Wedding Etiquette

When it comes to wedding planning there are many things to consider.  Brides can and usually do become stressed just thinking about the “right way” to complete the various tasks involved.  For example, what does a bride do when deciding on the wording of  her invitations when her parents are divorced?  Who pays for what when the bride and groom already live together?  From whether or not to have an open bar, to the style of reception, brides can drive themselves crazy trying to please their family, guests and themselves.

In this writing I will address a few issues that can cause brides and their families distress.  Look for future writings about using etiquette when planning your wedding.  First let’s discuss save-the-date cards and invitations.

WEDDING PLANNING: Save-the-date cards 

When beginning your wedding planning consider the out of town guests you plan to invite.  Any out of town guests should receive a save-the-date card. Because your traveling guests will need to make many travel arrangements you will have to send these several months in advance.  You can send information about available hotel accomodations and local areas of interest at a later time.

Keep in mind that these save-the-date cards will be the first impression your guests will have of your wedding day.  For a beach wedding I suggested sending sand dollars calligraphed with the bride and groom’s name and the wedding date.  We placed magnets on the back so their guests would have a constant reminder every time they reached into the refrigerator.  This was a unique idea that garnered lots of compliments.

WEDDING PLANNING: Invitations 

In my professional opinion, it is NEVER acceptable to send email invitations.  Your guests are worthy of receiving a proper invitation through the U.S. Postal Service.  If your budget is a concern, there are many inexpensive options at party and craft stores, which you can print yourself.

If the bride’s parents are paying for the wedding ceremony and reception then their names are printed on the invitation.  This is true even if the bride’s parents are divorced or the bride and groom are co-habitating.   If the bride and groom already live together and are paying for their wedding ceremony and reception themselves then their names are printed as the hosts.  

It is courteous to send an invitation to your officiant and a guest, as well as your wedding party.  They do not need to respond.

NEVER, under any circumstances place registry cards in your invitations or suggest “cash only” as gifts.  Your friends and family will get the word out about where you are registered.  If you do not want children to attend you can add “Adult Reception” to the bottom of your reply cards.

When planning your wedding it is imperative to have an accurate guest count.  With that in mind it is perfectly acceptable to call guests who haven’t responded a week past the reply date.  You will need to let your caterer know the exact amount of guests no later than three weeks before your wedding date.

When it comes to wedding planning, keep in mind that it is YOUR day but using common etiquette for certain tasks is essential. 

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