Hello lovely ladies (and gents!). We’re back with another installment of Etiquette with Emily. First, I just have to say y’all are fantastic! When I asked for your thoughts two weeks ago on my engagement party guest list conundrum, you delivered like no other – over 35 responses! The consensus seemed to be that the best option was to hold a more generic holiday party, but to let people know (if they ask!) that Kate + Cormac will be in attendance. This way, they’ll get to celebrate with friends and family, but without the pressure of save-the-dates hanging over their heads all night. Thanks again for all of your great input – I loved reading your thoughts!
But on to this week. Today’s question comes from our very own Katharine! Like our last question, it, too, concerns guest lists (aren’t they difficult?), but this time, it’s the list for the actual wedding she’s wondering about.
Here’s the deal. Katharine is not engaged (yet!), but she’s already looking ahead to the near future, when she will be. (Side note: can you blame her?! We work at a wedding magazine!) In an ideal world, Katharine and Kyle would prefer to have a small wedding (let’s say thirty or so people). This is not always an ideal world, however, and a small wedding is just not in the cards for these two families.
The next problem? Kyle’s family is, like, five times larger than Katharine’s. For serious. Kyle’s family also feels strongly about inviting the entire extended clan. Katharine’s worry? That her family will feel like guests at the Gibler family reunion. Another complication? Katharine’s family is pretty traditional (three cheers for Virginians!), and plans to pay for most of the festivities… festivities that will be large (and expensive!) mainly because of the groom’s extended family.
So her question: Can the available spots on the guest list be split equally between the two sides, or should Kyle’s side be given more slots since it’s larger? Does the guest list split (or the size of the wedding) depend at all on who’s footing the bill?
Unfortunately, all Ms. Post gives us on the subject is this:
“Traditionally, the guest list was divided equally between the bride’s and groom’s families and friends, but this is no longer considered necessary. Everyone must keep in mind whose wedding it is. Certainly the bride and groom will seek input from their families, but it’s up to the couple to make the final choices. If everyone is willing to be tactful and accommodating, the process should proceed without too much fuss.” (Emily Post’s Etiquette, 17th Edition, page 572)
So what do you think? Please share!
Have an etiquette conundrum you’d like us to take a stab at? Email me at emily [at] iloveswmag [dot] com (or click here!).
Welcome back to Southern Etiquette! To recap, my first column addressed a contentious issue which y’all responded quite passionately to: wearing white to a wedding. The consensus seemed to be that it was stylish to dress your bridal party in shades of white and cream, but that to be safe, it was better to steer clear of white clothing as a guest. Check out the debate here.
But on to our next topic: the engagement party guest list. My older sister recently got engaged (YAY!). As I’m sure you can guess, this is VERY exciting to me. She and her now-fiance are planning an August 2010 wedding on the coast of Maine. They live in the Midwest; my family lives on the East Coast; and his family lives on the West Coast. K+C will be heading East for the Christmas holidays, and my parents are thinking of throwing them an engagement party. Lots of our family friends are eager to see and congratulate them, and (as my Mom says) the house will already be dressed for Christmas, so why not?
The only problem? Not everyone invited to this supposed engagement party will be invited to the wedding, because K+C are planning a relatively small shindig (on an island, remember?). Emily Post says in no uncertain terms that this is not okay:
“Generally the guest list is limited to the couple’s relatives and good friends. It can be as short or as lengthy as you want — and can comfortably accommodate. However, it’s poor taste to invite anyone to an engagement party who will not be on the wedding guest list.”
I certainly don’t want to be thought of as having poor taste, but it seems to me that maybe this isn’t as big of a deal as Ms. Post seems to think it is?
So, dear readers, help a girl out. (Well, really you’re helping a girl’s Mom out. Hi, Mom!) What do you think? Would it be an etiquette faux pas to invite those to an engagement party that aren’t invited to the wedding? Sound off below!
Images in header c/o Millie Holloman