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Etiquette

Is this a faux pas?

kahluakoalakahluakoala member
500 Love Its 500 Comments Second Anniversary First Answer
edited January 31 in Etiquette

So, here's the deal. We got engaged in December and our wedding is in Spring 2019. My FI's family is from a cultural tradition where big engagement parties are the norm and they are usually thrown by the brides family. They are typically like mini receptions and everyone brings gifts from the registry - I've been to a few of these and they're typically pretty OTT. My family is not from this tradition, but immediately got on board with the idea of throwing a low key engagement BBQ. We didn't (nor did my ILs) ask my parents to do it, but they just got onto the idea and loved it. My parents retired to a beach community / vacation town a few years ago and they love hosting and entertaining in their home, which, while not a large house, is basically made for this style of open house event. They typically throw 1-2 BBQs a year, including one on memorial day weekend, so they decided this year they'd up the ante on their memorial day BBQ and call it our engagement party - basically the same party they always throw, but hiring some simple catering instead of doing the cooking, a bartender, getting a nice cake, etc. and in addition to my family (who also vacations in this town), we'd be extending the invite to my ILs. ILs live a couple hours by car but the town we live in is near a destination they all go to often and regularly stay in hotels in this area in the summer. They say they'll travel for it, but I don't care if life happens and they decide against it. People keep asking us if we're having an engagement party and where we're registered (because, again, their family is all about these mini reception engagement parties), and we tell them "Memorial day weekend, bride's vacation home" and everyone sound on board. Given these events aren't typical in my family, we're definitely not expecting gifts or pressuring them, but if people wanna find our registry it'll be online. That's basically how we're viewing it.

Now, the wrench in the plans - my mom finds out she has to reschedule an elective surgery (it's elective but she really needs it, don't want to get into it much but just trust me that this is really the only option), and she basically will now be in recovery over memorial day weekend. She really doesn't have an opportunity to schedule her surgery whenever she wants it (i.e. right after the party) since she's faced with doctor availability and scheduling around other trips, events, plans that are important to her. She decides to have it on the new scheduled date and we immediately are like, "cool, ok, we'll cancel the party. ILs can throw us something if they want since it's their culture that cares about this, or nobody can throw us one and we'll be fine", but my parents are insistent they REALLY want to throw this party and can do it in August. We look at our calendar and there's only one weekend that is even possible in August, and it's the week before FI's cousins wedding. 

I am *so* worried about thunder stealing or pissing off the future bride. She's a real sweetheart and is clearly super excited for us and didn't mind sharing "engagement thunder" with us at all over Christmas. BUT I am worried that having a party to celebrate our wedding right before she has her wedding will just be hurtful. We can't really have it after since after labor day the town basically shuts down, and it basically just changes the terms of the party. Plus, I am starting a grad program in September, and don't really want to put lots of plans on the early weekends. An invite is not a summons, and I basically will not be remotely hurt or offended if his family decides not to attend our event or send a gift given they will be attending the wedding the following week, and most of my family (obviously not invited to FI's cousins wedding) would be down for a normal summer BBQ, but I just don't want to hurt the brides feelings. The wedding is local to FI's family, so we're not asking for back-to-back travel.

I know I am techincally within etiquette and "you only get one day", but I really don't want to step on any toes. Would you be mad if you were the bride? I also know a lot of knotties would roll their eyes at an engagement party 6 months after a couple gets engaged, but again, it's just how it shook out. The memorial day party was about 11 months from the wedding and this will be 9. 

Re: Is this a faux pas?

  • Mostly, I wouldn't travel for an engagement party 6 months after the fact, and wouldn't travel for a family party if I also had a family event the next week, local or not. One of those applies to your family, and both apply to your FI's.

    I also wouldn't be upset as the other bride - if any guest had to make a choice, I figure they would choose my wedding over the engagement party, and to me, thunder-stealing is not a thing. Can't say how she'll feel about it, but she's gonna have the more important event in that week timespan and she should know it.

    Well, my family is local - they all have vacation homes in this area. Like this is a party my parents would throw normally and my 30-40 cousins and aunts and uncles would have gone to anyway, this time it'll just have an engagement cake and more people (FI's family) are invited, so I'm less worried about them. That's kind of the genesis of the party in the first place - they just thought "oh let's throw one of our summer BBQs but this time it'll be our daughters engagement party).

    I wouldn't travel for an engagement party either (FI and I were invited to this brides engagement party and we declined due to travel - would have been a flight not a drive, but still). She will definitely be having the more important event and hopefully she does know it. I know my FILs will come to the party (they were part of the date selection) but if his cousins/aunts and uncles decline I'll be fine with that too, it's just that their culture is the one with the big engagement parties, and they keep asking us like, "When's the party? Where's your registry? etc".
    charlotte989875ahoyweddingSP29
  • I honestly think it's fine. Your parents would have hosted a party anyway, your in-laws were involved and don't have a problem with it so I'd have the party and not worry about it. My cousin had her wedding shower two days after my wedding and it was so fun. We got to see everyone again, people didn't have to travel twice, and had it been two days before I would have been just as happy. 

    I have a little lot of side eye for brides who get all "thunder stealing"; to me it sounds more about the party and the event, and not about the marriahe. 
    ahoyweddingPrettyGirlLostSP29
  • kahluakoalakahluakoala member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Second Anniversary First Answer
    edited January 31
    I honestly think it's fine. Your parents would have hosted a party anyway, your in-laws were involved and don't have a problem with it so I'd have the party and not worry about it. My cousin had her wedding shower two days after my wedding and it was so fun. We got to see everyone again, people didn't have to travel twice, and had it been two days before I would have been just as happy. 

    I have a little lot of side eye for brides who get all "thunder stealing"; to me it sounds more about the party and the event, and not about the marriahe. 

    I tend to agree about the thunder stealing-ness. I really really like this bride, so I just don't want to do something that would be like, "you're technically within etiquette, but *EYEROLL*. If I were her, I wouldn't care - it would just be like, "oh hey I'm invited to a party the week before my wedding, decline" and move on and not worry about anyone else. 

    My FILs (like, my FI's parents) are all about this party and were part of the date selection, and FI's aunts, uncles, and cousins keep asking like "when are you having an engagement party, we want to get you a gift". We pushed it to beginning of summer since we're having a longish engagement and my parents ability and willingness to throw a fun party drastically increased, and now we're pushing to late summer, which is later than I would have wanted, but whadaya gonna do? At this point it's logistically impossible to move it earlier for a lot of reasons. It sounds like if someone would side-eye an August party, they also would have side-eyed a late May party. 

    If anyone doesn't want to do both because of cost, travel, or just feeling like two back to back family parties is just a little much I would hope and expect that they would chose the wedding. Given the engagement party is hosted by my parents in our hometown, it'll probably be like 30-40 people from my family and 15-20ish people from his family who actually make the trip and maybe 10 local-ish friends.
  • kahluakoalakahluakoala member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Second Anniversary First Answer
    edited January 31
    Also, I think the idea of "thunder stealing" probably only even occurred to me because of reading wedding forums :P
    MesmrEwe
  • Eh I wouldn’t love it. I wouldn’t say anything or do anything, but I would be silently privately annoyed that everyone won’t be all excited to see each other because you decided to have a really late engagement party. Which is a feeling you’re totally entitled to ignore because you’re doing nothing at all wrong, but if you’re really concerned about not upsetting her I think you need to realize this might, and decide whether you mind taking that chance or not. 
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    Just wanted to say that I hope your mom's surgery goes smoothly!



    Anniversary
    MobKazMesmrEwe
  • A few etiquette things I noticed while reading your post:

    1) Anyone invited to this party has to be invited to the wedding. IDK what combining it with the normal "memorial day crowd" would mean for y'all.
    2) Engagement parties really should happen within about 3 months of the engagement. Since they're such a big deal in your FI's culture, I wouldn't really side-eye the Memorial Day scheduling (5-6 months post-engagement), but I would absolutely side-eye what amounts to a gift giving engagement party (in his culture) 9 months after your engagement.
    3) Because of #2 and August being way too late to host this, I wouldn't worry about thunder stealing.

    It honestly sounds like an engagement party just isn't going to happen. And that's fine. It's not your culture to throw one of these. Just say "My mom is having surgery. We can't do Memorial Day weekend as planned and can't get anything else on the books until it's really too late...". If ILs offer to throw you one, great. If not, that's fine too.

    I know what you mean, honestly when the surgery came up we were instantly like, "OK party cancelled" but my mom was so heartbroken. She was really looking forward to it. 

    The normal crew is our family, so all invited to the wedding. Only difference is people can bring their kids to the party (all under 5) but we're not having kids at the wedding - everyone knows this in advance though.

    After thinking about it I think I'm going to ask my mom if she would change the wording of this party to a "Meet the Family" party and invite whoever FMIL wants to invite to basically a shore cookout, and this will make me feel a lot more chill about potential thunder stealing and less embarrassed about our 9 month late engagement party.

    The wording on gifts from uncles and cousins was more like, "Hey are you having an engagement party because if so we'll give you gifts then, if not we'll give you gifts now", so if people use that opportunity to give us gifts since they'll see us, fine, if they decide to forgo the engagement gift altogether, also fine.
    charlotte989875eileenrobshort+sassy
  • Just wanted to say that I hope your mom's surgery goes smoothly!

    Thank you! I don't want to divulge her medical details on the internet, but I obviously do too!
  • A few etiquette things I noticed while reading your post:

    1) Anyone invited to this party has to be invited to the wedding. IDK what combining it with the normal "memorial day crowd" would mean for y'all.
    2) Engagement parties really should happen within about 3 months of the engagement. Since they're such a big deal in your FI's culture, I wouldn't really side-eye the Memorial Day scheduling (5-6 months post-engagement), but I would absolutely side-eye what amounts to a gift giving engagement party (in his culture) 9 months after your engagement.
    3) Because of #2 and August being way too late to host this, I wouldn't worry about thunder stealing.

    It honestly sounds like an engagement party just isn't going to happen. And that's fine. It's not your culture to throw one of these. Just say "My mom is having surgery. We can't do Memorial Day weekend as planned and can't get anything else on the books until it's really too late...". If ILs offer to throw you one, great. If not, that's fine too.

    I know what you mean, honestly when the surgery came up we were instantly like, "OK party cancelled" but my mom was so heartbroken. She was really looking forward to it. 

    The normal crew is our family, so all invited to the wedding. Only difference is people can bring their kids to the party (all under 5) but we're not having kids at the wedding - everyone knows this in advance though.

    After thinking about it I think I'm going to ask my mom if she would change the wording of this party to a "Meet the Family" party and invite whoever FMIL wants to invite to basically a shore cookout, and this will make me feel a lot more chill about potential thunder stealing and less embarrassed about our 9 month late engagement party.

    The wording on gifts from uncles and cousins was more like, "Hey are you having an engagement party because if so we'll give you gifts then, if not we'll give you gifts now", so if people use that opportunity to give us gifts since they'll see us, fine, if they decide to forgo the engagement gift altogether, also fine.
    What about a couples shower (invite kids or don't, whatever)? If people give gifts anyway, this would take away  the awkwardness of an engagement party turned gifting event since gifts are normal at a shower.

    And really, I would not worry a wink about thunder stealing. 
    *********************************************************************************

    image
  • A few etiquette things I noticed while reading your post:

    1) Anyone invited to this party has to be invited to the wedding. IDK what combining it with the normal "memorial day crowd" would mean for y'all.
    2) Engagement parties really should happen within about 3 months of the engagement. Since they're such a big deal in your FI's culture, I wouldn't really side-eye the Memorial Day scheduling (5-6 months post-engagement), but I would absolutely side-eye what amounts to a gift giving engagement party (in his culture) 9 months after your engagement.
    3) Because of #2 and August being way too late to host this, I wouldn't worry about thunder stealing.

    It honestly sounds like an engagement party just isn't going to happen. And that's fine. It's not your culture to throw one of these. Just say "My mom is having surgery. We can't do Memorial Day weekend as planned and can't get anything else on the books until it's really too late...". If ILs offer to throw you one, great. If not, that's fine too.

    I know what you mean, honestly when the surgery came up we were instantly like, "OK party cancelled" but my mom was so heartbroken. She was really looking forward to it. 

    The normal crew is our family, so all invited to the wedding. Only difference is people can bring their kids to the party (all under 5) but we're not having kids at the wedding - everyone knows this in advance though.

    After thinking about it I think I'm going to ask my mom if she would change the wording of this party to a "Meet the Family" party and invite whoever FMIL wants to invite to basically a shore cookout, and this will make me feel a lot more chill about potential thunder stealing and less embarrassed about our 9 month late engagement party.

    The wording on gifts from uncles and cousins was more like, "Hey are you having an engagement party because if so we'll give you gifts then, if not we'll give you gifts now", so if people use that opportunity to give us gifts since they'll see us, fine, if they decide to forgo the engagement gift altogether, also fine.
    What about a couples shower (invite kids or don't, whatever)? If people give gifts anyway, this would take away  the awkwardness of an engagement party turned gifting event since gifts are normal at a shower.

    And really, I would not worry a wink about thunder stealing. 

    I mean, if people give gifts do we have to make a big deal out of it? Can't I just thank the gift giver and put it in the spare bedroom until the party is over, then open, appreciate, and send a thank you note? I def don't want to turn this casual summer barbecue into a "watch me open gifts" thing, especially when I don't even think everyone will bring one, and my mom plans to host a separate shower closer to the wedding.

    I don't want or need people to give gifts like, at all, I just know it's a bit of a thing for FI's fam. 
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited February 2
    If your parents choose to give you an engagement party, this is their choice.  The only rule is that everyone who is invited to the party, must also be invited to your ceremony and reception.  The only rules for an engagement party is that it NOT be given by the couple themselves.  Unless your party is scheduled for your cousins wedding day, it should not be an issue.  Gifts should not be discussed with you at all, but people will probably look at your wedding website for ideas.  The engagement party is not a gift giving occasion, but anyone can give you a gift at any time - party, or not.  You get to write the thank you notes.

    A bridal shower is a completely separate event from an engagement party.  The same rules apply that all guests to any pre-wedding events must be invited to the ceremony and reception.

    The hosts of your wedding invite your guests to your ceremony and reception following it.  You thank your guests for coming to your wedding at the reception and offer them food and drink.  This is the only requirement.

    All pre-wedding event guests must be invited to your ceremony and reception.
    Not all wedding guests need to be invited to all pre-wedding parties.

    Confusing?  I hope I helped.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg

  • After thinking about it I think I'm going to ask my mom if she would change the wording of this party to a "Meet the Family" party and invite whoever FMIL wants to invite to basically a shore cookout, and this will make me feel a lot more chill about potential thunder stealing and less embarrassed about our 9 month late engagement party.

    The wording on gifts from uncles and cousins was more like, "Hey are you having an engagement party because if so we'll give you gifts then, if not we'll give you gifts now", so if people use that opportunity to give us gifts since they'll see us, fine, if they decide to forgo the engagement gift altogether, also fine.
    I think this is a great idea! You’re not having the big engagement party his family expects anyway, and I agree it would be odd to have an engagement party so long after your engagement.

    Invite your fiancé’s family to your family’s cookout simply as a chance for everyone to get to know one another. Now that it’s not a Pre-Wedding Event you don’t have to worry about matching the guest lists.

    I dont forsee this being an issue with his cousin. No pressure, no competition. It’s cool.

    MandyMost
  • kahluakoalakahluakoala member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Second Anniversary First Answer
    edited February 2

    After thinking about it I think I'm going to ask my mom if she would change the wording of this party to a "Meet the Family" party and invite whoever FMIL wants to invite to basically a shore cookout, and this will make me feel a lot more chill about potential thunder stealing and less embarrassed about our 9 month late engagement party.

    The wording on gifts from uncles and cousins was more like, "Hey are you having an engagement party because if so we'll give you gifts then, if not we'll give you gifts now", so if people use that opportunity to give us gifts since they'll see us, fine, if they decide to forgo the engagement gift altogether, also fine.
    I think this is a great idea! You’re not having the big engagement party his family expects anyway, and I agree it would be odd to have an engagement party so long after your engagement.

    Invite your fiancé’s family to your family’s cookout simply as a chance for everyone to get to know one another. Now that it’s not a Pre-Wedding Event you don’t have to worry about matching the guest lists.

    I dont forsee this being an issue with his cousin. No pressure, no competition. It’s cool.

    Thanks! I think this is what I'm gonna do. The guest lists will match anyways - we're having a relatively large wedding and these parties tend to be mostly family. Only caveat is we're having a childfree wedding, but not a childfree cookout. Childfree weddings are common in my family, so I don't think this will cause friction. I provided all the detail about how engagement parties are perceived in his culture for some context on why this is such a thing. I think if anyone asks if we're having an engagement party in the future we can just be like, "no, but we're going to have a cookout at our shore house this summer for the families to meet in August. Hope you can come!". If people mentally file it as "basically an engagement party" or decide that's going to be their moment to give us a gift they're apparently itching to give, that's fine, but it'll take a little pressure off.
    mollybarker11short+sassyeileenrob
  • CMGragain said:
    If your parents choose to give you an engagement party, this is their choice.  The only rule is that everyone who is invited to the party, must also be invited to your ceremony and reception.  The only rules for an engagement party is that it NOT be given by the couple themselves.  Unless your party is scheduled for your cousins wedding day, it should not be an issue.  Gifts should not be discussed with you at all, but people will probably look at your wedding website for ideas.  The engagement party is not a gift giving occasion, but anyone can give you a gift at any time - party, or not.  You get to write the thank you notes.

    A bridal shower is a completely separate event from an engagement party.  The same rules apply that all guests to any pre-wedding events must be invited to the ceremony and reception.

    The hosts of your wedding invite your guests to your ceremony and reception following it.  You thank your guests for coming to your wedding at the reception and offer them food and drink.  This is the only requirement.

    All pre-wedding event guests must be invited to your ceremony and reception.
    Not all wedding guests need to be invited to all pre-wedding parties.

    Confusing?  I hope I helped.

    Got it - yeah all these pre-wedding parties are being hosted by other people. Our families are very enthusiastic about this. Agreed that I don't plan to discuss gifts with anyone, but will just have my wedding website up and running by that point in case anyone's curious. I would never bring a registry gift to an engagement party, but who knows. 

    Bridal shower will be completely separate - my mom plans to host one at a restaurant in Winter 2019 some time. I was responding to @southernbelle0915
    's suggestion of having this party be a couples shower. I would prefer not to make this august party about gifts in any way, and I think having a couples shower would mean I'd have to do a whole gift opening, whereas if we're just having a party and people bring gifts, we'll just thank them, open them later, and send a note. 

    Everyone who's invited to our family parties is invited to the wedding. Only exception is that we're having a childfree wedding but wont' be having a childfree BBQ or house party. I'm not sure if this is technically against etiquette, but childfree weddings are expected but it would be quite strange to exclude children from a family party. These are all young kids who I don't think will internalize anything.

  • After thinking about it I think I'm going to ask my mom if she would change the wording of this party to a "Meet the Family" party and invite whoever FMIL wants to invite to basically a shore cookout, and this will make me feel a lot more chill about potential thunder stealing and less embarrassed about our 9 month late engagement party.

    The wording on gifts from uncles and cousins was more like, "Hey are you having an engagement party because if so we'll give you gifts then, if not we'll give you gifts now", so if people use that opportunity to give us gifts since they'll see us, fine, if they decide to forgo the engagement gift altogether, also fine.
    I think this is a great idea! You’re not having the big engagement party his family expects anyway, and I agree it would be odd to have an engagement party so long after your engagement.

    Invite your fiancé’s family to your family’s cookout simply as a chance for everyone to get to know one another. Now that it’s not a Pre-Wedding Event you don’t have to worry about matching the guest lists.

    I dont forsee this being an issue with his cousin. No pressure, no competition. It’s cool.

    Thanks! I think this is what I'm gonna do. The guest lists will match anyways - we're having a relatively large wedding and these parties tend to be mostly family. Only caveat is we're having a childfree wedding, but not a childfree cookout. Childfree weddings are common in my family, so I don't think this will cause friction. I provided all the detail about how engagement parties are perceived in his culture for some context on why this is such a thing. I think if anyone asks if we're having an engagement party in the future we can just be like, "no, but we're going to have a cookout at our shore house this summer for the families to meet in August. Hope you can come!". If people mentally file it as "basically an engagement party" or decide that's going to be their moment to give us a gift they're apparently itching to give, that's fine, but it'll take a little pressure off.
    I really like this idea also!  Seems like it will be a win-win for everyone, for all the reasons you mentioned.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • O.k. my $.02 would be to have the BBQ in the fall around peak-colors instead since your wedding isn't until spring.    

    There isn't any thunder stealing, it's just EVERYONE is trying to get things in under the wire before school starts and with the wedding being the week later, you don't know how the recovery from the surgery will be (may be longer or shorter), fall is a good "middle ground" compromise since your wedding isn't until spring next year.  Plus it's a good "last hurrah" before the shore house gets winterized.  
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
    mollybarker11
  • Engagement parties happen within 2 months of the engagement, not 9 and not 11.  If you need to have an engagement party to satisfy your FILs, then schedule it for the week after Easter.  That will still be very late (4 months instead of 2), but you really can't let this go to August at all.  If your parents do not want to host a BBQ in April, then do something else.  And when you get to August, if you want to attend a BBQ at your parents' house the weekend before some other wedding, that's perfectly OK.
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