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Etiquette

Engagement Party List

I've been lurking for a while and just got engaged this weekend. I have learned SO much from you all, so thanks!

One thing I am not quite clear on: I know that everyone who gets a Save the Date gets an invite, and everyone invited to a pre-wedding party should also be invited to the wedding, but I have seen engagement parties treated two different ways. Do people invited to an engagement party have to be invited to the wedding? We haven't determined a guest list for the wedding itself, and that planning may be a ways down the road. So, what says etiquette in regards to engagement party invites?

Re: Engagement Party List

  • IMathlete said:
    I've been lurking for a while and just got engaged this weekend. I have learned SO much from you all, so thanks!

    One thing I am not quite clear on: I know that everyone who gets a Save the Date gets an invite, and everyone invited to a pre-wedding party should also be invited to the wedding, but I have seen engagement parties treated two different ways. Do people invited to an engagement party have to be invited to the wedding? Yes - an engagement party is a "pre-wedding party" and, just like a shower, these guests must be invited to the wedding. We haven't determined a guest list for the wedding itself, and that planning may be a ways down the road. So, what says etiquette in regards to engagement party invites? 
    Congratulations on your engagement!!

    Engagement parties should be thrown no later than 3 months after the engagement, so yours shouldn't take place after about January 20th. Since everyone who is invited to pre-wedding parties must be invited to the wedding, you need to ensure anyone invited has a spot on your guest list.

    My advice would be to go about it one of two ways - 1) only invite your VIPs (family/friends you know - without a doubt - will be invited); or 2) decline the offer and don't have an engagement party. Just because someone offered to throw you one (obviously you can't throw your own - just like a shower), doesn't mean you have to accept. I was in the same position when I got engaged. No idea what kind of wedding/how big we wanted it. So we declined people's offers to host it. It was no big deal.
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    doeydo
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    IMathlete said:
    I've been lurking for a while and just got engaged this weekend. I have learned SO much from you all, so thanks!

    One thing I am not quite clear on: I know that everyone who gets a Save the Date gets an invite, and everyone invited to a pre-wedding party should also be invited to the wedding, but I have seen engagement parties treated two different ways. Do people invited to an engagement party have to be invited to the wedding? We haven't determined a guest list for the wedding itself, and that planning may be a ways down the road. So, what says etiquette in regards to engagement party invites?
    Engagement parties are just like any other pre-wedding party meaning that everyone invited must also be invited to the wedding. Also, you should never throw your own engagement party, it is thrown by someone else as a gift. If you aren't sure about who will be invited to the wedding (and someone has offered to throw you one) keep the engagement party list small to the people you are 100% sure be invited to the wedding. Otherwise, I would decline the offer of an engagement party if you really cannot say with certainty that you will invite everyone to the wedding.
    doeydo
  • People invited to the engagement party need to be invited to the wedding. 

    Who is hosting your party? It shouldn't be you. 

    doeydo
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    PPs are right. If you invite them to the engagement party, you have to invite them to the wedding. 

  • Thanks, everyone. No, I have no intention of hosting our own party. If no one offers, we obviously won't be having one, but I wanted to clarify this question so that *if* the offer was extended I would know how to approach it. Jumping the gun perhaps, but we won't be asking anyone to do it for us. Thanks again!
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    In my mind if an engagement party is a must for the couple (obviously offered by someone else) then the guest list should be kept to very close family and friends.  People you 100% know that you will invite to your wedding down the road.  Do not make a guest list that includes 3rd cousin Charlie that you haven't seen in 10 years and all of your co-workers.

  • Good point, Maggie. I haven't experienced many engagement parties, and the one I recently attended was quite the lavish affair, with a guest list that I assume covered most of the guest list. A smaller, intimate affair makes more sense!
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    IMathlete said:
    Good point, Maggie. I haven't experienced many engagement parties, and the one I recently attended was quite the lavish affair, with a guest list that I assume covered most of the guest list. A smaller, intimate affair makes more sense!
    Yeah I really don't get the point of engagement parties like this.  Why not just get married during it then?  But then again, I really don't see the point in engagement parties, period.

    [Deleted User]
  • I don't really understand engagement parties either, but if they are pretty common in your circle it's good to be prepared.



    PPs have it right, engagement party guests need to be invited to the wedding. The exception would be if you are thrown a surprise one or otherwise had no say in the guest list, and it's still rude it's just the host that's rude instead of you.
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    My cousin is having an engagement party next month. I suspect the reasoning is because they're not getting married until 2015. 

  • Traditionally, engagement parties are held so that there will be a social occasion at which to announce the engagement. That means that the invitations and pre-party arrangements do not make any mention of the type of party it is: it looks like a simple hospitable party being held just because the hostess wants to be generous with her food and entertainment -- and as a result there is no risk of it being gift-grabby or attention-seeking, because the engagement doesn't even get mentioned except for a two-minute period at the height of the evening when the host takes the microphone to announce the engagement, and everyone claps, and then goes back to whatever they were doing.

    As such this kind of engagement party doesn't count as a pre-wedding party and incurs no obligation (in fact there are very few actual "pre-wedding parties" -- that's largely a construct of the modern wedding industry's hope that you will turn every moment of the next year or two into a major expensive pageant. You can have lots of parties during the course of your engagement just to be hospitable, and only the most decadent understanding of "etiquette" would argue against generosity and hospitality!), and as long as the couple do not try to treat themselves as their own guests of honour they can quite properly give such a party themselves. Offering hospitality, food and entertainment is never in and of itself impolite.

    The other kind of traditional engagement party, is the get-to-know-each-other's-family type of event, which is usually a more casual family-only party. In that case it's quite reasonable that you would invite all the guests to the wedding: not because this party is part of an extended pageant, but because it is their closeness to you that got them invited to the party in the first place.

     

  • The other kind of traditional engagement party, is the get-to-know-each-other's-family type of event, which is usually a more casual family-only party. In that case it's quite reasonable that you would invite all the guests to the wedding: not because this party is part of an extended pageant, but because it is their closeness to you that got them invited to the party in the first place.


    This is the kind of engagement party we had, and we threw it ourselves. We just wanted our families to get to know each other a little better, and we were also excited about our engagement and wanted to have a fun party with our closest friends/family! It wasn't a gift grab at all--in fact, we got a couple sweet cards, and also a plant that had a story behind it from one person, which was really sweet. 

    In our situation, it was clear no one was going to throw us an engagement party. My family is totally broke, and his family is pretty socially awkward and has never thrown a party of any kind as far as I can tell, save for having the immediate relatives over for a Sunday dinner on occasion. Also, both families live in opposite directions, and we're basically in the middle. I would have loved someone to throw us a party at a bar/restaurant, but since that wasn't going to happen we decided to just have a party ourselves at our house. To us, it seemed no different than when we had a housewarming party or a Christmas party or something--we invited people over, and we hosted them properly, and they were happy to celebrate our good news (same as a house warming). 
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