Wedding Announcement Etiquette -- how should I handle this?

I’ve searched the etiquette sites, and I can’t seem to find the advice I need. So I appeal to y’all…

I’m engaged, and we’re planning to go to the courthouse sometime around the end of July – no traditional ceremony, just a judge and a couple of witnesses. We’re opting for this because it’s a second marriage for both of us, and we don’t care to spend a lot of money on a wedding. My family is all about 1000 miles away, and his is all a few hundred miles away, so it will just be us and my son, most likely.

Should I send wedding announcements after the fact? I’m not fishing for gifts, but I suspect it might be nice to inform both families that we got hitched. (And I know it’s tacky to specify “no gifts” because that presumes they were going to send gifts in the first place.) If announcements aren’t appropriate, do I just put the burden on my mother to let everyone in my family know, and rely on his folks to spread the news?

I don’t know if this makes a difference, but my family is the sort who sends a check for any occasion, and his seems to be the sort who go to great efforts to select and buy thoughtful and extravagant gifts. And I really don’t feel that gifts are called for, in our circumstances. I just don’t know how to discourage them without sounding crass.

Any ideas?

Sending an announcement is actually the proper thing to do in this case. The problem is that so few people are cognizant of etiquette rules these days - since announcements are always sent after the fact, and there is no invitation to anything involved, the most anyone should do is send a note of congratulations. What people will do is of course an entirely different matter!

I don’t think there really is any way to stop someone from sending a gift if that’s what they want to do, or what they (mistakenly) believe they are expected to do, so if I were in your shoes I would probably go ahead and send the announcements and just not sweat the gift issue. I do think it is OK, though, if you were to tell your mom to let it be known by word of mouth that no gifts are expected, and all the happy couple would like are the fond wishes for a long and successful marriage.

How about the two of you sit down and handwrite a brief note to immediate family members. Notice I am not letting him off the hook. He has to write to his immediate family. :smiley:

Something along the lines of, just letting y’all know we got married on such and such a date. If you’re changing to his last name or going to hyphenate, it’d be nice to include that information, along with a new address if there is one. No gift begging there. Just short and sweet. Believe me, the parents and sibs will spread the word to other family.

I would suggest a nice party after the fact, to celebrate your marriage. Since you don’t want gifts, something like “The presence of your company is all the gift we need.”


I hope announcements after-the-fact are OK, because that is what my fiancee and I are planning to do. Same situation as the OP…families scattered across the country. A series of parties from coast to coast are planned for the next year or so to compensate.

I have, however, told my fellow teachers that we are registered at Liquorama! :smiley:

silenus, indeed they are. Cite:

Boldening mine.
I think I adore you,swampbear :smiley:
One of the few negative traits that my otherwise nearly perfect spouse has is his ability to weasel out of ever doing the family Christmas or birthday cards.
I keep pointing out that there’s nothing in our marriage vows about love, or Hallmark but he gets out of it every year.

We had a small wedding and sent announcements later. Like you, I fretted a bit–woud it seem like we were fishing? But I realized I was following the letter of the law, so to speak, when it came to etiquette, and in the end I didn’t want cousins and more-distant friends to hear from us at Christmas and say “What? You got married? When did this happen?”

Most people must have figured it out–we didn’t get a deluge of gifts. However, be prepared–some will send gifts, and it isn’t just because they mistakenly felt obligated due to your announcements. Some people just want to. My in-laws’ friends stunned me with their collective generosity. That’s what they do, in their circle of pals: Give really nice gifts to their friends’ children when they marry and have kids.

As romansperson said, this is what wedding announcements are for!

It would be weird for you not to “officially” notify your families of your marriage. I guess in most cases, the families are notified by being at the wedding! In your case, since they won’t be there, an announcement is proper. You should probably send one to everyone that you would have invited to your wedding, if you had had a wedding where you invited people. If you know what I mean.

You could do the announcements in the form of a handwritten note or a printed announcement. You could even enclose a photo of you two (or three).

And don’t worry about the gifts thing. An announcement is in no way “begging for gifts.” People may send a gift because they WANT to! Again, to echo romansperson, you can tell your parents/siblings that no gifts are expected, so that if anyone asks, they can tell them.

If anyone assumes that you just sent an announcement because you want a gift, then that says more about the person than it does about you.

Congratulations on your marriage, by the way!

p.s. My mother-in-law got married a few years ago at city hall without telling anyone. They didn’t send announcements. In fact, she told us about it at the end of an answering machine message! I don’t think she bothered to notify her extended family. Her new husband was somewhat irked that nobody made a big deal about “welcoming him into the family.” Well, you reap what you sow. It’s not that they eloped–that’s perfecly okay. But if you don’t even bother to tell people that you got married, and they had to find out by word of mouth, then you can’t expect people to make a big deal of it.

I guess the moral of the story is that you should definitely do some kind of announcement. Heck, you could even call everyone. But announce it.

I like that idea, but if folks are going to be able to actually read the notes, I’d better write them myself.

That would save us a bundle on having annoucements printed up, too. Calligraphy is one of my hobbies, so I could write up some nice-looking, personal letters on my nice stationery.

Thanks to all for the input. I think I’ll limit my announcements to close family (aunts, uncles, cousins I would actually recognize if I saw them, and [grumble] my sisters, as well as his horrendously large extended family of whoever he thinks needs to know). Guess I’d better get started now… :stuck_out_tongue:

Some of my family is going to be rather surprised, as they assumed I was married when I had my son a few years ago. Well, that’s what they get for being out of the loop for too long… Shoulda kept in touch better. :smiley:

We’re going to have a deluge of toasters and blenders and espresso machines once his family finds out. I’ll distribute them appropriately to anyone who needs 'em, first-come, first-serve. :wink: (After I write the requisite thank-you notes, of couse.)

This is what an inkjet printer is for!

I missed part of this when I last posted. I wondered if it would be appropriate to include a picture of us with the announcement, because I would really like to do so. Most of my family is unlikely to ever meet my beloved, so I’d like to show him off a wee bit (just so they know he doesn’t have three eyes or some such… :slight_smile: )

[QUOTE} :smiley:
One of the few negative traits that my otherwise nearly perfect spouse has is his ability to weasel out of ever doing the family Christmas or birthday cards.
I keep pointing out that there’s nothing in our marriage vows about love, or Hallmark but he gets out of it every year.[/QUOTE]

Women marry for love.

Men marry so we can do their Christmas card, birthday card, thank yours, condolence card list.

Hallmark stays in business because of estrogen.

My aunt recently married for the 4th (I think) time. My Dad (her only sibling) and her sons and thier families were there, but it was definately a small, no frills deal. Afterward, she sent a simple computer generated announcement, with a picture of her and the new hubby. The was a short hand-written note saying they got married on (whatever) date and “just wanted to share the happy news”. It was written by my aunt, and signed by both of them. I didn’t feel they were fishing for gifts, in fact, there was no thought on my part of sending a gift, because it was after the wedding. Had it been before the wedding, I might have sent one. The picture was great! I haven’t seen my aunt in years and it’s now the only pic I have of her.
I did, however, send a congratulatory card.


My daughter and son-in-law had a registry office wedding as they were living overseas at the time. They sent out printed announcements about a week after the event which included a picture of their wedding. It did state in the site given that announcements should be sent the following day, but I thought the photo inclusion was a nice touch.

We had the celebration and gave presents when they returned home.

Enclosing a picture of the three of you would be a nice touch. And I second the notion of using your printer to print out a nice announcement and adding a little personal note. I don’t have an espresso machine, so can I be first in line? :smiley:

silenus I like your choice of a place to register for gifts.

jlzania my need for writing any and all notes personally stems partly from being gay (I swear it’s part of the gay gene) and partly from a mother who thought the world would come to an immediate end if one did not sit down right then and there and write whatever appropriate note the occasion demanded.

My former boss and her honey got hitched in Hawaii last year - just the two of them. They sent out lovely photo announcements a while later. I’m sure you could get Christmas-style photo cards printed up if you wanted to like they did. And yes, I did buy them a small gift (picture frame).

I just like getting photos in the mail. I almost never take any pictures, so it’s nice to get the occasional photo. I like those photo Christmas cards or when someone tucks a photo in the Christmas card.

I received a wedding invitation once with a photo of the couple enclosed. I had never seen that before. It was a very formal invitation too. The photo was a beautiful black & white portrait. Like I said, I was surprised and a bit puzzled, but I appreciated getting it.