Posted by jade on 06 Mar, 2007
Wedding Etiquette Refresher: 5 Often-Overlooked Points
Wedding Season is in the air, as you may have realized from all those little white invitations appearing in your mailbox. While you may not be able to believe it’s that time again, the Great White Wave is indeed upon us. So there’s no time like the present to brush up on wedding etiquette.
What’s that, you may say? Well, despite our increasingly lax modern culture, wedding etiquette is defined as the few remaining traditions and customs we employ to show we are still civilized society – at least as long as we are wearing formalwear and grazing off an open bar. In an era of destination weddings and leopard-print bridesmaid gifts, here are the few hallowed wedding rituals that remain timeless.
1) Actual invitations are a must. Okay, we know we alluded to the formal invitation in the beginning of this article, but the truth is, even an actual wedding invitation can be hard to get a hold of in this day and age. E-vites, phone calls, and in-person wedding invitations are disturbingly common.
This may sound too archaic in the age of the internet, but informal invitations can cause a lot of confusion. For example, I’ve had people tell me to come to their wedding, and then never send me an invitation. To this day, I’m not sure whether they really wanted me to come or not, but since I didn’t get an actual invite in the mail, I decided to skip it. The moral? If you want people to show up, send an invite.
Last but not least, the formal invite rule does apply to destination weddings. Even if you are opting for some free-spirited overseas affair, that doesn’t mean your wedding invites should come by text message, telegram or message in a bottle. In fact, the exotic locales of most destination weddings call for even more formal wedding invitations, and in most cases, save-the- date cards.
2) “No Kids Allowed” in the invite. Although this is a fairly common practice, it is actually taboo. For one thing, there’s hardly a nice way to say it, so such an ominous inclusion sets a severe tone for what is supposed to be a joyous occasion. It also makes people wonder what age constitutes a child. Will your wedding be observing the movie theater definition or that of the local diner?
At any rate, it makes people feel weird, and you can send the same message by not including the children’s names on the invitation. If someone is still confused, they will most likely call and ask for clarification, at which point you can explain nicely your preference for an adults-only wedding. Most people will get the message from the invitation itself however, and it is better to deal with those that don’t on a case-by-case basis. Also, you can bargain with your bridesmaids to help you spread the word in exchange for better bridesmaid gifts.
3) The anti-prefunk. We all love a little pre-function to get us in the partying mood. However, as fun as it is to have a little pre-party before an event, being stuck with a long space between a wedding ceremony and reception has the opposite effect. Even if you were in a thoroughly merry mood after the festive vow exchange, being forced to loiter in the church parking lot or the local Travelodge for hours on end can really put a damper on one’s reception-attending energy.
This faux pas is common, and I have no idea why because it is unbearable. Especially when traveling to a wedding that is in another town or state, it is unbelievably awkward to have to languish indefinitely between the wedding ceremony and the party afterwards, especially if you are not staying the night in the area.
I know a lot of times it’s because the bridal party wants to allow time for pictures, but I have attended a lot of weddings where the bridal party left while everyone was eating and drinking to go take pictures, and people hardly noticed. As long as the guests are happy chowing down on ginger chicken, they won’t notice if the bridesmaids want to take another picture posing with their bridesmaids gifts, of if another wedding party pyramid pic is in order. Another option? If you don’t want to miss any of the reception, consider engaging in the popular new trend of a pre-wedding cocktail hour and take the pictures then!
4) Wedding Toasts to Both. Just because there are typically two wedding toasts by the Best Man and one by the Maid of Honor doesn’t mean that the Best Man should toast the Groom and the MOH should toast the bride. Individual toasts full of seventh grade boyfriends and bike accidents are great for the wedding shower or bachelor party, but the point of the post-wedding toast is to celebrate the bride and groom as a united couple. Make sure to toast not just individual attributes, but how these traits complement each other. Even if you don’t know the bride or the groom, just talk about how happy they’ve made the person you are close with, and how happy that makes you! This foolproof tactic will make sure your speech is appreciated by all – and doesn’t get cut out of the wedding video.
5) Actually RSVP’ing, or un-RSVP’ing. True, for some reason sticking that wee card back in the included pre-stamped envelope and sending it back is for some reason unbelievably annoying, but do it anyway. Don’t pretend you are unfamiliar with the acronym or joke that you don’t speak French. The bride and groom have obviously gone through some trouble to try and secure your presence on their special day, so the least you can do is respond in kind. No matter how flighty or spontaneous you may be in your general social life, this is the time to make an exception – and to make sure you get your first preference on chicken or fish!
Secondly, if you or your date actually can’t make it even after you’ve RSVP’d, it is definitely better to let the couple know, even if it is at the last minute. You may feel too embarrassed to say that you actually can’t come, or that you broke up with your significant other, but the space-strapped couple will definitely appreciate being able to open up their wedding to different guests they couldn’t formerly fit. In other words, don’t let fearing the couple’s wrath over your flakiness keep you from un-RSVP’ing. Sometimes backing out of someone’s wedding is the nicest thing you can do – especially if you still send a wedding gift! The only exception is if you are in the wedding party. If you are receiving a bridesmaid gift and having your name printed in the program, flakiness is considerably less forgivable.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this Weddingstand Etiquette Refresher.
Some Information Taken From:
Wedding Etiquette by Heather Clisby of the Santa Barbara Independent