Wedding etiquette can be a guide to help navigate the wedding planning process. When used properly etiquette can make a Bride into the perfect hostess, and her guests feel wonderfully welcome.
Many Brides though balk at the idea of wedding etiquette. Why do I have to pay for all of my guests drinks? Why can not I include my registry information in my wedding invitations?
Here's why, and then we will get to the rules you can break!
The bar: When you invite guests to your wedding you are asking a great deal of them, time and money for travel and lodging, sometimes even time off of work (especially if your wedding is on a Friday or Sunday). Your guests do not need to shell out extra cash when they get to your wedding. The best compromise between a full hosted (you pay for drinks) and a cash (your guests pay for drinks) is a limited bar. At a limited bar you serve (and pay for) only a couple of choices such as beer and wine. You will spend a lot less money on a limited bar than a full bar, and your guests will still love you for it! Many couples choose to add one specialty mixed drink, and / or a champagne toast, but the choice is up to you.
The invitation: Your wedding invitation is your guests first introduction to your wedding. It should be a beautiful message of love and celebration. Not, a request for gifts! Many Brides are concerned that if they do not include registry information in their invitations they will not receive gifts, or worse, gifts they do not want. So how to spread the word without breaking the rules? Look to your Bridesmaids and female family members. Are you having a Bridal shower? If so the person hosting the shower should mail the invitations with your registry information to every female member of your family. Then let it spread through the grapevine! Another tried and true option for getting your registry and other pertinent wedding related information out there is a wedding website. You can create a wedding website for free through many of the major wedding planning websites. Or, if you and your fiance are tech savvy you can set up your own domain name and custom site. Send your wedding website to family and friends to spread the word in an easy etiquette friendly way!
Now which rules can you break?
Who pays for what ?: Many couples and their families are breaking from tradition to divvy up the financial responsibilities. Talk to your parents and other family members to create a budget that works for everyone.
Email invitations : Now I have a hard time condoning sending wedding invitations via email, but there is one exception. "Green Weddings", if you are really set on having the greenest of green weddings you probably hate the idea of using all that paper, ink, fossil fuels, and saddling your wedding with a huge carbon footprint! In the case of the Eco-Bride I think wedding invitations can be emailed. Please, please, make sure they are still beautiful for those who want to print them out. Print out copies and mail them to any older relatives who do not have access to email, do not let Grandma get left out of the loop!
Maid of Honor and Best Man : Oh the agony of selecting just one person who is your true BFF! Skip it! Choose to have all of them be your maids of honor, or all can be bridesmaids (same for the guys). The traditions have changed, your maid of honor is not the only one to help with planning. All of your ladies should be pitching in, and all of them should be equally honored to be a part of your special day!
The bouquet and the garter: Oh, the dreaded bouquet toss where all of your single friends are herded out onto the dance floor, they stand there looking like deer in the headlights. They do not care to catch the bouquet, they just want out of the spotlight! So save them that dreaded wedding moment, and give your toss bouquet to your mother instead. Ditto on the garter toss, tell your future hubby if he wants to remove your lingerie with his teeth he can wait for the honeymoon!
Do you have a sticky wedding etiquette question? Leave your question in a comment, or email me!