Thursday, August 12, 2010

on engagement party etiquette and telling Bridezilla to STFU

Dear ESB,

One of my best girlfriends got roped into being a bridesmaid for a "friend" of ours from college. Let's be honest - they aren't that great of friends, but what could she do? Anyways Bridezilla is the definition of tactless. The wedding is 15 months away - and they've already been engaged for the last 6 months. so a 21 month engagement, yet they act as if the wedding is next month - meaning endless facebook updates, tweets, and TWO blogs outlining every detail of the whole affair - down to the budget. Mind you these two are only 23 yrs old, fresh out of college, and have no reason to rush down the aisle besides wanting to be the first to do so. They already live together, so it's not a religious or family issue.

Anyways, despite already having 2 engagement parties planned she wants the bridesmaids to throw a third engagement party in NYC - where we all went to college. However, the couple isn't inviting any college friends to the wedding due to their meager budget, yet they want them at this engagement party. How can my friend, the bridesmaid, tell Bridezilla that 1) it isn't appropriate to invite friends to the engagement party and leave them off the wedding guest list and 2) to stop with the online on-slaught of personal info regarding the wedding?

I'd love to just tell her to just STFU but it's not really my place. Am I the only person who cares about etiquette anymore?




You're not the only person who cares about etiquette. But you need to join the 21st century.

According to Martha Stewart, the traditional rules of etiquette, which used to dictate that all the guests invited to the engagement party be invited to the wedding, no longer apply. Martha says "because so many people have very small weddings or hold their ceremonies far from friends and sometimes even from family, the engagement party often includes people who may not be invited to the eventual wedding."

Stop hating on the poor couple because they have a tiny budget! By throwing this third engagement party, they're actually trying to include their friends who aren't invited to the wedding. (Though I do think it's tacky to ask the bridesmaids to throw the party. Why doesn't Bridezilla throw her own damn third engagement party?)

Which brings me to: The Online Onslaught. Is it really your friend the bridesmaid who is so bothered by the barrage of information, or is it you?

Why don't you just unfollow Bridezilla on Twitter? (I do it ALL. THE. TIME.) And "unfriend" her, or whatever the Facebook lingo is. Nobody is forcing you to read her updates.

(Photo by Andrea Spotorno for Ten Magazine via Vain and Vapid)


  1. I don't agree with this advice at all.

  2. I totally agree.

    But- it IS annoying to see ultrasounds and read about mom-to-be incontinence in my newsfeed, it's not like I'm looking for mommyblogs- so I try to keep wedding stuff off of FB. If someone WANTS to read about it they're welcome to find it in an appropriate space.

    And there is no good way to tell her that.

  3. Totally with the advice, the poor woman hasn't clamped anyone to a chair with eyes propped open with matchsticks forcing anyone to read her blog (if she has, it's not esb you should be emailing (or is it...?)) And it's never inappropriate to invite someone to a party, imho, what if the NYC friends were all like "ok, so I'm not invited to the wedding cos it's small and she's poor, but surely I could've been asked to the engagement party?"

  4. a) you quoted martha; i feel confused and ashamed, like someone caught reading an urban outfitters catalog and

    b) grown-ass adults need to stop throwing parties for themselves and/or expecting people to throw parties for them. overseas, it's common to take your friends out to dinner on YOUR birthday, which is generous and classy; stateside i'm starting to feel embarrassed for people who need multiple showers, gigantic non-milestone birthdays, engagement parties, what have you. i put little stock in Etiquette with a capital E; i do think most people could be considerably less grabby.

    that said, i think the updates and websites are bridey's prerogative. those are things the unenthused can, as noted, ignore.

  5. Lauren you are my new hero with that letter b)

  6. "They have no reason to rush down the aisle"

    Well. They wanna get married. Does ANYONE have to rush down the aisle?

  7. tired of the zillions of parties that accompany weddings.

  8. Hopefully she'll put as much energy into paging through her divorce papers as she is her wedding blog. Probably not, though.

  9. i love the martha reference, mind you - she's my sock-animal-making yoda - i just wasn't expecting it.

  10. I rushed down the aisle for no reason other than I wanted to be married to my husband.

  11. I see no problem with throwing the engagement party(ies) IF:
    1. They don't put the pressure on others to do it (if others WANT to do it, different story); and
    2. They aren't actively soliciting gifts (again, if attendees WANT to give a gift, that's nice - but not required).

  12. I agree completely with this advice. Budgets are not tailored to what other people want; they are practical limits, so calm down.

  13. hi hi!

    i just stumbled upon your sweet sweet blog via my best friend lily's blog (bigbang) and it's lovely! i look forward to following your adventures in the future! xo, kate

  14. Totally disagree with you and Martha, ESB. If I were invited to an engagement party, then not the wedding over a year later, I would feel totally snubbed. I know people who have invited people to their stag/hen dos who aren't invited to the wedding too, and I think that's equally rude.

    Having said that, I don't think it's FUNYC's place to tell the bride this. If her friend wants to warn her she might offend people, that's her business, and she should do it gently. Without calling her Bridezilla, ffs.

    I agree she should stop dissing her friend for the small budget, and just ignore the online onslaught. We can't tell people not to write their boring blogs/facebook/twitterstreams. Like you said, no one's forcing anyone to read them.

  15. P.S. I should mention I'm biased, because I hate engagement parties. Let the wedding be enough for you. And with the money spent on throwing three of them, you could probably include the other friends in the wedding anyway.

  16. Wow, so many party haters?? Maybe my friend's and I just like to get loose... but it seems that we throw a party for no reason and the wedding has just given us heaps of real reasons.

  17. Have to say I agree with Cate. Some friends of ours invited us to their engagement party last year but no invite to the wedding. They are having a large traditional English wedding. I didn't want to feel snubbed, but I did. (although thankful that I didn't have to shell out for a present and a hotel for the third time this summer, I suppose).

    Maybe FUNYC could style her party as a wedding celebration/party for those that she just can't invite to the wedding.

  18. i like parties. i have them for ridiculous reasons.

    i don't like GIVE ME A GIFT parties. which are often called, "engagement parties" and "bridal showers" and "lingerie parties."

  19. ESB, if she unfriends / untwitters the bride she'll have nothing to bitch about ! AND THAT WOULD BE NO FUN AT ALL !!!

  20. I think I would be offended if I were invited to the engagement party and not the wedding...not because of etiquette or rules, but genuinely because I would feel left out. It would be apparent to me what number I rate in her friendship order. I would also feel like she was a bit greedy to want a party thrown in her honor for LOTS of us, but she doesn't want to be generous in return and invite people to her party. Small budget or not, it's a question of taste. Bit I'm old, I got married a heft 15 years ago, so what do I know?

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. we threw our own engagement party AND and paid for it AND there were no gifts. isn't that how it's supposed to work? isn't it more of a celebratory thing than a gift thing? i also threw my own shower because i didn't think anyone else could "do it right"... but those are my own unfortunate issues.

    anyway, who cares what this crazy bride is doing? YOU'RE not her bridesmaid, and i'm sorry, but NO ONE gets "roped into" being one. if your friend is bothered by these shenanigans as much as you are, she can very graciously bow out. who can argue with, "i've been going over what this is going to cost me and as much as i would love to be your bridesmaid, it's just not financially feasible for me right now"?

  23. If you're going to quote someone on etiquette, shouldn't it be Miss Manners over Martha?

    To paraphrase from "Perfectly Dignified Wedding": Yes, the "bridezilla" is being ridiculous with the constant tweets, etc... people will get bored fast; you won't be the only one defriending her on Facebook.

    She's also being insufferable on two levels by a) asking her bridesmaids to throw her b) "bring me a gift" parties. Whether or not a bride should be inviting non-wedding guests to engagement parties should be a non-issue... because she shouldn't have anything to do with planning engagement parties in the first place! (Unless the couple are the ones hosting the party and no gifts are expected, like in Celia's comment above. In that case, invite whoever you like.)

    Miss Manners says there's no obligation for anyone to attend "bring me a gift" parties. If you decide not to come, decline politely -- in writing -- and send your best wishes.

    But... she also frowns on people scolding excited, happy engaged couples about their breaches of etiquette.

    So like ESB says: Don't scold. Just decline the invitation and ignore the constant online self-promotion.

  24. @ lauren - i'm with you - who knew that esb was secretly studying martha? shocked.

    @ celia - exactly what i was going to say. adults don't get roped into being bridesmaids. they politely and regretfully decline if they don't want to do it.

    re: engagement parties for people who aren't invited to the wedding. i would probably enjoy attending one IF it were made clear that i was being invited to it in lieu of the wedding, due to budget constraints and IF the focus was on having an awesome time celebrating together, rather than on opening gifts. also, throw it yourself. no one should ever be coerced into throwing a party that you want.

  25. we just recently had an engagement party for my brother in law & fiance for that exact reason...a small family only wedding. We included a little note in the party invite explaining "small wedding...we want to celebrate with you anyway..." it was well received and really fun. People appreciated that we went through the trouble of having a separate party for those who couldn't be included.
    Martha rules. She is well versed in older etiquette, but has been in the current market long enough to help contribute to more modern etiquette issues.

  26. I'm so into the debate here! Call me old school, but my feeling is that you should only have an engagement party if someone offers to throw you one out of the goodness of her heart and because she loves you. You should not, under any circumstances, ask someone to throw one for you, or throw one for yourself (unless you want everyone to think you're a douche). Same with bridal showers. And I think it's perfectly fine to go to an engagement party without a gift (in fact I don't even really think of engagement parties as a gift-giving occasion since everyone is going to fork over a gift for the wedding itself), or to bring a small token of affection to a bridal shower instead of something expensive off the registry.

    Inviting people to your engagement party but not your wedding is tricky business. Martha may say it's OK, but I think it hurts people's feelings.

  27. FUNYC here!

    Thanks for all the responses, after reading everything I realized I'm probably the one that needs to STFU. srsly. Anyone else find yourself getting worked up about shit you shouldn't waste your time on?

    Anyways, I'm glad most people are in agreement that it is tacky to DEMAND your bridesmaids throw you an engagement party (especially your 22 yr old, broke, bridesmaids). I think it'd be a great idea if the couple said to their friends "listen we're having a small wedding but we want to celebrate with you anyway" then it'd be understood that they genuinely want everyone to be involved in the wedding - and not just another excuse to be all "lookatmelookatme I'm getting MARRIED!!!!!!!!!!!!".

    But in all seriousness - to each their own.

  28. @Kate, "sweet sweet" "lovely" "adventures"... have you been reading some alternate ESB?

  29. @Modelmental I resent that. I occasionally "adventure" out of the house to find gummy worms.