I’ll cut right to the chase with the thesis of this post: how do you invite people to an informal, no-gifts engagement party and convince them that you really mean informal and no-gifts?
My fiance and I are planning an engagement party for next month, and we would like it to be exactly that. No big hoopla, no gifts, don’t bother flying across the country for it, just if you happen to be in town and free that night, come hang out with us and celebrate. We’re trying to get invitations (evites) out this week, and we’ve run into so many problems.
1) Can we invite people that may not be invited to the wedding?
Everything we read says that you should only invite people who will be invited to your wedding. But our wedding is still over a year away and we don’t know the venue yet, so we have no idea who is going to be on our guest list. Our rationale is that since the engagement party will be informal and we’re asking people to not bring gifts, we should be able to invite everyone.
2) Should we invite out-of-towners?
We are planning our engagement party to be so informal that it seems ludicrous to ask anyone to pay for a plane ticket to come. I don’t want an invitation to make our out-of-town relatives feel like they have any obligation to come, but I also don’t want to hurt their feelings by not inviting them. I think the right strategy here is to send them an invite, but make it abundantly clear that while we would love their company, we do not expect anyone to fly across the country for this. I’ve been mulling over how exactly to phrase that sentiment, and nothing sounds quite right to me.
3) Should we register somewhere even though we don’t want gifts?
Some of our friends told us that even though we stipulate no gifts, some people will want to bring gifts anyway, and out-of-towners will want to send gifts. (That’s another reason I’m hesitant to invite out-of-towners; I don’t want them to feel like if they can’t come, they should send a gift.) I don’t want the presence of a registry to cause anyone who would not otherwise have bought us a gift to buy us something. I worry that registering somewhere sends the message that we’re just trying to be polite by saying no gifts, but we really do want you to get us something.