What kind of wedding party can I host locally for my son’s out of town wedding?

At Home Wedding ReceptionDear Gwyn,

My son is moving to another satae and will be married in that state this fall. Prior to him moving, I wanted to have an engagement party/wedding shower for him and his bride to be. I want him to be able to celebrate wiht friends/family here who will not be able to attend the wedding in another state. I need to know how to “name” the celebration. I am worried that if I call it an engagement party instead of a wedding shower, that they will not receive any gits.  Help?

I think that it is very kind of you to think of your guests when you host a party so that they can celebrate your son’s wedding with peace of mind knowing the intention of the event.  Gifts are a grande tradition that help a couple start their life and homes together. However, we must not lose site that they are a “privilege” not a “right” of weddings. With that in mind, I will focus on the former part of your question which asks, what is the appropriate type of wedding party to celebrate my son’s wedding for guests who cannot attend the wedding?

In addition to a wedding ceremony and reception, there are three common wedding parties that surround a wedding. Each can be tailored to fit the bride and groom’s life and wishes, but at the hear they are intended to celebrate the couple in different ways.

Engagement Party: An engagement party is a wedding event intended to announce the news of a couple’s engagement and allow the couple’s parents to meet and guests to familiarize themselves with each other.

Wedding Shower or Bridal Shower: The focus of the wedding shower is traditionally to help the bride with the financial burden of a wedding, and more recently to help set up a home. Guests may select items from registry, but may also provide cash, or a gift tied to the wedding shower’s theme.

At-Home Reception: An at-home reception is typical for destination weddings. Often parents host an at-home reception as a compromise that allows a couple to have a small or destination wedding while still having the ability to invite their friends and family. An at-home reception most closely follows the outline of a traditional reception.

Based on your desire to invite friends and family who will not be able to attend the wedding, an at-home reception may be the best fit. In addition to including the event basics and, yes, a notecard with the registry information   You will of course need to be careful with the wording of your invitation as it is not traditional to host a reception prior to the wedding.

For more information on invitation wording and non-traditional wedding celebrations, please refer to the following:

How to Host a Shower before a Destination Wedding and At Home Reception

How do I invite guests requesting “ceremony only” wedding invitations?

How Do We Let Wedding Guests Know that this is the Only Event?