guests should be included.

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