Pre-wedding Parties

Engagement Party Guest List Etiquette

My fiancee and I would like to have a big engagement party to celebrate with everyone since we're having a relatively small wedding. All of the info on etiquette I've read says that we shouldn't invite anyone to the engagement party who isn't invited to the wedding. I can see that, but I feel like if we worded it that way then guests would understand. The party, an informal BBQ, would be a little more than a year before the wedding and I don't feel the people we aren't as close with will be waiting a year to see when their invitations to the wedding arrive. What do you think?

Re: Engagement Party Guest List Etiquette

  • banana468banana468 member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    There's a reason this is inappropriate etiquette.

    It's also inappropriate etiquette to host your own engagement party at all.

    Have a BBQ for the sake of having a get together.  But don't throw any party in honor of yourself.

    And anyone invited to ANY pre-wedding function (engagement party, shower, or bachelor/bachelorette) needs to be invited to the wedding itself.  That they may be far apart in time is no excuse to throw etiquette to the wind.
  • NAClarkNAClark member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I don't agree - since gifts aren't really customary at engagement parties, I think it is fine to throw one for yourself. We did. We provided food and drinks, people came and had a great time. No one brought gifts, except for the odd bottle of wine here or there. We just saw this as a great way to celebrate and bring together our families, without imposing on someone else to do this for us.

    As for the invite situation, I think judge it by the people. I think it would be all right if they are people such as work friends, where there is an implicit understanding that you won't be able to invite your entire office to the wedding but you still want to celebrate with them. If it is far-flung relatives or maybe more distant friends, I would be more careful. They might expect a wedding invite after the engagement party invite.
  • SmollenLoveSmollenLove member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Banana468: My aunt and uncle are hosting it at their house and offered to do that for us, so we're not throwing it for ourselves.

    NAClark: Thanks, that's what I was thinking - Judge on a person-by-person basis. Work friends are exactly what I had in mind. Sounds like you had a really nice party!
  • edited December 2011
    I think it would be all right if they are people such as work friends, where there is an implicit understanding that you won't be able to invite your entire office to the wedding but you still want to celebrate with them.

    If you want to celebrate with them, invite them to the WEDDING. Yes, weddings are more expensive than engagement parties. But this is telling the guest, "Well, we'll buy beer and hot dogs for you, but the plated dinner? That's reserved for only the super special people."
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  • banana468banana468 member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    Ditto msmery.  No, there is NO exception to the rule even if you think there is.


    And if you do this to your coworkers, it's almost worse.  Because then you'll have been rather rude to the people that you see EVERY day and these people make or break your professional careers. 
  • NAClarkNAClark member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I think grey areas do exist - even in the world of etiquette. For example, I know many people whose co-workers throw them wedding showers and even buy them gifts, all the while never expecting a wedding invitation. And you know why? because they are real people who realize that it is often impossible to invite all your coworkers to a wedding but yet they still want to celebrate with you. In this instance, gifts are not even part of the celebration. So you are just providing them with a meal and a fun party! I sure wouldn't be insulted by that!
  • banana468banana468 member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    It's totally different if the coworkers THEMSELVES get together to throw a shower with JUST coworkers for the bride.

    This isn't what the OP proposes.  She wants to mix social groups at the engagement party with only some being invited to the wedding.  That's not OK at all. 

    That you wouldn't be insulted does not mean that it's appropriate or a good idea.  It's still rude.
  • ecuchikaecuchika member
    500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I still learning about etiquette but for me personally if I was to have an engagement party in the city I work I would invite co-workers but they won't be seeing an invite BECAUSE I am not geting married anywhere near this city and I have asked a few select ones if they would be able to make it down for my wedding (the ones I would want to come if any came at all to the wedding) and the travel it just too far for a wedding.  Even the ones I really wouldn't want to come have made comments about it being too far away etc.  I'm not having a DW but I think if you were having a DW or a wedding thats far away from where you work you could have an engagement party with non-wedding invited guests.  You could also tell them if this is true your wedding will be very small with just parents and immediate family members; or we are having a DW out of the country/state whatever. We are so caught up on etiquette for weddings but before engagement or after the wedding no one really gives it a 2nd thought.  And I could honestly tell you that most of people (minus the ones who are engaged or newlyweds) won't know any better.  How many things have you found out to be etiquette that were shocking to you since you have be planning?  But I would be careful with whom you invite since you may give certain people the wrong impression.
  • banana468banana468 member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    Etiquette exists for EVERY DAY use.

    And people will remember if you were rude before, during or after your wedding.  Being ignorant of what is appropriate is no excuse to do what isn't.
  • xoxobxoxob member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    1. ABSOLUTELY IT IS NOT OK to invite people to your engagement party who aren't invited to your wedding. That just opens a huge can of worms. What wording were your planning to use on the invitation: Please come celebrate our engagement. We appreciate it. FYI you are not invited to our wedding. So not cool.

    2. We are throwing our own engagement party. We are specifying not to bring gifts. And it is merely a sit down dinner for our sets of parents, and to officially anounce our bridal party. We're doing this a year before the wedding and we are only inviting family, WP and their S/Os. INHP the only reason it's a "party" is because there will be dinner and booze.
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