Etiquette: A Guide to Planning your Wedding

Posted on Jun 26 2019 - 9:00am by Samantha Clark
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We’ve previously touched on the expectations of guests attending a wedding but there are also a number of expectations that the bride and her husband to be should follow too.

We share some general etiquette tips to follow when preparing for your special day.

Announcing your engagement

You can’t wait to tell the world that you’re engaged to your soulmate. We completely understand and you should shout about it from the rooftops.

But before you put your ring selfie up on social media, be sure you’ve told your parents, grandparents and wedding VIPs that you are officially engaged first. Its best to tell those closest to you in person first but if not possible, certainly over the phone. This will make it more personal and ensure no-one is left feeling hurt that they only heard about it through the grapevine.

Invitations

wedding invite

When it comes to invitations there are certain protocols to be followed.

Never:

  • Do your invites through social media: You can always set up a page to allow guests to communicate nearer the time but even that is dicey; consider privacy and the lengthy communications you’ll have to deal with. Instead, set up a wedding website to help you manage the details
  • Outline gift requests on the invitation- see more below!

Do:

  • Send out Save the Date cards to those travelling from afar, if you’re getting married on a weekday and for those that may be looking to stay away.
  • If you’re supplying an RSVP card, include postage so they can send it back. Otherwise, request other means for them to communicate this to you.
  • Be consistent! If they’re invited to your engagement party, hen party etc. they should be invited to the wedding full stop.
  • Include the spouse or significant other of the person you’re inviting.
  • Be clear in your invite whether children are welcome, and whether guests have a plus one. The tone of your wedding should be set out in your invites. For lots of information, this can be added to your wedding website.

Paying for bridal party outfits

Bridesmaids

When you do a search on this one, the messages are mixed. Interestingly, when we ran a poll through our social channels the results determined that  78% think that the bride and groom to be should cover the cost.

For the most part, it is customary for the bridal party to pay for their own outfits.

But we think there are a few exceptions to this rule.

Remember, the role of the bridal party is to help the bride and groom with the planning of the wedding, the stag/hen parties/bridal showers and of course the actual day. Of course, it is an honour to be held in high esteem to the bride and groom but ultimately, they’re there to help your day go off without a hitch.

When should you have to pay?

If you’re wondering when you should pay for the bridal party outfits, we feel that any of the following circumstances would apply:

  • If you’re determining what they wear to fit in with your codes and guidelines. The chances are they would never wear it again so it’s something to be mindful of.
  • It’s hired: There is the argument that they would only be paying for an outfit anyway. However, in most cases, they’d have an outfit at home they could have worn instead- we can’t demand guests wear a new outfit. If you’re asking they hire something to fit in with a dress code, you should cover that cost.

Alternatively, you could off-set the cost of the outfits as a thank you gift, especially, as in most cases, they’ll be able to keep the outfit and accessories etc. Or you could ask the bridal party to contribute to the cost of their outfits.

Whatever you decide to do, make it very clear from the offset. This could be a consideration for them if they want to accept or reject the offer of being involved in your bridal party.

Consider the gaps in your day

When it comes to organising your special day you’ll likely set out an order of the day with your coordinator. This ensures that things have some kind of loose order to it so that all suppliers are on the same page and you’ll not have to worry about minute detail on the day. However, don’t neglect your guests when mapping things out.

There is often a bit of a lull on a wedding day, which isn’t a bad thing. Just make sure that it isn’t too long. Depending on timings, perhaps coordinate hor d’oeuvres/canapes to help tie them over. You’ll benefit from a little snack too. You may also coordinate a little entertainment like close up magic, a string quartet, or encourage your guests to let loose on the photo booth, depending on how long your gaps are.

Asking for gifts

Couples will often outline gift requests within the invitation- this is actually uncouth. You’ll likely be asked by your close friends and family what you’d like in the way of the gift. It’s actually best to share your gift list by word of mouth (when you’re asked). Alternatively, you could set up a wedding website (which is very common nowadays). Here you can add all other information pertaining to your wedding, including your requests for gifts.

Thank you’s

thank you note

Be sure to take the time to thank everyone involved in making your special day a dream come true:

At the wedding:

  • Give a special mention to family and close friends that have helped to execute your wedding in the speeches. Give out gifts during this time if appropriate.
  • Feed your vendors and suppliers. If you have people working throughout your day, it is customary to ensure a meal is prepared for them. If you would prefer they didn’t dine with your party, discuss with your venue other options available.

After the wedding:

  • Send thank you notes to guests that gave gifts or made a special effort to be a part of your day. This should be done 2-3 weeks after your wedding.
  • Shout about the amazing work your venue, vendors, suppliers and entertainers did. Do this via a written, personal review, a social media or Google review.

This is just a taste of some customs to be followed. Planning a wedding is a complex process. So, we’ll be sharing many suggestions to help make it a little clearer and easier for you. If you’ve any suggestions, we’d love to hear from you so be sure to give us a little comment below.

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