Wedding Etiquette - Solutions to the Top Six Dilemmas
What do you do when a guest wants to bring a plus one, what about father's new girlfriend? Who sits on the top table? Can you ask for money instead of gifts? These questions and many more are answered in this free wedding etiquette guide.
To gain perspective, first understand that "etiquette" is above all about treating people with courtesy and making them feel comfortable. When an etiquette question arises, consider the feelings of those who will be affected. Let us steer you through the fog of questions with this quick look at the most common wedding etiquette dilemmas:
Introducing Divorced Parents - If the groom's parents are divorced, the parent with the closest relationship to the groom should take the first step in meeting the bride's parents. If both sets are divorced, the parent closest to the groom should first contact the bride's suggested parent. If no one begins the introduction process, the couple should step in and ensure that everyone meets, while refraining from forcing potentially awkward situations.
Your In-Laws - The groom's parents often feel left out of the planning process. To avoid this, invite your future in-laws into the initial dialog. You should immediately inform them of your ideas regarding location, date, size and style of the wedding. Take cues on their desired level of involvement, and include them accordingly. Let them make offers to pitch in with finances or planning Above all, keep them in the informed throughout your engagement.
Inviting Children - To invite or not invite the little ones - this is a situation that can quickly get ugly. Make your decision and stick with it - then inform your guests through carefully addressed invitations: Children over 18 who are invited to the wedding should receive their own invitations - regardless of whether or not they live with their parents. If you don't send them an invitation - it's clear that they're not invited.
Children under 18 who are invited to the wedding should have their name included on the invitation. If you're inviting Joe and Mary Smith without their two little ones, their invitation should read "Joe and Mary Smith." If you're still worried that some guests may add write-ins on their reply card - print the names of those invited on the reply card as well.
Guests Who Ask to Bring a Guest - Your guests should know better! It is never appropriate for a guest to ask to bring a date, and you have every right to politely say no. H owever, if you discover that a guest is engaged or living with a significant other, you should extend a written or verbal invitation.
Invitations to out-of-town guests -Many brides ponder whether or not it's appropriate to invite long distance guests for whom it may be impossible to attend. Use your best judgment. Is this person truly a close friend who would want to attend your celebration? If so, failing to extend an invitation may be insulting.
Remember, these days friends and family are often spread all over the country, and people are accustomed to traveling. On the other hand, if you haven't spoken in years, an invitation may look like no more than a request for a gift. In those cases, send a wedding announcement instead, which carries no gift-giving obligation.
- Do not print registry information on the invitation.
- Do publicize your registry information by word of mouth only
- Don't explicitly request cash gifts; your close friends or family numbers can inform guests of your preferences if asked.
- Do return all gifts - even shower and engagement gifts - if the wedding is called off (so don't be tempted to use any gifts until after the wedding!)
- Do respond to each gift with a personal hand-written thank you note within two weeks of receiving the gift (or within 2 weeks of returning from your honeymoon)
- There is no special formula for determining the appropriate amount a guest should spend on a gift. The idea that each gift should cost as much as one plate at the reception is an impractical misconception.
The formality of your bridesmaids' dresses should match that of your wedding dress. Although traditionally the dresses were the same length as the wedding gown, the rise in popularity of tea- and knee-length bridesmaids' dresses has relaxed that rule.
As long as the fabric and overall style matches the formality of your floor-length gown, shorter bridesmaids' dresses are perfectly acceptable. For evening weddings, guests should dress for a nice dinner or event - which includes suits (or black tie) for men and dresses or skirts in sophisticated colors and fabrics for women. Lengths can vary according to the style of the event and location. Female guests may now wear black, but never white.
The Cash Bar Issue
That said, if a full bar is not within your budget, consider these alternatives:
1. Host a soft bar, in which guests can order champagne, beer and wine.
2. Find a reception site that allows you to bring in your own alcohol; you will save serious cash, and anything unopened can be returned for a full refund.
3. Cut down the size of your guest list - the only significant way to reduce costs in the first place.
Asking For Money; Are Money Showers Appropriate?
Asking for Monetary Gifts - You're planning a bridal shower, and let's face it - the bride and groom have been living together for three years, already accumulating at least two blenders and a toaster oven. What they could really use is some extra cash (they've been dying to remodel their bathroom.)
However, blatantly asking for specific gifts - monetary or otherwise - is in poor taste. Just imagine an invitation that reads: "I could really use some new shoes - please send me some strappy sandals." (Just because Carrie Bradshaw got away with it does not make it ok!) What you can do is let guests know if they ask that the bride prefers cash gifts.
Send shower invites without registry information; inquiring guests will ask where the couple is registered, presenting a perfect opportunity to respond with the bride's preference. Some guests will still prefer to give a tangible gift, so the couple should register for a few items. Avoid drawing attention to the cash with a "money tree," or other cash-displaying gimmick, so guests bringing tangible gifts don't feel awkward.
Simply display all cards and gifts together for the bride to open and acknowledge.
Giving Monetary Gifts - You're sorting through your mail, and to your dismay discover a shower invitation with a cutesy rhyme such as...
...To make it easy for you
and avoid a shopping spree
We thought that we would have instead,
a little money tree...Although this presents a clear breach of etiquette, it does not justify an uprising of the etiquette police. Pointing out another's faux pas is just as rude as the original blunder. Here are your options:
Bring a monetary gift - If you choose to participate with a cash donation, give whatever you feel comfortable giving. The shower host will start the tree off for guests by tying a bill or small envelope on the tree, and guests will follow suit. There is usually no way to tell who gave what amount. In this instance, bring a card separate from the cash for the bride.
Bring a tangible gift - I say this with caution, because you don't want to appear as if you're protesting the shower theme. However, if you've put a lot of thought into selecting something memorable for the bride, take pride in presenting her with a thoughtful gift to acknowledge her upcoming nuptials.
For more advice on invitation etiquette, consult this complete wedding invitation guide. Get advice on how to cut your wedding guest list Cori Russell is editor for Elegala.com and Gala Weddings Magazine. Elegala.com is a comprehensive wedding planning resource with a national directory of wedding venues and services, along with articles, expert advice, checklists and photo galleries to lead brides through every step of the planning process. Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Cori_Russell/209031 http://EzineArticles.com/?Wedding-Etiquette---Solutions-to-the-Top-Six-Etiquette-Dilemmas&id=159502