This past Sunday Chris and I had our engagement party. I wanted to utilize the party as a means for both families to meet and get to know one another.
We had it at a local Olive Garden, we expected about 47 people to attend. (FYI, that’s a small party for me.) We’d invited quite a few more, but some friends were out of town that weekend and much of my family lives far far away. So, it was mainly Chris’ family, my father and his girlfriend, and another 20 good friends, most of who are members of the bridal party or are helping with the wedding in some other way, such as officiating.
I’m not really sure why I was so nervous about the whole thing, seems so silly now. I was worried that people would be bored for some unknown reason.
Chris and I had tried our darnedest to make sure everyone was introduced to his family and mine, but when you have so many people walking in at various times some are likely to be missed in the whole process.
Thinking about it now I could’ve conducted it better, perhaps by taking his folks around to meet my friends that they did not have the chance to meet. It was a start, either way, that they got to meet many of them and learned who the rest were later on.
Luckily, I photographed everyone!
We had three very large tables set up in a separate dining room for the party. I was standing between two of the tables taking pictures when someone asked why I was taking the pictures. They exclaimed that I was the bride to be and I shouldn’t be doing that. I looked at them and said, “Because I’m a professional photographer.” Frankly, if I hadn’t we wouldn’t have all the pictures I have of the entire event. I took pics of everyone as couples or full table shots. I was in “documentation” mode. This is where the historical docent personality comes into play… must document everything for historical reasons so that 10-20 years down the road when Chris and I are reminiscing the beginning of our life together either of us can pull up the images and say, “See! They were there!”
When we originally planned for the engagement party we knew that it was going to be his family, my dad, and those we’d asked to participate as bridal party members. I originally planned to keep it fairly small on purpose. I worried quite a bit that some people might get upset about not being invited, but I was trying to keep it to those who’d be directly involved with the wedding AND I didn’t want to overwhelm Chris’ side with a lot of my friends because I have a very large social circle. I mean, since the only family I was likely to have present were my father and possibly my cousin, Jill, then I was going to fill in with coven members and some close friends, all of whom I consider family.
This was great in theory, but…
Chris and I attended a party last month. I was sitting there listening to the conversations around me when I overheard one of my bridesmaids say that she was going to be out of town the same week as our engagement party. So I leaned forward and gave her a quick, “What?!” to which she explained that she’d be back by the 6th and not to worry. Ok, no prob. However, another girlfriend sitting near her, who was not invited to the party asks, “What’s on the 6th?”
Ok, I will readily admit, I make a terrible liar. If you want to know ANYTHING just ask me the question when I’m not expecting it. I will tell you the truth without realizing that perhaps it wasn’t the best answer at that moment. By nature I’m a pretty damn honest and will often tell it like it is, but I’m also aware that sometimes tact is necessary. This was one of those moments and I just blurted out, “Oh, my engagement party!”
Ugh! Why did I do that? I could have simply said, “Oh we’re having lunch”, but no, I didn’t think that quickly. I suck.
She wasn’t happy. If she was kidding, it didn’t seem like it. I felt like crap AND I was annoyed, all at the same time. I don’t like to disappoint friends or let them feel like they aren’t friends, but I was annoyed because it clearly didn’t dawn on her that there was a reason she hadn’t been included this time. It wasn’t like she wouldn’t be included in other gatherings or the wedding. Good grief, we’re doing all we can to make sure we can have a celebration that includes ALL of our friends and family, but it’s not going to be easy. Also, this is MY engagement party… why is she making it about her?
I was upset about her reaction; it put a bit of a stop to the momentum of the party for me. I went to talk with Chris about possibly opening up the guest list to include a few more friends, including the one whose feelings were just hurt, to help prevent any more hurt feelings. We discussed it and he thought it would be fine, so as soon as I could I added in a few more to the invite list. We did have a limit. The room only held 50 people and we now had 64 people on the guest list!
Sometimes I will invite friends or family that live out of town to my events on the off chance they can make it, but even if I know they’re unlikely to attend because of distance I want them to be aware that the event is happening and know that I wanted them there. This time I invited my siblings and birth mother, all of whom live out of state so, despite the higher number, I was aware they were unlikely to attend events prior to the wedding.
Sunday arrived and we got to the location early. We waited for a bit before people came in. While there I saw a status update from one of my bridesmaids stating that she was uncomfortable with large crowds and with 47 guests expected, only knowing a handful of them, she didn’t think she’d be particularly social, but she was still excited about going and being part of such a happy occasion. At that moment I realized she was facing a fear for me and Chris. It was incredibly sweet and deeply appreciated!
Unfortunately, a few of my bridesmaids were unable to attend. One lives in Alaska, one lives in San Jose, CA, and one was called to duty at the last minute for the weekend with the Air Force Reserves. Each one was understandably unable to make their way to Orange County for a 2 hour lunch, but I know they’ll be there on “The Big Day”.
I had a nice lunch, but I will admit that I felt something was missing. Perhaps Chris and I should have toasted those attending and thanked them. I kind of hoped Dad would say something, like a toast, but he didn’t. And again, I’m regretting not doing a better job of ensuring Chris’ family personally met everyone. I know, there’s nothing I can do to change what’s happened or rather, didn’t happen.
Overall I think the gathering was delightful and I am grateful so many people were able to attend.
Oh, and a bit of a funny fact… the girl at the party that was upset at not being invited… She was invited. However, she never opened the invitation, it was sent through Evite.com, and thus never attended the event.
I love Barenaked Ladies! Most of their music makes me feel happy. I’m just not sure how I feel about their music since Steven Page left. I really enjoyed his voice in their songs.
Barenaked Ladies – Sound of Your Voice