Etiquette

Needing advice on several factors...

Hi everyone! I'm newly engaged and new to the Knot community. If you can read this (it's going to be long, sorry) and give me your input I would greatly appreciate it!
For some context I'm going to try to sum up our relationship and what's going on. We have been together for a little over a year, and moved in together pretty quickly (after like 2 months). We are both very laid back, relaxed people. We're also kinda shy, both have a very small circle of friends. I'm 25 and have a 3 yr old daughter, my fiancé is 39 and divorced with no kids. He is amazing with my daughter and has really stepped up to fulfill the role of her absent father. He wants to adopt her and it's something we've talked about a lot. (I came from a blended family where my dad adopted my sister so I know how great that can work out!)
My fiancé popped the question a few weeks ago, and it's something we've talked about for pretty much our whole relationship so we've got a good idea of what we want for our wedding. Very casual!!!! I have really bad social anxiety so I want to keep the focus on us as a couple and don't want to be the center of attention.
We want a fall wedding so we're trying to plan for October. Since getting engaged we've had some serious discussions about whether to do it this year or wait until next year, and we've decided to try for this year. Going to look at our venue this weekend and try to book it! I know we can afford it this year and with us wanting to move forward with the adoption process with my daughter, I don't want to wait until fall 2017.

So here are my questions:
1. I know it's tradition to create a registry and expect gifts for your wedding, but we already live together and have a child so we don't really need any of that stuff. Both our families are very generous and I dont want them to buy unnecessary gifts, so how can we explain that we don't want gifts or will only accept cash? I appreciate the thought and don't want to sound rude.
2. This will be my fiancé's 3rd wedding. It's my first (and last!), so I know my friends/family are excited, but I'm worried that his family may not care as much. Any advice on how to talk to him or his family to make sure that our day is just as special for him?
3. Social anxiety. I hate being the center of attention and I'm determined to make our wedding about us as much as possible. It's OUR day, not my day. To help prevent an anxiety attack, I want to avoid a full reception. My idea is just cake/drinks and mingling with music. Maybe dancing but not for me. How do I let our guests know that we want it to be low key?
4. About keeping it low key: I definitely don't want a bridal shower, and I think it's ridiculous to send out engagement announcements, save the dates, AND invitations. Is it rude to just do invitations? (We are keeping it small with only close friends/family, like 50 people)
4. Any and all wedding planning advice is welcome! I don't have much experience with weddings, and need any tips I can get.

Re: Needing advice on several factors...

  • 1. Don't register, and tell people who ask that you have everything you need.
    2. You can't make his family as excited about him making a life time commitment for the 3rd time as they were for the first. Let this one go.
    3. Cake and punch is fine! Just have it at a non meal time.
    4. Just invites is perfectly acceptable and more traditional. With such a small group anyone who wants to know the date earlier can use word of mouth.

    Congrats!
    DaisyGirl89PrettyGirlLost
  • You really only need to send "Save The Date" cards to OOTs who you really want to be there and may need to make travel arrangements. Other than that, most people will have word of mouth well before the invitations are sent.
  • 1. Don't register. Don't accept the offer of a shower. No you can't say, "no gifts!" but guests will get the hint when there isn't a registry and likely give you cash. Saying this, there are some people who ONLY give physical gifts- always graciously accept any gift given. It's up to you what you do with it after. 

    2. Agree with the above- not much you can do here. You can't make people feel a certain way. Look at ways to make the wedding day more special for you and him.

    3. A reception is where you thank your guests for attending your ceremony. This can be done in many forms, as long as food and beverage are served for the appropriate time of day (beverages do not need to be alcohol), and your guests are fully hosted. You could do a brunch or lunch reception, cake and punch at any non-meal time, or a later evening cocktail reception. A DJ and dancing are not required- that is up to you. 

    You do not tell your guests what kind of reception you are having (it's fine to spread this via word of mouth if it's brought up). The style of your invitation (i.e. the formality of wording uses, font, colour, graphics), venue location and time of event is what tells guests what to expect (i.e. a reception over dinner time would expect dinner, a reception at a park at 2pm is going to be much different than one at 6pm in a ballroom). 

    4. Invitations are the only stationary required, the rest is extra. We only sent invitations, and we had OOT guests. You can always let guests know by word of mouth when you have picked a wedding date and location.

    Congrats on the engagement! Keep lurking and I am sure you'll find most of what you're looking for. 
    adk19DaisyGirl89short+sassy
  • 1. You cannot tell people that you will only accept cash. That is rude. If you don't need anything, don't set up a registry and people will probably get the hint. And if you do get any boxed gifts, be gracious and thank the giver, even if it's something you don't especially want or need. 

    2. Don't try to tell anyone how to feel. The day will be special for you and your FI, so don't worry about whether other people are excited or not. 

    3. There's no need to tell anyone that the reception will be low-key, just plan for it to be laid back, and skip any customs/traditions that make you feel uncomfortable. If doing a grand entrance or bouquet toss or even a first dance would make you anxious, don't do them. They're not mandatory.

    4. It is perfectly fine to decline any pre-wedding parties you do not want. Save-the-dates are also not necessary (though I would recommend running your wedding date by your VIPs to make sure they can be there). I only sent invitations and it wasn't a problem at all. 

    Congratulations on your engagement and good luck with your wedding planning!
    image
    DaisyGirl89SP29
  •  
    1. I know it's tradition to create a registry and expect gifts for your wedding, but we already live together and have a child so we don't really need any of that stuff. Both our families are very generous and I dont want them to buy unnecessary gifts, so how can we explain that we don't want gifts or will only accept cash? I appreciate the thought and don't want to sound rude.

    You are right to think that this might come off as rude. Gifts (whether they are given at all, and if given what it might be) are at the discretion of the guest. You can certainly skip registering and decline a shower if one is offered. If anyone asks, simply let them know that you are not registered anywhere.


    2. This will be my fiancé's 3rd wedding. It's my first (and last!), so I know my friends/family are excited, but I'm worried that his family may not care as much. Any advice on how to talk to him or his family to make sure that our day is just as special for him?

    Unfortunately, there is no way to make a person/group of people care a certain way. Hopefully, they will be just as excited about the experience as they were the first time.

    3. Social anxiety. I hate being the center of attention and I'm determined to make our wedding about us as much as possible. It's OUR day, not my day. To help prevent an anxiety attack, I want to avoid a full reception. My idea is just cake/drinks and mingling with music. Maybe dancing but not for me. How do I let our guests know that we want it to be low key?

    A low key wedding sounds wonderful. What you are describing is called a cake and punch reception and is a great way to thank your guests for joining you. You are under no obligation to have dancing. You can also present a lower key vibe with the style and wording in your invitations.

    4. About keeping it low key: I definitely don't want a bridal shower, and I think it's ridiculous to send out engagement announcements, save the dates, AND invitations. Is it rude to just do invitations? (We are keeping it small with only close friends/family, like 50 people) 4. Any and all wedding planning advice is welcome! I don't have much experience with weddings, and need any tips I can get.

    You are free to decline a shower should one be offered. Only sending invitations is fine.
    Good luck with your planning!
    SP29
  • Thank you to everyone that has given me feedback! I really appreciate it!!!

    Also, I'd like to clarify that I didn't mean to come off as rude about the registry/cash gifts. I would graciously accept any gift. My whole point was more that I feel bad about people buying me gifts, especially when it's not necessary. I honestly don't want any gifts and would never expect my guests to give me anything. I just know how our families are and would like a nice way of saying "we appreciate it, but that's really not necessary "

    That probably didn't come out any better! I'm sorry if I've offended anyone, but I really appreciate the feedback! I will take these suggestions into consideration because I certainly don't want my family or future in-laws to think that I'm rude.
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    1. I know it's tradition to create a registry and expect gifts for your wedding, but we already live together and have a child so we don't really need any of that stuff. Both our families are very generous and I dont want them to buy unnecessary gifts, so how can we explain that we don't want gifts or will only accept cash? I appreciate the thought and don't want to sound rude.
         
    If you don't want boxed gifts, either have a very small registry, or don't register at all.  People will get the hint, and they know cash is a good gift.  The people who will buy you boxed gifts would likely buy you one no matter what.  It is very rude to ask for cash or indicate gifts in any form on an invitation. Would you ask for cash on any other occasion?  It is equally as inappropriate to ask for a wedding.  If someone asks, you can say, "Oh, we aren't creating a registry, but we are saving up for X."  Gifts should never be expected, and a wedding is included in that.  

    2. This will be my fiancé's 3rd wedding. It's my first (and last!), so I know my friends/family are excited, but I'm worried that his family may not care as much. Any advice on how to talk to him or his family to make sure that our day is just as special for him?

    This is out of your control and you will make life very hard for yourself if you continue to think about this.  No one will be as excited about your wedding as you and your FI are.  It's okay.  Worrying about how excited his family will be will only make things unnecessarily stressful for you.  Don't bring it up to them--it has the very probable outcome of coming off completely the wrong way, and that's a terrible way to start off with your new family.  Concentrate on how you and FI feel about that day.  

     3. Social anxiety. I hate being the center of attention and I'm determined to make our wedding about us as much as possible. It's OUR day, not my day. To help prevent an anxiety attack, I want to avoid a full reception. My idea is just cake/drinks and mingling with music. Maybe dancing but not for me. How do I let our guests know that we want it to be low key?

    This is a multi-part question.  Because you are inviting guests, they need to be hosted properly for the time of day.  That means that if you want to keep it to a cake and punch reception (completely fine, etiquette-wise), you need to plan the event at a non-meal time.  If you plan the event during a meal time, you need to provide a meal.  Regardless of the type of reception, you need to greet each guest individually and thank them for coming.  If you stick to a cake and punch reception, a receiving line after the ceremony would likely be the easiest way to accomplish this.  The alternative method is table visits, which isn't really feasible for a cake and punch reception.  

    As much as this is your and FI's day, it is also  your guests' day.  They spent the time to travel and attend your wedding, and most likely to buy you a gift.  If you remember that the day is about hosting properly (following the union of you and FI), planning will be so much easier, and you will save yourself a lot of heartache and drama.  

    The formality of your invitation also indicates what time of ceremony/reception to expect.  For example, if you are doing a cake and punch reception, you wouldn't send out super fancy engraved wedding invitations.  Guests will also know the formality of the event based off of the reception site.  

     4. About keeping it low key: I definitely don't want a bridal shower, and I think it's ridiculous to send out engagement announcements, save the dates, AND invitations. Is it rude to just do invitations? (We are keeping it small with only close friends/family, like 50 people) 4. Any and all wedding planning advice is welcome! I don't have much experience with weddings, and need any tips I can get.

    If anyone offers you a bridal shower, kindly refuse and thank them for thinking of you.  Bridal showers aren't required.  As long as your date is verified with VIPs, you can continue with only invitations, although I might provide STDs to anyone who is coming from OOT.  Keep in mind though, if you are having the majority of your guests come in from far away it is better to have a reception with full meal.  

    Other considerations: Everyone must be invited with their significant other.  A significant other is anyone an individual considers themselves to be in a relationship with, regardless of length of time together or marital status.  

    The only people required to plan and pay for the wedding are you and FI.  You didn't say anything in your OP that hinted otherwise, but you would be surprised by the amount of people who come here upset that their family/friends are not paying or planning/doing DIY projects for them.  Just throwing it in since you are new to all of this. 
    Responses above in blue.


    image
    SP29adk19
  • JediElizabethJediElizabeth
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    member
    edited January 2016
    Thank you to everyone that has given me feedback! I really appreciate it!!! Also, I'd like to clarify that I didn't mean to come off as rude about the registry/cash gifts. I would graciously accept any gift. My whole point was more that I feel bad about people buying me gifts, especially when it's not necessary. I honestly don't want any gifts and would never expect my guests to give me anything. I just know how our families are and would like a nice way of saying "we appreciate it, but that's really not necessary " That probably didn't come out any better! I'm sorry if I've offended anyone, but I really appreciate the feedback! I will take these suggestions into consideration because I certainly don't want my family or future in-laws to think that I'm rude.
    Let them know you're not registered, but you're saving up for (a house, honeymoon, whatever) and they'll get the hint. 

    If if they get you something, "Thanks, we really appreciate it!" is enough. Gifts are never necessary, but saying that in this context makes you sound unappreciative. 

    You can always sell, donate or re-gift anything you really don't want/need. 
    InLoveInQueens
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    Thank you to everyone that has given me feedback! I really appreciate it!!! Also, I'd like to clarify that I didn't mean to come off as rude about the registry/cash gifts. I would graciously accept any gift. My whole point was more that I feel bad about people buying me gifts, especially when it's not necessary. I honestly don't want any gifts and would never expect my guests to give me anything. I just know how our families are and would like a nice way of saying "we appreciate it, but that's really not necessary " That probably didn't come out any better! I'm sorry if I've offended anyone, but I really appreciate the feedback! I will take these suggestions into consideration because I certainly don't want my family or future in-laws to think that I'm rude.
    That's what we're here for.  Etiquette is, above all else, about treating people well.  We are more than happy to help you accomplish that goal!


    image
    kimmiinthemitten
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    edited January 2016
    Hi everyone! I'm newly engaged and new to the Knot community. If you can read this (it's going to be long, sorry) and give me your input I would greatly appreciate it! For some context I'm going to try to sum up our relationship and what's going on. We have been together for a little over a year, and moved in together pretty quickly (after like 2 months). We are both very laid back, relaxed people. We're also kinda shy, both have a very small circle of friends. I'm 25 and have a 3 yr old daughter, my fiancé is 39 and divorced with no kids. He is amazing with my daughter and has really stepped up to fulfill the role of her absent father. He wants to adopt her and it's something we've talked about a lot. (I came from a blended family where my dad adopted my sister so I know how great that can work out!) My fiancé popped the question a few weeks ago, and it's something we've talked about for pretty much our whole relationship so we've got a good idea of what we want for our wedding. Very casual!!!! I have really bad social anxiety so I want to keep the focus on us as a couple and don't want to be the center of attention. We want a fall wedding so we're trying to plan for October. Since getting engaged we've had some serious discussions about whether to do it this year or wait until next year, and we've decided to try for this year. Going to look at our venue this weekend and try to book it! I know we can afford it this year and with us wanting to move forward with the adoption process with my daughter, I don't want to wait until fall 2017. So here are my questions:

    1. I know it's tradition to create a registry and expect gifts for your wedding, but we already live together and have a child so we don't really need any of that stuff. Both our families are very generous and I dont want them to buy unnecessary gifts, so how can we explain that we don't want gifts or will only accept cash? I appreciate the thought and don't want to sound rude.

    You wait until someone asks you what you would like as a gift, and then you tell them.  You don't register (which is not a "tradition," you don't have showers, and you don't put any information about gifts in your invitation.  It's rude to give any hint that you expect any gifts, including any "no gifts," "no boxed gifts" or "cash gifts only" in your invitation because it comes off as gift-grabby.

    2. This will be my fiancé's 3rd wedding. It's my first (and last!), so I know my friends/family are excited, but I'm worried that his family may not care as much. Any advice on how to talk to him or his family to make sure that our day is just as special for him?

    This is an area only your FI can take care of.  I would just be as supportive of him as you can.  If there's anything he really wants for the wedding (within reason), I would see that he has it.

    3. Social anxiety. I hate being the center of attention and I'm determined to make our wedding about us as much as possible. It's OUR day, not my day. To help prevent an anxiety attack, I want to avoid a full reception. My idea is just cake/drinks and mingling with music. Maybe dancing but not for me. How do I let our guests know that we want it to be low key?

    Schedule the reception for a time of day (mid-afternoon or after 8pm) that isn't a meal time.  People are less likely to expect dancing at that time.  Also, skip a bouquet toss and perhaps cake cutting (just serve the cake without you and your FI "cutting" it). 

    4. About keeping it low key: I definitely don't want a bridal shower, and I think it's ridiculous to send out engagement announcements, save the dates, AND invitations. Is it rude to just do invitations? (We are keeping it small with only close friends/family, like 50 people) Any and all wedding planning advice is welcome! I don't have much experience with weddings, and need any tips I can get.

    Engagement announcements certainly aren't necessary.  Save-the-dates are optional; they can be useful if you have VIP guests who need more than 6 to 8 weeks to make time-off and travel arrangements to attend your wedding, but if you don't have any such guests or don't want to send them, that's up to you.  

  • A "Save the Date" is exactly that, a request for people to Save The Date to attend your wedding.  This can be done with an email or phone call or conversation.  "Hey Aunt Sally.  I wanted you to know that we've set the date for our wedding.  I know that you Uncle Harold will have to travel to get here, so I wanted to let you know that you'll definitely be getting an invitation, so you should put the date aside to attend.  I hope you can make it."
    nerdwife
  • AW3380 said:
    I don't know what kind of wedding you have your heart set on, but with the concerns you have listed have you considered going to the Courthouse for your ceremony and hosting your nearest and dearest at a restaurant afterwards?  Doing it this way could avoid some of the concerns you have, ie. social anxiety, unwanted gifts, etc.  You can still get dressed up, have photos taken, get a cake, and any other things you want.  Just throwing the idea out there...

    I think this is a great idea.  I'm not saying this is you, but I see so many posts where brides have the impression they need to invite all their aunts, uncles, first cousins, their best friend from 5th grade who they've talked to 3 times since HS, etc.  None of that is necessary if it isn't what you want to do and/or want to keep your guest list small.

    I had a smaller wedding with only 35 guests.  I don't even suffer from social anxiety, but I loved it.  It was just my very nearest and dearest.  My H and I had time to have longer conversations with everyone.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    MandyMost
  • I agree with all the PP's and I suspect you may be overthinking all this. The focus is that you and your FI are getting married.  If you don't want a lot of gifts, don't register.  If you don't want any pre-wedding events, decline any offers.  Just plan a simple day with your FI, family and friends that you will all enjoy. 
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    short+sassycharlotte989875
  • AW3380 said:
    @DaisyGirl89 I don't know what kind of wedding you have your heart set on, but with the concerns you have listed have you considered going to the Courthouse for your ceremony and hosting your nearest and dearest at a restaurant afterwards?  Doing it this way could avoid some of the concerns you have, ie. social anxiety, unwanted gifts, etc.  You can still get dressed up, have photos taken, get a cake, and any other things you want.  Just throwing the idea out there...
    This is what my husband and I did, part of it was $$ and part of it was I am not a center-of-attention person and it was perfect.

    We had a couple of hours alone with our photographer before we all met up at City Hall and had a super quick and intimate ceremony before taking our guests (immediate family and my BFF only) out to lunch, some fuss over us but that was to be expected. But it was so easy to focus on the purpose of that day (getting married) and ignore the anxiety and worry about being the center of attention. 
    adk19SP29charlotte989875
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    member
    1. Don't register, and tell people who ask that you have everything you need.
    2. You can't make his family as excited about him making a life time commitment for the 3rd time as they were for the first. Let this one go.
    3. Cake and punch is fine! Just have it at a non meal time. 4. Just invites is perfectly acceptable and more traditional. With such a small group anyone who wants to know the date earlier can use word of mouth. Congrats!
      This is pretty funny. . . but likely an accurate assessment of the situation.  Just enjoy your engagement and wedding day!

    As far as your wedding day, there's nothing you can do, besides eloping as PP's suggested, to avoid being the center of attention.  You can have a cake and punch reception, but you are still going to be the center of attention.  Your guests will seek you out throughout the day, and you will be required to make time to personally chat with each guest, thanking them for attending and making some small talk.

    If social anxiety is an issue for you, now would be the time to start working on getting it under control.  If you aren't currently talking about this with a physician or counselor, you probably should.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


  • Send out wedding invitations 8 weeks before your wedding.  Engagement announcements are never sent out.  They are only printed in the newspaper.  STDs are something rather new, and they are not necessary at all.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • Zola.com is a great alternative to a traditional registry. I've had plenty of friends use it, and come up with creative things to have people put money toward (i.e. Honeymoon, dreams/future, home, etc.) you will still get some random gifts but people were receptive for my friends. 

    You could do a wedding earlier in the day with a daytime reception to keep it more causal. I struggle with the same social anxiety. We get married in 3.5 months and I stress out thinking about everyone's eyes on me. All the attention will be on you and your SO but hopefully you'll be so excited and wrapped up in the moment, the anxiety will just disappear! :) and if it doesn't just keep reminding yourself that anyone attending is their to celebrate you both and your relationship. 

    happy planning!
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