My husband and I attended a lovely engagement party that was over-the-top from the thick paper invitation and valet parking, to the excellent canapés that served as our supper. The cocktail party, with well over a hundred well-heeled guests, was at the house of the groom’s uncle, whose name was listed on the invitation, along with his wife’s, as the only hosts.
Here is our dilemma. We had never met the hosts before but we are very good friends with the groom’s parents. We believe we would have never been invited to the party, if we hadn’t known the groom’s parents. Do we send a thank-you note to the bride and groom, whom we know only slightly, to the groom’s parents whom we know well, or to the hosts whom we didn’t know and don’t expect to ever see again?
–Nicole, Matapoisett, MA
Traditionally — and people rarely give a fig about tradition any more — the engagement party was to introduce guests, who will be invited to the wedding, to the bride or groom, their families and friends.
- In the past you would only invite guests to the engagement party who were actually being invited to the wedding.
- These days it is more than likely that the engagement party includes many who will NOT be invited to the wedding.
Nowadays, young people tend to leave the proverbial home front for more lucrative careers, and thus do not so much find a mate in their family home town; the actual wedding may take place far from either the groom’s or bride’s family residence.
The engagement party has become perhaps the only opportunity for the parents of the soon-to-be-wed couple to introduce their off-spring’s soon- to-be-spouse to their friends and family.
- With destination wedding cost prohibitive to many, and travel in general complicated and expensive, the engagement party may be for many the only time to meet and celebrate the wedding couple.
Sending the bride and groom an engagement present from their bridal registry (which can be found online or through the parents), would be the kindest way to reciprocate.
In conversation or in an email, tell the groom’s parents how much you enjoyed the party, etc., but a good guest would also send a short handwritten thank-you note to the hosts — the uncle and aunt. By doing that your friends, the groom’s parents, will be elevated in the eyes of the hosts.
- Don’t expect an invitation to the wedding, so you won’t be sending an actual wedding present in reciprocation for attending the ceremony and reception.
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Accepting A Compliment