The Q: Greetings, My fiance and I were engaged last month, and had dated for several years prior. Since he is in the military and is slated to relocate in the next few months, we would like to go ahead and get legally married with a small celebration of immediate family members prior to the move. This will make the logistics of the move much easier and allow us time to save for a large wedding/renewals of vows a few years (2-3 years) down the road where we can included extended family and friends.
The question I have is in regards to the notification of the extended family and friends that we are married without offending anyone that they were invited to the small ceremony. Should we send announcements of the news and explain that a future celebration will be held? Should we wait until we have a date set for the larger celebration? Or, should we just spread the news through word-of-mouth?
Any etiquette advice you can offer is greatly appreciated.
Thanks so much!
The A: Elizabeth, thank you for writing, CONGRATULATIONS on your engagement and thank you to your fiance for his service!
I totally see your point. I think the logistics of a move, especially if it happens to be one abroad, can be daunting, particularly when combined with trying to plan a wedding. I think a small ceremony with immediate family sounds do-able and understandable and that a wedding announcement is probably just the proper call. That said, if you are looking at more than a year down the line, I think that using an announcement as a save the date without a specific plan in mind might take away from some of the joy of you actually announcing the marriage (vs. a traditional save the date where it is also kind of an engagement announcement as well).
So, obviously this still leaves the question of how to not offend people who weren’t there. I think the best thing to do is to send an announcement that says something to the effect of:
We are please to announce that
Elizabeth and “Fabulous Fiance’s name here”
were married on
In a private ceremony held in New York (or wherever)
You may want to insert an “at home” card with your new address in the mailing OR you may want to post pictures of the smaller ceremony online and direct people to a website. This would be a great place to tell people of your plans to host a renewal of vows and reception in the future. You can also place your new contact information here AND any registry info (because some people may want to send you a present). In that case I would add the line
Photos of the ceremony can be found at www.elizabethandawesomeman.com
I hope that helps and I’d also love to hear reader thoughts in case someone has a more creative thought than I do! Again, warm wishes and congratulations to you both again!