1. Winifred Rosenburg

    Speaking of anniversaries, is it normal to celebrate anniversaries just as a couple or is a family party the way to go? I always thought anniversaries should be celebrated just as a couple with the exception of big milestones like 25th and 50th. My husband and my one-year anniversary is coming up. His mother asked us if we wanted to have a family party. If this is the norm, are there guidelines about whom should be invited (in case she asks)? Any other anniversary traditions anyone wants to share would be welcome as well as I’m obviously new at this.

    • Alicia

      Well norms vary by family. So why not talk to your husband about what his family normally dones and if the two of you would rather it be just the two of you or a group party. Whatever you and your husband wants is what matters.
      You can host a party for really any reason you feel like and invite whomever you like. Tommrow is national Garlic day you could host a national garlic day party and invite everyone you know. As log as you are hosting and do not expect others to pay, bring you gifts, ect then go ahead and host anything you want party wise. ( yes I will chuckle if you host a Garlic day party)

  2. Sarah

    I am an American woman recently married to a German man, and we live in London. My husband and I married in a family-only civil ceremony in June of 2011. Several external circumstances forced us to make the party small and rather rushed despite our both having many friends we would have normally invited, the main reason for our two-month engagement being the expiration of my UK visa. Since then, my parents (who live in a small town in the central US) hosted a wonderful party for us but the guest list was largely comprised of their friends and my childhood friends because of the venue size and the location of my hometown (not great destination for international guests).
    Now to my dilemma: between my husband and me, we still have many friends from Europe, the US and Asia whom we have not invited to celebrate with us. What would be an appropriate way to include our friends from three continents in our happiness without appearing to think we need three parties to celebrate our marriage? It seems excessive in terms of both cost and time, but we also need to let a lot of people know about the marriage without their feeling excluded. We are about to move to Zurich. Should I integrate an announcement of our marriage into our change of address cards – in a personal and tasteful way that perhaps welcomes visitors to our new home, or should we invite all our friends from New York, Hong Kong and Europe to an informal celebration weekend in Zurich sometime in the fall? (We will have been married for over a year by that time.) I’m at a loss for how to deal with possibly hurt feelings and an awkwardly late celebration. Thank you!

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      A wedding announcement is a good start. Is there a wedding video you can send as well? If not, include a picture. Also a personalized note saying that you are sorry that they weren’t able to be there because the wedding plans happened so fast and you’re looking forward to seeing them soon.

    • Elizabeth

      I believe it is generally accepted around these parts that a wedding celebration over a year after the actual wedding is no longer a wedding celebration, but an anniversary party or similar. Unfortunately, we cannot always have the celebrations that we want, and while your concern for your friends’ feelings is admirable, people do understand the situation you and your husband were in and will understand. I think that most people will want to see you and spend quality time with you rather than undertaking the expense to travel on a specific weekend for a party (where it is hard to spend quality time with people and you will have a lot of other guests vying for your attention). I would make your ‘change of address’ into something more like a wedding announcement that is cute and tells your story. An open invitation for a visit is nice too, but only if you mean it! People will be happy for you – wouldn’t you be if the situation was reversed?

    • David


      In this day and technological age, the easiest and most appropriate way to “share” your wedding, with those abroad or otherwise cannot attend, is to offer LIVE or RECORDED streaming of the festivities. This is no complicated technological feat and is easily accomplished.

      Websites such at TVUnetwork are a resource to make this happen. If live streaming seems too daunting, then there are ways to put recorded videos online such as in YouTube, or on an exclusive password protected website with a video player. Video files can be hosted online, on Amazons digital data storage for instance, and accessed to stream with a player on your website.

      If you have the financial resources, and large enough groups in each area, you could even synchronize the viewing for all by hosting in a banquet room at a hotel in each area and having a projector put it on a large screen. This would work with live streaming or recording. Other cheaper and quick ideas would include using available technologies like webinar and teleseminar technologies and having phone lines and speaker phones/microphones set up in each of the few respective banquet rooms.

  3. Dainise

    With regards to elopement, my husband and I eloped in February and are now hosting a party for family and friends (four months after we married). I’m uncertain if the party can be considered a reception, and more importantly, if it’s completely inappropriate to register for gifts. The party is informal and we’ve used an online invitation site, but some guests have asked if we have a registry. What is the etiquette in this situation?

    • Elizabeth

      Usually a reception follows an event, so it would be better not to call it a reception but rather a ‘celebration’ or simply a party. The whole point of an elopement is to escape all the trappings of a formal wedding, is it not? The bridal registry is part of those trappings, I’m afraid. Simply tell your inquiring guests that you do not have a registry, but you are desperately in need of nice dish towels/bedsheets in blue/etc – or, even better, that you appreciate the gift of their presence and good wishes only.

  4. Joanna

    I agree with Elizabeth. For all I know, things may be different nowadays, but overall my impression has always been that if a couple chooses to elope, they forgo the entire party altogether.

    I suppose the reason for the elopement may matter, also. Only you and your husband know what the circumstances were, so only you can decide if a party/reception is now appropriate. Most likely, though, friends and family would be glad to help celebrate your milestone, and of course won’t want to come empty-handed. I think I’d go with Elizabeth here too, though, and not put out an official registry, but simply tell inquiring guests where you stand with things.

  5. Christine

    My brother, who lives across country, but who I consider to be very close to me, was widowed a couple of years ago at a young age. He recently got engaged to a woman after a very short courtship. I have never met her, but I have spoken on the phone with her a couple of times and see her posts on social media.

    I learned today that they eloped a couple of weeks ago. He didn’t want to tell me… The only reason he did tell me was because I am doing a real estate transaction with him and his marital status must be reflected on the deed. So, he had to fess up. He swore me to secrecy because they are planning a huge “wedding” 9 months from now and he doesn’t want this secret to get out and to “steal the thunder” of the wedding.

    I’m happy for him that he has found someone, although I am a bit concerned at the speed with which he moved forward on such a commitment. But, he’s a big boy and can make his own decisions.

    I’m hurt, however, that he would marry someone without even having introduced them to me, and hurt even more that he would keep his elopement a secret but for the need to disclose on legal documents. I also feel like it’s not fair to ask me to keep it a secret, and am bothered that they are planning to dupe everyone into thinking their “wedding” is their actual wedding. My understanding is that if you elope, you should disclose it, especially to family. If you decide to have a celebration after the fact, you should not expect gifts, and the vows should be framed as “re-commitment” vows. But I also see etiquette sites suggesting that it’s perfectly OK to register for gifts and make a big to-do of your post-elopement party. I guess it’s the lie I’m having trouble getting over because it gives the appearance of trying to ensure that they can have a big party with the vows and the gifts.

    Thoughts? Am I being selfish for feeling hurt, and prudish for disapproving of their hiding the truth from all of the family and friends?

    • Elizabeth

      I think your feelings are completely natural. However, I think you should try not to take it so personally, as I don’t think your brother was trying to slight you. It sounds like he’s in love, and love makes people do foolish things. I agree with you as well that there is something hinky about having the Big White Wedding after one has already been married. However, you should keep your thoughts to yourself and not interfere in the day by telling anyone what you know. In the grand scheme of things, they are not harming anyone. Further, anyone that bought him a wedding present for the first wedding is not obligated to gift him a second. Your disapproval will not bring you closer to your brother, and may, if expressed, make it impossible for you to have a good relationship with his new wife. I suggest you put those thoughts aside and try to be happy for him, despite everything.

  6. Lori C

    I think you should have another conversation or two with your brother. But before you do, please be sure you are over his eloping and not telling you. Like you said, he is an adult and can do what he thinks is best. But I understand your shock at his deception.

    Because you are so uncomfortable with keeping this secret, I think you should tell him this. Let him know you cannot keep this secret and he will need to do the mature thing and let his family know he is married. Adults don’t keep these kind of secrets from their family and friends.

    They could check with their church about a religious blessing and see if it would be appropriate to have the “big wedding” at that time.

    If the church does not do this, they could plan a reception for family and friends or even a one year anniversary party.

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