Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. This week, we’re answering a reader question about post-elopement parties and gifting.

 

Question: My niece eloped. Her parents are sending out announcements, but are not having a reception. I’m hosting a party — dinner and cocktails — 60 people for friends and family. My niece would like for this to be a shower. The announcements were sent out. My invites will not be sent out for another month. Is it OK for my party to be shower? I feel funny asking people to bring a gift. Please let me know what to do!

Answer: Congratulations to your niece and her new spouse on their marriage! It’s lovely of you to throw a party. Since the couple eloped, it’s not mandatory for anyone to give them a gift. For that reason, it’s better to steer clear of calling the party a shower, which could leave a bad taste in the mouths of invitees. That said, typically many people will bring a gift to a wedding-related soiree, whether it’s an engagement party, shower, reception or post-elopement celebration. Because of the etiquette behind gifts and registries, do not put anything on the invitation about presents or — if they have one — the registry. If someone asks if the couple would like gifts or where they are registered, family and friends of the couple can serve as ambassadors to spread the word of their household needs and registry locations. Registries are helpful, but not mandatory by the way and guests are of course free to stray from it. So, when guests R.S.V.P. to you, at that time, feel free to say, “We are looking forward to seeing you at the party. Jill and James will be thrilled to see you.” If they ask about gifts or a registry say, “You are so generous. I know they would be grateful for anything you decided to give and they are registered at Tiffany, Macy’s and Bed, Bath & Beyond if you are looking for ideas.” Leave it at that and let the gifts fall where they may.

 

Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.