Celebration Advice: A Long Overdue Celebration

Every now and then, I get fun, interesting questions from people who are anticipating their celebrations.  Sometimes, when I answer these questions, I think- “Wow! someone could write an advice column about parties, weddings and creating personal celebrations!” Well, the other day, I realized that perhaps, at least occasionally, I could be that person!  Don’t worry, if you ask my advice, I’ll never publish it without your permission!


Hey Marilee,
My nephew and his wife just moved back to Madison. They are buying a house and wanted to know how to invite people to their house warming, and what’s the proper etiquette for letting people know where they are registered. They were married by a justice of the peace in TX and never had a reception, etc. So, they kind of want to combine the house warming/celebrate their marriage. They’ve been married a couple or more years. They got married just before she shipped out to Iraq. I’m working on them to use you as a celebration planner.

Aunt C


Dear C,
I’m so glad you wrote!

I think the first step is to be clear about what they’re celebrating. It sounds like they’re having a long overdue wedding reception in their new home, not really a housewarming. This should be clear at the beginning. If some guests understand they’re celebrating the wedding and others think they’re coming to a simple house warming, there will be some awkward moments. The guests who are celebrating the open house are likely to come with a bottle of wine or a nice candle which probably won’t even be wrapped. They’ll feel pretty schmucky as they watch other folks arrive with wedding gifts… talk about feeling out of the loop!

Given their circumstances, I would definitely use paper invitations. Invite guests to the celebration taking place in their first home together. Mention the wedding date and invite people to a long overdue celebration.

Gift registries should never be mentioned in the invitation- it’s one of the very few firm etiquette rules. They should tell their family and closer friends where they are registered. Those people can then “spread the word” The invitations can also direct guests to a website where they can include information about many things as well as the list of registries.

I would be delighted to work with them to create a lovely celebration. It sounds like they have many things to be joyful about!

-Marilee

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2 Responses to Celebration Advice: A Long Overdue Celebration
  1. nutshell catering
    March 31, 2011 | 2:48 pm

    Good advice! More people should be hip to not putting the registry information on the invitation. I think this piece of etiquette has been overlooked lately.

  2. Marilee
    March 31, 2011 | 3:12 pm

    Of course a lot of gift registries want to promote their registry service, so they sometimes give brides gift registry cards to include with their invitations! It can be a lot to figure out if you're new to wedding planning (as most brides are!)