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Etiquette

Engagement Dinner

I just became engaged and the engagement period is very short (we are getting married at the end of this year). I would really like an engagement dinner for all the parents and the wedding party. The idea is more for all the parents to meet and everyone to get to know one another since they will be the most involved people at the wedding. I already picked a local mexican restaurant that isn't by any means expensive. However, seeing as my fiancee is still in college and I just graduated, plus we are paying for the entire wedding ourselves....I really can't pay for anyone at this dinner. It's optional for anyone to attend. Is there a polite way to put on the invitation that this will be at their own expense? Or is the whole idea just wishful thinking?
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Re: Engagement Dinner

  • In Response to Engagement Dinner:
    I just became engaged and the engagement period is very short (we are getting married at the end of this year). I would really like an engagement dinner for all the parents and the wedding party. The idea is more for all the parents to meet and everyone to get to know one another since they will be the most involved people at the wedding. I already picked a local mexican restaurant that isn't by any means expensive. However, seeing as my fiancee is still in college and I just graduated, plus we are paying for the entire wedding ourselves....I really can't pay for anyone at this dinner. It's optional for anyone to attend. Is there a polite way to put on the invitation that this will be at their own expense? Or is the whole idea just wishful thinking?
    Posted by sdcrazy1018
    If you plan it, and invite people, you should pay.  Sorry.
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  • You really shouldn't be hosting your own engagement party so I'd say to skip the whole idea altogether. 
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  • No, there is not a polite way to tell people they need to pay for something you invited them to. You should always foot the bill for events you host.

    Also, you shouldn't host your own engagement party. If parents/friends would like to throw one for you and your FI, that's fine.
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  • The engagement party is something that is thrown for you, so if no one has offered to put this together, then technically you shouldn't be throwing it yourself.  Especially if you can't afford to actual throw it/host it.

    It sounds like your best bet would just be to call your parents and your FI's parents and just ask them out to dinner or over to your place for dinner so they can meet.  I wouldn't do invitations and call it an engagement party if you can't afford to host everything and everyone.
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  • Why don't you just have everyone over for a bbq or pasta dinner?  You could do that cheaply. 
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  • Just have a bbq and invite those people.... and call it a cookout.

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  • andy71781andy71781
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    edited August 2010
    I think you should do what Dani said.   Keep it casual and let your parents meet.  Congrats on your engagement!
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  • I'm glad I asked other people on this one. I had no idea that someone else normally gives the party. Thanks for the ideas on cheaper options.
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  • edited August 2010
    I don't get the rule that you can't throw your own e-party; my family is way too disorganized to put anything together and the rule that it's that or not have anything at all seems a little outdated in this day and age where the couple often hosts their own wedding as well. We're throwing our own (but not calling it an e-party) and we're having BBQ at a public park in his hometown (Mich) and Tex-Mex in my mom's backyard in my hometown (Texas). To cut expenses, we're catering only the main dishes (pulled pork for Mich and fajitas for Tx) and making all the sides ourselves.
  • In Response to Re: Engagement Dinner:
    I don't get the rule that you can't throw your own e-party; my family is way too disorganized to put anything together and the rule that it's that or not have anything at all seems a little outdated. We're throwing our own (but not calling it an e-party) and we're having BBQ at a public park in his hometown (Mich) and Tex-Mex in my mom's backyard in my hometown (Texas). To cut expenses, we're catering only the main dishes (pulled pork for Mich and fajitas for Tx) and making all the sides ourselves.
    Posted by chigirl2010
    But you aren't calling it an engagement party and you are providing all of the food, so you're just throwing a BBQ.  Nothing wrong with that.  That's what we're suggested to the OP - just gets their parents together to meet without making it a formal engagement party.
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  • In Response to Re: Engagement Dinner:
    In Response to Re: Engagement Dinner : But you aren't calling it an engagement party and you are providing all of the food, so you're just throwing a BBQ.  Nothing wrong with that.  That's what we're suggested to the OP - just gets their parents together to meet without making it a formal engagement party.
    Posted by danieliza1127
    Yeah but that's why we're not calling it an e-party, because of the limitations associated therewith. We had to come up with some ridiculous phraseology to describe the event lol. I just don't see the big deal about a couple hosting their own e-party (esp in our case; our families live very far from us and we want to throw a party here in Chicago with our friends that live here).
  • banana468banana468
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    edited August 2010
    In Response to Re: Engagement Dinner:
    In Response to Re: Engagement Dinner : Yeah but that's why we're not calling it an e-party, because of the limitations associated therewith. We had to come up with some ridiculous phraseology to describe the event lol. I just don't see the big deal about a couple hosting their own e-party (esp in our case; our families live very far from us and we want to throw a party here in Chicago with our friends that live here).
    Posted by chigirl2010
    The issue though is that it's not appropriate to throw any party in honor of yourself. It's fine to throw a party for the sake of it -but to call it your engagment party is where you venture into inappropriate territory.
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  • edited August 2010

    Isn't a wedding reception a party in honor of yourself (ie the guests toast you, speeches are given in honor of you, it's all about the couple, etc)? People didn't stop having weddings as parents stopped paying and hosting; they just threw it/paid for it themselves. I've also seen people organize their own birthday outings and get-togethers. I think this rule is just outdated and not followed in a lot of situations often enough where I wouldn't feel bound by it anymore if it presented a problem to follow it. Not having an engagement party at all and skipping out on the opportunity for guests to meet before the wedding simply because somone else won't or can't organize it/pay for it is just irrational to me. It makes about as much sense as not having a wedding reception if the bride's parents can't pay (which obviously people don't do).

  • In Response to Re: Engagement Dinner:
    Isn't a wedding reception a party in honor of yourself (ie the guests toast you, speeches are given in honor of you, it's all about the couple, etc)? People didn't stop having weddings as parents stopped paying and hosting; they just threw it/paid for it themselves. I've also seen people organize their own birthday outings and get-togethers. I think this rule is just outdated and not followed in a lot of situations often enough where I wouldn't feel bound by it anymore if it presented a problem to follow it. Not having an engagement party at all and skipping out on the opportunity for guests to meet before the wedding simply because somone else won't or can't organize it/pay for it is just irrational to me. It makes about as much sense as not having a wedding reception if the bride's parents can't pay (which obviously people don't do).
    Posted by chigirl2010
    The reception is different.  It's a party that's for the guests and not for the bride and groom.  Showers, birthday parties and engagement parties are different.  They're for the bride and/or groom. 

    And it is also inappropriate to throw your own birthday party.

    No one is saying that you can't have a party.  The issue is that calling it your engagement party isn't OK.  Have a great big party and say, "We know that we're engaged and it's time for all of you to meet," but dont' say, "You're invited to our engagement party!"  It's all in how you phrase it that's all.

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  • edited August 2010
    I guess I see the engagement party as for the guests as well. After all, they're being fed and given alcohol, just like the reception, no? Maybe I have a different understanding of the e-party but I'm throwing it pretty much just for my guests. And along with the celebration of the engagement, its purpose is for the guests to meet each other before the wedding. It doesn't sound too different from the reception (which is in honor of the couple's marriage just as much as it is a thank you for the guests - otherwise we wouldn't be giving speeches to the couple, they wouldn't be seated at a head table, they wouldn't be toasted, etc. You can't really argue that it's not in honor of the couple).

    Now the bachelorette party or wedding shower is purely for the bride; there's no real purpose for or benefit to the guests, so I can see why you wouldn't host your own.
  • In Response to Re: Engagement Dinner:
    I guess I see the engagement party as for the guests as well. After all, they're being fed and given alcohol, just like the reception, no? Maybe I have a different understanding of the e-party but I'm throwing it pretty much just for my guests. And along with the celebration of the engagement, its purpose is for the guests to meet each other before the wedding. It doesn't sound too different from the reception (which is in honor of the couple's marriage just as much as it is a thank you for the guests - otherwise we wouldn't be giving speeches to the couple, they wouldn't be seated at a head table, they wouldn't be toasted, etc. You can't really argue that it's not in honor of the couple). Now the bachelorette party or wedding shower is purely for the bride; there's no real purpose for or benefit to the guests, so I can see why you wouldn't host your own.
    Posted by chigirl2010
    The reception is for the guests and it's where they're honored in the form of food and refreshment as a TY for attending the ceremony and seeing that special moment in the bride and groom's lives.  Yes, there are people who toast to the couple but the bride and groom aren't suppoed to be the entire focal point.  That's why more often people advise getting all the toasts and dances out of the way as soon as possible - so the guests can enjoy themselves.    It's also why  it's extremely rude to split up  the BP from their SOs at the reception but it's OK to do that at the ceremony.  The reception is for the guests but the ceremony is for the couple.

    Yes, the couple is honored at the reception too, but the reception is still for the guests and not the bride and groom.   


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  • edited August 2010
    In Response to Re: Engagement Dinner:
    Yes, there are people who toast to the couple but the bride and groom aren't suppoed to be the entire focal point.  Posted by banana468
    Yes, exactly - the reception is about the guests and the couple, but more the guests - I'm not disagreeing with you there. To me, it's just like the e-party (celebrates the couple but it's FOR the guests), which would place it in the acceptable range to host if nobody else is available to do so. In fact, the e-party seems less about the couple than even the reception - no gifts, no speeches, no special seating, no first dance with all eyes on you, no grand entrance or exit...I just don't see how it's more rude to host your own e-party than to host your own reception. I think this is a distiction between breaking tradition and breaking etiquette.

    Now showers and bachelorettes parties are all about the bride and are different.
  • I've been waffling on jumping in here, but I'm enjoying the conversation.

    I really lean towards the way chigirl views an engagement party.  I'll follow etiquette and not knock the boat in real life, but, in theory, I also view hosting a reception similar to hosting an e-party.  I've been perplexed by this for awhile and see the distinction a bit like splitting hairs.

    Bachelorette parties and showers are a *totally* different animal.
  • FI and i threw our own engagement dinner. It was at a nice restaurant and it was immediate family (mom/dad and siblings) and bridal party only. No one had an issue with it. Eh, to each their own.
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