As a wedding professional with 20 years experience, I am regularly consulted on proper etiquette. I always reply with two things in mind; what I already know about the event in question and what would kindness dictate?
In most answers I attempt to influence my customer with kindness as the guiding principal. Should we include everyone’s name on the invitation or just the bride’s parents if they are issuing the invitation? If you risk hurting someone’s feelings, choose kindness. Should we send thank you notes to every guest that attended or only ones that brought gifts? Were you happy that they attended? Send them a note to express your thanks. Choose kindness. Should we include information about our gift registry on our invitation? Do you want your guest to feel like a gift is their admission ticket to your wedding? Don’t mention gifts with your invitation. Having your family and friends witness your wedding vows has nothing to do with loot and everything to do with supporting the new couple from the very beginning of the sometimes rocky journey that is a marriage. Choose kindness. Don’t cheapen your ceremony with the slightest impression of greed.
If someone is asking their invitation guy for advice; they are either trying to find out quickly without doing their own research or they are checking to see if their mom is really right. In most cases, mom is right so listen to her first. She represents half of the invited guests and knows what is common or appropriate for those guests. You may need to temper what mom offers up as there are two families being joined and they may have different ideas of what is proper. This can be based on cultural or regional etiquette that is best to work out with the families involved. What this becomes is a learning moment for the bride and groom, one of many in the planning of the event. You need to ask the question of each other “Is it important to you that we are formal or casual in our planning and execution for our event? Once you agree on the tone you can ensure that you follow the etiquette that represents the proper level of formality.
To ensure that you follow proper etiquette for your event you really have to have a conversation (or several) with your parents, with your bride or groom to be, with your wedding planner, and even with your invitation guy. Once you have gathered the myriad opinions I suggest you make your decision based on kindness. There really are a million ways you can plan your special day and once you have decided what is proper for your event, there will be opinions contrary to yours. If you do choose kindness, it will never be the wrong answer.
January 14, 2015
Of The Earth
A quote from this article was published on page 50 in the January 2015 edition of the Seattle Bride Magazine.