Wedding Etiquette: 8 Things You Should Know
So the question has been popped, you’ve said ‘yes’, and now attention turns to preparation for the big day. For many couples, wedding planning is exciting at first, but it soon becomes a complex affair as you try to navigate long-held traditions. To make sure the path to organising your wedding is a smooth one, we have answered 8 wedding etiquette questions for your peace of mind.
1. We’re engaged! How should we break the news?
Before you broadcast the news of your engagement to the wider world, tell your closest family and friends first. A phone call is best, but a text message may be acceptable for some. Whatever you do, don’t tell Facebook before you’ve spread the word to your immediate loved ones.
2. Does my father have to walk me down the aisle?
Traditionally, the father of the bride walks his daughter down the aisle to ‘give her away’ but in some cases, this does not work with the family dynamic. The role is an important, symbolic one, and it is usually the father, this isn’t mandatory, however. It’s not a role exclusive to the men in your life: your mother, sister or grandmother could take the role.
3. How do I gather the attendance list?
According to tradition, your guests will RSVP to their wedding invitation via the post. Provide them with a deadline at least two weeks in advance – but the longer you can give them to make arrangements, the better. If possible, send stamped, addressed envelopes or provide an alternative way to RSVP, such as email.
4. Is a wedding cake mandatory?
Not at all! This is your wedding, and it’s your decision to opt in or out of specific traditions. If you don’t fancy a standard wedding cake, other options are becoming increasingly popular; including cup cakes, cheese cake, pies or even jelly!
5. Should I offer a ‘plus one’ on my invites?
The politics of wedding invites can get tricky, so when it comes to ‘plus one’ invitations, try to come up with a set of criteria and stick with it. Extend the option of a guest to those with a partner – whether married, engaged, cohabiting or otherwise. However, don’t feel you have to offer the same option to your single friends. The key to happy guests? Apply the same rule to everyone.
6. Do I have to invite my colleagues?
It’s entirely up to you who you invite. When considering invites to work colleagues, stick to those you socialise with outside of work, your team or department. You don’t have to invite everyone, but try not to exclude specific people.
7. How do I enforce a ‘no children’ rule?
When you send out your invites, be very clear that the wedding is ‘no children’. If you feel the need, provide a short, lighthearted reason why. If a guest has mentioned bringing the kids, politely but firmly remind them that you have invited adults only.
8. When should I send the thank you cards?
Once the big day is over and the dust has settled, it’s time to extend your thank yous to the guests. If possible, make note of who bought which present, so you can personalise your notes. Try to send your thank you cards within three months – allowing you time to enjoy the honeymoon period but without leaving it so long that your guests feel forgotten!
Above all, remember that despite the traditions, wedding etiquette is being redefined as nuptials become more creative, inventive and out-of-the-ordinary. It’s your wedding – so relax, and enjoy!