Wedding Etiquette Your Most Common Wedding Etiquette Dilemmas Solved

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As one of the biggest and most potentially stressful events of your life, getting engaged and subsequently planning a wedding brings with it an onslaught of questions. As times change and weddings evolve, traditional rules of etiquette have followed suit, only adding to the confusion.

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. To steer you through the fog of questions, I’ve compiled a quick look at the top five most common wedding etiquette dilemmas: Family Etiquette, Invitation Etiquette, Gift Etiquette, Attire Etiquette and The Cash Bar Issue.

Family Etiquette:

Introducing Your Parents – If the bride and groom’s parents have not met prior to the engagement, tradition dictates that the groom’s family calls and introduces themselves to the bride’s family and arranges a meeting. If the groom’s parents do not make the first introduction, then the bride’s parents should. Nowadays, who makes the first call is irrelevant; all that really matters is that the parents meet. If meeting face to face is impossible, a letter or phone call will suffice.

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 dialogue. You should immediately inform them of your ideas regarding location, date, size and style of the wedding. Take queues 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 informed throughout your engagement.

Invitation Etiquette:

Inviting partners and guests – If an invited guest is married, engaged or living with a significant other, that partner must be included in the invitation. A single invitation addressed to both individuals should be sent to spouses or couples who live together, while separate invitations should be sent to each member of an engaged or long term couple who don’t live together. Inviting single guests with a date is a thoughtful gesture, but one that is not required. If you are inviting a single guest with a date, try to find out the name of your friend’s intended date and include that person’s name on the invitation. Otherwise, inner envelopes may include “And Guest,” indicating that he or she may bring any chosen escort or friend.

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. However, 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.

Gift-giving Etiquette:

Yes, we all love to receive gifts, and weddings are a perfect occasion for gift-giving. Friends and loved ones customarily honor the commitment of the newly betrothed by showering them with gifts. As the happy couple, just remember to always feel privileged


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