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Wedding Etiquette

1. Who Should Be the First to Know About My Engagement?

 

Avoid broadcasting the news (photos included) to social networks before sharing your engagement with family and friends. If you have any children from a previous marriage, they should be told first. Parents, family members, godparents, and anyone you are particularly close with should also be told before the news is public knowledge.

 

2. Can I Have Someone Besides My Father Walk Me Down the Aisle?

 

The bride’s father traditionally walks her down the aisle, but you can have anyone who is significant—mom or stepdad, brother or sister—walk you down the aisle. You can even walk alone or with more than one person.

 

No matter who walks you down the aisle, don’t let it be a last-minute decision. The most important thing is to maintain an open and honest dialogue with anyone impacted by your choice.

 

 

3. How Do I Get My Guests to RSVP?

 

Give guests at least 15 days between the invitation’s arrival and the RSVP deadline to figure out the logistics. Sending pre-stamped enclosure cards or permitting RSVP via email may also encourage guests to respond faster.

 

Approximately one week before the numbers are due to vendors, make follow-up calls to guests who have yet to reply. This is a great time to ask your wedding party or family for some help.

 

 

4. If I Know Someone Can’t Attend, Do I Need to Send an Invitation Anyway?

 

Because an invitation comes with the expectation of a gift, you don’t want people to think they have to give a gift even though they cannot attend. If someone lets you know that they have a conflict, don’t follow up with an invitation. In the case of very close friends and family, you may want to send an invitation anyway with a note that explains you are sending it as a keepsake.

 

5. Can I Skip the Cake?

 

There are certain traditions, like cutting the cake, that are okay to omit. Instead of cake, you may opt for something that provides more variety such as a candy bar or a selection of pies—it’s up to you.

 

If you do skip the cake, be aware that the cake cutting ceremony and serving of dessert is typically the signal to guests that it is okay to leave without being rude.

 

 

6. Who Hosts the Bridal Shower?

 

Anyone from the bridesmaids to the mother of the bride to the mother of the groom can host a bridal shower. In any case, the hostess should consult with the bride about the guest list, because shower guests should also be invited to the wedding.

 

 

7. Is It Okay to Use Mobile Devices to Upload Pictures During the Wedding?

 

When in doubt, it’s better to ask the couple’s permission before posting photos to any social media outlet—especially during the ceremony. Uploading photos not only distracts you from participating in the moment, but it also broadcasts details of the event to people who may not have been invited.

 

 

8. I’m Paying for the Wedding Myself, How Can I Tell My Parents I Don’t Want to Invite Certain People?

 

It may be best to give your parents an allotted amount of spots they can fill as they wish. If there are certain people you do not want in attendance, it’s best to have a private and honest conversation when you first discuss the guest list. Don’t insist your parents feel comfortable with the situation, but be clear about your wishes.

 

 

9.  How Do I Deal With Guests Who Ask to Bring Kids Even After We’ve Made It Clear They’re Not Invited?

 

You have to nip this in the bud. Call the guest (even if they’ve contacted you through another medium, like email) and kindly, but firmly explain that the invitation was just for the adults and that you hope they can still attend. Don’t make exceptions—it’s not fair to other guests who respect your wishes. You can, however, invite the flower girl and the ring bearer without being hypocritical.

 

 

10. How Long Do I Have to Send a Thank-You Note?

 

Though it’s best to send a thank-you note as soon as possible, you have approximately three months to express your gratitude. If the three-month timeframe has elapsed, send any lingering thank-you notes as soon as possible. Sending an email or putting a generic thanks on social media, your wedding website, or anywhere else does not replace a handwritten note.

 

To save time, the bride and groom can both write thank-you notes and simply sign each one. In a serious time crunch, it’s acceptable to send an email that acts as a digital placeholder to say you received the gift and a thank-you a note will follow.