Recently on HuffPo, we spied this etiquette question: “Only immediate family is invited to our wedding. Are announcements okay? Or is that looking for a gift?”
I was thinking to myself, Well no, you had a teeny wedding, an announcement seems appropriate, there—and then I read the first line of the answer, from Anna Post (great-great granddaughter of Emily, of course):
- It’s fine to send wedding announcements to anyone you’d like, no matter the size of the wedding.
She goes on to elaborate on how you can send a wedding announcement to anyone who wasn’t on the guest list—”extended family, friends, neighbors or business colleagues”—and how there’s no need to worry that it comes off as gift-grubbing, since there is never any obligation to send/give a wedding gift at all, whether you receive an invitation to the actual event, or simply notice of its happening.
On the grounds of etiquette alone, I don’t necessarily disagree—it’s true, the etiquette is that your guests’ presence is all you’re requesting when you ask them to join you on that day, and that, if they should happen to appear with a roasting pan in hand, that is a bonus. And I do agree with that etiquette. But I feel like that’s all kind of technical. I just don’t think that in the real world, in real practice, sending a wedding announcements no matter the situation is always the best move.
I checked in with veteran Philly wedding planner Gina Sole to see what her real-talk thoughts were on the topic, and she expressed similar sentiments. “If the couple runs to City Hall, to the justice of the peace, or has a small destination wedding, then they should certainly send an announcement—it’s a sweet gesture,” she says. But if you have a more traditional wedding, in your hometown, with a large, three-digit guest list? “For the bride who threw a lavish wedding to send a wedding announcement to only those who were not invited … Well, that might be a hard pill to swallow.”
Whether or not it specifically comes off as gift-grubbing is a little bit besides the point, though certainly, to some recipients, it would—it’s more just that if you had a large, traditional, not-under-the-radar wedding, it’s unnecessary, and why risk putting someone off or directly hurting their feelings when they can just as easily hear through the grapevine that you’ve tied the knot, or see your wedding picture on your holiday card? (Which, by the way, Sole and I agree, is a great way in this day and age to both celebrate and “announce” your nuptials to your entire circle.)
If you love the idea of doing something to officially declare your union though, there’s always the classic newspaper announcement, says Sole. “For brides who love a formal announcement, we’ll do one in either the social section of the New York Times, or the Philadelphia Inquirer.” That’s a shout-it-from-the-rooftops-moment you can keep—and show your grandkids—for all time.