This Is One Wedding Etiquette Rule You Absolutely Cannot Break
The rules of wedding etiquette are constantly changing, making it difficult for modern brides, grooms and guests to find up-to-date and correct information. That’s why we launched #MannersMondays, a weekly series in which we ask our followers on Twitter and Facebook to submit their most burning etiquette-related questions. Then, with the help of our team of etiquette experts, we get you the right answers to your biggest Big Day dilemmas. Check out this week’s question below!
Is it okay to invite a friend to the engagement party, and not the wedding?
Anna Post — great-great-granddaughter of etiquette guru Emily Post and author ofEmily Post’s Wedding Etiquette — is here to help us answer this week’s question. Find out what she had to say below:
There are few ironclad “rules” about wedding etiquette: 1) guests send a wedding gift; 2) couples thank guests for gifts with handwritten notes; 3) couples thank every guest in person at the wedding for attending; 4) couples make guests comfortable; 5) guests respect the wishes and customs of the bride and groom. And… anyone invited to a pre-wedding party must be invited to the wedding itself. There is no gracious way to ask someone to help you get ready for something that they won’t participate in — it’s like pulling the rug out from under them.
This goes for all pre-wedding parties: engagement parties, showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties, the rehearsal dinner or any other party thrown by you or anyone else on your behalf to celebrate the upcoming wedding. This rule also applies to anyone who receives a save-the-date, as there is no way to “uninvite” a guest. (Note: Office showers are an exception to the rule. You do not need to invite colleagues who attend a work shower thrown on your behalf.)
Because of this, the invitation lists for any pre-wedding parties are usually on the intimate side, and should be checked with the bride and groom. The couple may not yet know their full guest list at the time of the party, so keep the guest list for these affairs limited to those you are certain will be invited to the wedding. It’s also the reason why surprise showers and bachelor/bachelorette parties can backfire — because they obligate the couple to invite guests they weren’t planning on accommodating. Hosts of surprise parties should always check their guest list with someone who knows the couple and their guest list well, such as their parents or someone in the wedding party.
It may seem easy to have a huge engagement party to celebrate, fully intending to invite everyone to the wedding. But budgets and venue restrictions can bring limits you may not have foreseen. The good news: Any and all pre-wedding parties are made even more special when the guest list is more intimate, and the larger guest list won’t have wedding fatigue by the time the Big Day rolls around.