Pre-wedding Parties

Engagement party - am I a terrible person because...

When we got engaged, my fiancé and I decided that we wanted to host an engagement party - just a small affair at our house, to celebrate with both of our immediate families together. My family lives in a different state, so in nearly six years together, we've actually only gotten our families together once before. My parents were on board, found a weekend (about 2 months later) that they could come visit, and volunteered to help with hosting duties. A week before the party, we found that my fiancé's mother would be out of town that weekend - not by design, it was a long standing plan, somehow we simply never realized the dates conflicted. So, we decided to call it off and reschedule as soon as we find another date that my parents can come visit. However, the same day that we made this connection and decided to postpone, we went out to a nice dinner with his (large) family, organized in advance by one of his sisters... And after dinner, they all presented us with engagement gifts, and the photos from the evening that one of his sisters posted on social media were captioned "happy engagement!" I love my fiancé's family, and it was a wonderful evening... Which is why I feel like a terrible person, for feeling a little bit like my engagement-party thunder was stolen. I feel awkward about billing a future event as an "engagement party", because it feels like we already had one - that my family was excluded from. I know I'm being ridiculous, and that I sound ungrateful - I would never voice any of this with either of our families - but am I SO far off base just for having these thoughts? I mean, doesn't the bride's family typically have the first opportunity to host an engagement party, and then the groom's family can host another if they so choose?

Re: Engagement party - am I a terrible person because...

  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA
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    When we got engaged, my fiancé and I decided that we wanted to host an engagement party - just a small affair at our house, to celebrate with both of our immediate families together. My family lives in a different state, so in nearly six years together, we've actually only gotten our families together once before. My parents were on board, found a weekend (about 2 months later) that they could come visit, and volunteered to help with hosting duties. A week before the party, we found that my fiancé's mother would be out of town that weekend - not by design, it was a long standing plan, somehow we simply never realized the dates conflicted. So, we decided to call it off and reschedule as soon as we find another date that my parents can come visit. However, the same day that we made this connection and decided to postpone, we went out to a nice dinner with his (large) family, organized in advance by one of his sisters... And after dinner, they all presented us with engagement gifts, and the photos from the evening that one of his sisters posted on social media were captioned "happy engagement!" I love my fiancé's family, and it was a wonderful evening... Which is why I feel like a terrible person, for feeling a little bit like my engagement-party thunder was stolen. I feel awkward about billing a future event as an "engagement party", because it feels like we already had one - that my family was excluded from. I know I'm being ridiculous, and that I sound ungrateful - I would never voice any of this with either of our families - but am I SO far off base just for having these thoughts? I mean, doesn't the bride's family typically have the first opportunity to host an engagement party, and then the groom's family can host another if they so choose?
    No.  In addition, you and your FI should not be planning your own engagement party anyway.  Invite your family over for a family get-together if you want but don't call it an engagement party. 



    [Deleted User]YogaSandy
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
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    When we got engaged, my fiancé and I decided that we wanted to host an engagement party - just a small affair at our house, to celebrate with both of our immediate families together. My family lives in a different state, so in nearly six years together, we've actually only gotten our families together once before. My parents were on board, found a weekend (about 2 months later) that they could come visit, and volunteered to help with hosting duties. A week before the party, we found that my fiancé's mother would be out of town that weekend - not by design, it was a long standing plan, somehow we simply never realized the dates conflicted. So, we decided to call it off and reschedule as soon as we find another date that my parents can come visit. However, the same day that we made this connection and decided to postpone, we went out to a nice dinner with his (large) family, organized in advance by one of his sisters... And after dinner, they all presented us with engagement gifts, and the photos from the evening that one of his sisters posted on social media were captioned "happy engagement!" I love my fiancé's family, and it was a wonderful evening... Which is why I feel like a terrible person, for feeling a little bit like my engagement-party thunder was stolen. I feel awkward about billing a future event as an "engagement party", because it feels like we already had one - that my family was excluded from. I know I'm being ridiculous, and that I sound ungrateful - I would never voice any of this with either of our families - but am I SO far off base just for having these thoughts? I mean, doesn't the bride's family typically have the first opportunity to host an engagement party, and then the groom's family can host another if they so choose?
    Sounds like a conspiracy to me.  You probably need to make it clear that no one can graduate, get engaged or pregnant, or marry until after your wedding. 
    image
    TrixieJesslnixon8
  • Ok, well, this last response makes absolutely no sense, since my complaint is TOO much celebration of our engagement, not that the attention was on someone else. I wish we HAD been celebrating something else - which is how it was worded to my fiancé and I when we were invited out. We were told we were celebrating one thing - the other 10 people in attendance were told it was to celebrate our engagement... And it was the same guest list as the party we were planning for the following week, with the exclusion of my parents and brother. I realize it's a ridiculous thing to complain about - I know full well it was all planned with the best intentions, which is why I'm venting online instead of to anyone close to the situation, but c'mon, at least try to respond rationally if you're going to tell me I'm being stupid.
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
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    edited October 2015
    Ok, well, this last response makes absolutely no sense, since my complaint is TOO much celebration of our engagement, not that the attention was on someone else. I wish we HAD been celebrating something else - which is how it was worded to my fiancé and I when we were invited out. We were told we were celebrating one thing - the other 10 people in attendance were told it was to celebrate our engagement... And it was the same guest list as the party we were planning for the following week, with the exclusion of my parents and brother. I realize it's a ridiculous thing to complain about - I know full well it was all planned with the best intentions, which is why I'm venting online instead of to anyone close to the situation, but c'mon, at least try to respond rationally if you're going to tell me I'm being stupid.

    *****BOXES*****

    Your words were, "Which is why I feel like a terrible person, for feeling a little bit like my engagement-party thunder was stolen."  The expression implies that someone else's work/plan/idea trumped yours, and you are upset that your in-laws stole your party idea and beat you to it.
    There are brides that post constantly about their "thunder" being stolen.  How dare someone marry in the same week/month/year as "me".  How dare a bridesmaid get pregnant during my engagement/wedding?  How dare someone get engaged during my engagement/wedding planning.  How dare someone wear white/ivory/lace to my wedding?

    We tell brides all the time that you get one day.  That's it.  There is no "thunder stealing".  If you are already having this attitude regarding an engagement party, one can only wonder how the rest of your wedding planning will go. 

    As other PP's have indicated, it is in poor taste to host a party on your own behalf.  Your in-laws probably understand etiquette and threw a party on your behalf because that is how it is done.
    [Deleted User]
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
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    First of all, you shouldn't be throwing yourselves an engagement party. It's against etiquette and is considered rude.

    Second, yes IMO you're totally off base with feeling slighted by his family. Maybe just try being thankful and appreciative and stop looking for things to being upset by.

  • I can kind of see where you're coming from, re: being upset that your family wasn't there. It's hard to plan a wedding when one family is local, and the other is not. I don't think your FI's family was rude to celebrate, but I can see how it would feel weird.

    I think you should cancel the engagement party you were going to throw for yourselves, as PPs have said it is rude, but still have your family up. Even if your FI's family isn't around, it will be good to have your parents around for a while. Just host them as you would for any other get-together. 

    I think you'll feel better about it all once you've had some fun with your own family. 
    kimmiinthemittenILoveBeachMusic
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI
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    Are you worried that your "thunder was stolen" or that you had an engagement celebration without your family?

    If it's the first, get over it.  If it's the latter, I understand and think you chose a poor cliche to describe it.  Has your mom or family said anything to you about this?  Have each set of parents met yet?  If not, then I would host a small dinner next time your mom is in for both families to meet, but not call it an engagment party.
    image
  • Are you worried that your "thunder was stolen" or that you had an engagement celebration without your family?


    If it's the first, get over it.  If it's the latter, I understand and think you chose a poor cliche to describe it.  Has your mom or family said anything to you about this?  Have each set of parents met yet?  If not, then I would host a small dinner next time your mom is in for both families to meet, but not call it an engagment party.
    Thank you for recognizing what I realized only after everyone's responses - I chose a very poor expression to describe what I was feeling. Most of what I'm feeling is just missing my family, hating that they're not here for these things (compounded by the general stress of wedding planning on top of real-life issues), so I was overreacting to a stupid non-issue.

    I also don't really care what total strangers have to say about the rules of etiquette as far as who throws the party, because the only people involved are our immediate families, who understand the reasons for planning it this way and support us. If we didn't call it an "engagement party" there would be no etiquette issue, but that is exactly what we want to celebrate with our families, so we're not going to pretend it's something else just to appease strangers.

    I don't in any way think it was "rude" for my FILs to want to celebrate with us, and I wasn't looking for anyone to respond and vilify them... the timing just made things awkward, because it included 13 of the 16 person guest list for the party the following week, which was planned before the dinner. So, had we not decided to postpone the party because of my FMIL's absence, we would be celebrating the same event two weeks in a row with the same people. Neither my fiancé or I relish being the center of attention, and it made it feel a like we shouldn't have another party with my parents at all, now, because it feels very "me, me, me"... Although the thought of cancelling entirely made me feel pretty emotional about my parents being left out of it.

    In any case, I know I was being irrational, it was just one of what I'm sure will be many mini meltdowns in this planning process.
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI
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    edited October 2015
    Are you worried that your "thunder was stolen" or that you had an engagement celebration without your family?

    If it's the first, get over it.  If it's the latter, I understand and think you chose a poor cliche to describe it.  Has your mom or family said anything to you about this?  Have each set of parents met yet?  If not, then I would host a small dinner next time your mom is in for both families to meet, but not call it an engagment party.
    Thank you for recognizing what I realized only after everyone's responses - I chose a very poor expression to describe what I was feeling. Most of what I'm feeling is just missing my family, hating that they're not here for these things (compounded by the general stress of wedding planning on top of real-life issues), so I was overreacting to a stupid non-issue. I also don't really care what total strangers have to say about the rules of etiquette as far as who throws the party, because the only people involved are our immediate families, who understand the reasons for planning it this way and support us. If we didn't call it an "engagement party" there would be no etiquette issue, but that is exactly what we want to celebrate with our families, so we're not going to pretend it's something else just to appease strangers. I don't in any way think it was "rude" for my FILs to want to celebrate with us, and I wasn't looking for anyone to respond and vilify them... the timing just made things awkward, because it included 13 of the 16 person guest list for the party the following week, which was planned before the dinner. So, had we not decided to postpone the party because of my FMIL's absence, we would be celebrating the same event two weeks in a row with the same people. Neither my fiancé or I relish being the center of attention, and it made it feel a like we shouldn't have another party with my parents at all, now, because it feels very "me, me, me"... Although the thought of cancelling entirely made me feel pretty emotional about my parents being left out of it. In any case, I know I was being irrational, it was just one of what I'm sure will be many mini meltdowns in this planning process.

    Did your FMIL know you were throwing an engagement party the following weekend for her entire guest list plus your parents and brother? If so, admittedly I find it odd that she went forward with her plans.

    However, this is an etiquette based forum and lots of Knottiest are passionate about it so be forewarned that etiquette rules the roost around here. If you're like me, you'll learn a ton! I'm glad you were able to hear countering views and come down a bit tough!

    Change your name and stay a while!

    edited because IPad typing
    image
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
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    Are you worried that your "thunder was stolen" or that you had an engagement celebration without your family?

    If it's the first, get over it.  If it's the latter, I understand and think you chose a poor cliche to describe it.  Has your mom or family said anything to you about this?  Have each set of parents met yet?  If not, then I would host a small dinner next time your mom is in for both families to meet, but not call it an engagment party.
    Thank you for recognizing what I realized only after everyone's responses - I chose a very poor expression to describe what I was feeling. Most of what I'm feeling is just missing my family, hating that they're not here for these things (compounded by the general stress of wedding planning on top of real-life issues), so I was overreacting to a stupid non-issue. I also don't really care what total strangers have to say about the rules of etiquette as far as who throws the party, because the only people involved are our immediate families, who understand the reasons for planning it this way and support us. If we didn't call it an "engagement party" there would be no etiquette issue, but that is exactly what we want to celebrate with our families, so we're not going to pretend it's something else just to appease strangers. I don't in any way think it was "rude" for my FILs to want to celebrate with us, and I wasn't looking for anyone to respond and vilify them... the timing just made things awkward, because it included 13 of the 16 person guest list for the party the following week, which was planned before the dinner. So, had we not decided to postpone the party because of my FMIL's absence, we would be celebrating the same event two weeks in a row with the same people. Neither my fiancé or I relish being the center of attention, and it made it feel a like we shouldn't have another party with my parents at all, now, because it feels very "me, me, me"... Although the thought of cancelling entirely made me feel pretty emotional about my parents being left out of it. In any case, I know I was being irrational, it was just one of what I'm sure will be many mini meltdowns in this planning process.

    We can only respond based on what you say and how you say it, so it is important that you choose your words and expressions carefully.  To say someone "stole your thunder" is about the most "me, me, me" expression you can use. 

    Saying that your immediate family and friends will "understand because they know and love you" is also an oft used expression used by brides to justify their poor etiquette.  It is also another variation  of the "me, me, me" attitude.  Family and friends will frequently keep their mouths shut because they prefer not to be rude rather than express their true feelings. 

    If you do not care about the opinion of total strangers, then why bother posting?  That is strike three on the "me, me, me" scoreboard.
    ShesSoCold[Deleted User]Jen4948YogaSandy
  • MobKaz said:




    We can only respond based on what you say and how you say it, so it is important that you choose your words and expressions carefully.  To say someone "stole your thunder" is about the most "me, me, me" expression you can use. 

    Saying that your immediate family and friends will "understand because they know and love you" is also an oft used expression used by brides to justify their poor etiquette.  It is also another variation  of the "me, me, me" attitude.  Family and friends will frequently keep their mouths shut because they prefer not to be rude rather than express their true feelings. 

    If you do not care about the opinion of total strangers, then why bother posting?  That is strike three on the "me, me, me" scoreboard.



  • We can only respond based on what you say and how you say it, so it is important that you choose your words and expressions carefully.  To say someone "stole your thunder" is about the most "me, me, me" expression you can use. 

    Saying that your immediate family and friends will "understand because they know and love you" is also an oft used expression used by brides to justify their poor etiquette.  It is also another variation  of the "me, me, me" attitude.  Family and friends will frequently keep their mouths shut because they prefer not to be rude rather than express their true feelings. 

    If you do not care about the opinion of total strangers, then why bother posting?  That is strike three on the "me, me, me" scoreboard.
    Oh goodie. Speshul Snowflake in the house!

    image
    MobKazHeffalump
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's
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  • Well that was mature...

    It's rude to host a party in your own honor because it's essentially saying come to my party and bring me gifts... that's rude regardless on if the guest list is just your mother who would never say something about it to your face or 200 random people you've invited. Perhaps your FSIL who planned this party was doing so to save you from having all of your FILs think poorly of you. 

    I understand what it's like to have your family be far away, my parents are 8hrs away while my FI's parents are less than an hour. We see them more, it's just a fact of logistics. It can be hard but I'm also super grateful that we do have his parents so close, when I got in an accident they were able to come help me where it would have been impossible for my parents to do so. So accept the situation as it is and enjoy the time you have when your family visits.

    I also understand how it feels to be surprised as being the guest of honor at a party. My mother and FMIL threw a surprise shower for me and it was lovely and very sweet of them but I really would have appreciated to have been told by them that it was going to be my shower. But you say thank you and you smile and at the end what they did for you was really nice so you genuinely appreciate the sentiment and move on.

    You don't need to have an engagement party to celebrate with both families. If you want your families to mingle you can just all agree on a restaurant and go enjoy, or host a BBQ, or wine tasting, or football, or any other type of party at your place. If your family still wants to throw an engagement party for you guys on their side they are more than welcome to. 
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    VicTim328
  • As PPs have said, it's rude to throw a party for yourselves, but there's no reason you can't just invite your parents and brother to visit. I am sure they will want to celebrate your engagement regardless if it's an "official" engagement party. After we got engaged everyone wanted to take us out for drinks/dinner/just hang out and wish us congratulations in person. It's the natural response in this happy time - so don't worry so much about it, you will have a lot of time to celebrate in the coming months!
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
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    edited October 2015
    @Knottie1429148395, based on the meme you have chosen,  I see you are still having trouble using the proper expression to describe your feelings.  You are, however, doing an excellent job maintaining your irrational quotient.


    ETA:  I tried to quote the reply, but it did not include the meme for some reason.
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