While we dish about the hottest trends and latest designs, we also know how stressful prepping for the big day can be. Meet Etta, our expert in all things etiquette. She’s ready to delve into your every dilemma.
My husband and I have a very large group of friends that have been a part of my son’s life, and we want to have a celebration before the destination wedding (definitely not after). We are inviting all the people that will be invited to the destination wedding, plus all our other close friends. What do I call this type of celebration? And do I have to state “no gifts’? Should I stick an insert with the invitation explaining that we are having a small destination affair?
Thanks for writing in, Debbie.
Holding an “at-home” or local celebration is quite common for couples who chose to have a destination wedding. But usually these receptions take place two to six weeks after the marriage ceremony (and thus celebrate the newlyweds).
With no marriage completed, hosting a wedding reception may be a bit misleading for your guests, particularly since the ceremony will still be over half a year away.
Since you are planning the celebration prior to the destination wedding, I suggest that you host a send-off celebration for the engaged couple. I also recommend that your celebration be a casual affair – which it sounds like you are planning.
An engagement party invitation or couples shower invitation can easily be modified to fit this unique celebration. Simply alter the wording along these lines: “Please join us to celebrate the upcoming marriage, and send off the happy couple with your best wishes.”
It can feel awkward to host a second reception, when attendees have not been invited to the destination ceremony. But remember that you are making an effort to include all loved ones in the celebration of your son’s marriage. It is widely understood that destination weddings are smaller, more intimate events – and your guests will be happy to be included in this larger celebration.
Formal etiquette calls for no mention of gifts on the invitation, even in the case of requesting no gifts. It is appropriate, however, for you to share this information yourself, in casual conversation.
If you do hold the reception after the wedding, a wonderful way to notify guests is through a wedding announcement, along with a photograph from the destination wedding, which requests their attendance at the reception.
I hope this helps, Debbie!
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