Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Beach Wedding Etiquette
Many couples choose beach weddings because they can still have a full ceremony in a more intimate and casual setting. Hosts should provide a few amenities to make guests comfortable, and guests should still uphold general wedding etiquette.


    Most beach weddings are somewhat casual, allowing for khakis, sandals and dress shirts for men and modest but sleeveless dresses or casual pant suits for women. Unlike an indoor wedding, it's often permissible for guests to wear hats and sunglasses if necessary.

During the Ceremony

    Beach wedding guests should do what is polite in an indoor wedding--such as stand when the bride walks down the aisle and wait for row dismissal if applicable.

Staying Cool

    Water and snacks are traditionally reserved for receptions, but if it is warm, the hosts should provide water to keep guests hydrated and comfortable. Guests should drink water and use a fan if necessary.


    Because beach weddings seem more casual and parking is more of an issue, some guests may arrive late. However, guests should strive to arrive on time.

General Advice

    When in doubt about beach wedding etiquette, guests should do what is proper at an indoor wedding ceremony.

    Monday, December 30, 2013

    Even though weddings are a very joyous occasion, the event can be very expensive as well. In order to make the wedding and surrounding rituals particularly enjoyable and to avoid awkwardness, it's important for all parties involved to adhere to wedding cost etiquette.

    Bride's Expenses

      Traditionally, the bride is responsible for purchasing the groom's wedding ring. She also buys a wedding gift for the groom that is presented to him on the day of the wedding. According to etiquette, the bride should also purchase gifts for her bridesmaids as a token of appreciation. Some brides also purchase their own wedding dresses and accessories, but this has historically been the responsibility of the bride's family, particularly her parents.

    Groom's Expenses

      The groom pays for the bride's engagement and wedding rings and buys her bouquet. It is tradition for him to purchase the marriage license as well. He is also responsible for paying the wedding officiant and buying gifts for his groomsmen. Grooms also purchase their own boutonnieres, as well as the boutonnieres for the groomsmen and ushers. Corsages for the mothers of the bride and groom are also handled by the groom, as well as small gifts for the ushers.

    Parents of the Bride

      Wedding invitations and announcements, as well as the programs for the ceremony, are paid for by the bride's parents. The parents of the bride traditionally cover the cost of the wedding location and hire the musicians who will lend their talents to the ceremony. The mother and father of the bride also rent the reception space and buy the flowers and additional decorations for the wedding reception. The bride's family is responsible for purchasing the bouquets or flowers for the bridesmaids as well.

    Parents of the Groom

      The groom's mother and father take care of the costs associated with the wedding rehearsal dinner, including the dinner location (if at a restaurant or banquet hall), food and beverages. The parents of the groom also pay for the groom's cake, which is a small cake of the groom's choice that is served at the wedding reception. In some cases, the groom's family will partner with the bride's parents to take care of additional wedding expenses, such as rented wedding altars or reception catering services.

    Wedding Party

      The bridesmaids are expected to pay for their dresses, shoes and accessories, and groomsmen are responsible for purchasing or renting their own formal wear. The bridesmaids pay for the bride's bachelorette party, and the groomsmen cover the expenses for the groom's bachelor party. Ushers purchase their own formal attire for the wedding; if there are children in the wedding party (i.e. flower girls, miniature bride and groom, ring bearer), the parents of the children purchase all necessary clothing and accessories for their children.

      Sunday, December 29, 2013

      Wedding Showers Etiquette

      According to Emily Post, the wedding shower tradition dates back to an 18th century bride whose father did not like her choice of husband and refused to give her a dowry. The citizens of the groom's town, grateful for his unusual generosity, joined together and "showered" the bride with their own assets, creating enough of a dowry to make the marriage possible. The wedding shower tradition has evolved and, over time, certain etiquette rules have become standard.


        The bride's maid of honor is the customary hostess for a wedding shower, but any bridesmaid, friend of the bride's mother, friend of the groom's mother or distant relative of the bride is an appropriate hostess. Traditionally, members of the bride's immediate family do not host a wedding shower to avoid the appearance of requesting gifts on the bride's behalf. Members of the bride's family can help to organize the shower, but their names should not appear on the shower invitation. This logic extends, to a lesser degree, to members of the groom's family because the groom will also be using the gifts the bride receives at the shower. Etiquette rules dictate that a bride should not, under any circumstances, throw a shower for herself because she will be seen as merely asking for gifts.
        According to theknot.com, involvement of the bride's family is becoming increasingly acceptable because geographical distance among members of the bride's wedding party may make planning (or even attending) pre-wedding events impractical.


        Emily Post notes that a wedding shower theme is not necessary; rather, a shower simply celebrates the upcoming marriage of the couple. Customary wedding shower themes, however, often center on the gifts guests bring to the shower, such as a lingerie shower, spa shower or a kitchen shower.
        Wedding showers involving both the bride and the groom, often called "Jack and Jill" showers, are becoming more common. Themes for couples' showers should appeal to both genders, such as a "stock the bar" party or a tools and gadgets shower. Couples' showers have no strict rules, so an informal barbecue or a cocktail party is also appropriate.


        Wedding showers, like weddings, are laced with traditions. Strictly speaking, grooms do not attend wedding showers. However, one typical wedding shower tradition is for the groom to appear, with flowers, just before the bride opens the gifts. Other traditions include making a bouquet out of the ribbons and bows from shower gifts for the bride to use at the wedding rehearsal and collecting items for the bride's "something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue."


        Etiquette rules, in general, focus on avoiding the appearance of fishing for gifts. Accordingly, only guests invited to the wedding should be invited to a shower. Emily Post notes one exception to this rule--not all guests at a workplace shower need to be invited to the wedding.
        It is customary for the mother of the groom, and any sisters of either the bride or the groom, to be invited to all wedding showers, but inviting every female who is invited to the wedding is not necessary. According to Brides.com, sending invitations to guests who cannot attend the shower is not rude (but, rather, a nice gesture).


        Gifts are a focal point of a wedding shower. According to Martha Stewart Weddings, including the couple's registry information on the shower invitation is acceptable. The bride should open all shower gifts at the shower, and etiquette rules dictate that the bride should send handwritten thank you notes to each gift-giver (even if the bride thanked the gift-giver in person) and to the shower hostess. Guests should not be asked to address their own thank-you notes.
        If multiple showers are thrown for the bride, guests attending more than one shower need only give one gift. Also, a hostess does not need to give the bride a gift (the shower is a gift by itself), and it is appropriate for the bride to thank the hostess for throwing the shower while opening her gifts. Finally, a guest who cannot attend a shower should not feel obligated to send a gift.

        Saturday, December 28, 2013

        Wedding Glove Etiquette

        Your wedding is the perfect time for you to sheath your hands in a pair of attractive and elegant wedding gloves. Bridal gloves not only give you the right amount of charm, grace and elegance but they also make your hands look even more attractive. There are numerous varieties of bridal gloves for you to choose from. The market offers a wide range of wedding gloves in stunning designs, styles, patterns and colors. Selecting the perfect pair of wedding gloves is as important as practicing wedding glove etiquette.

        The Style

          Long gloves go well with sleeveless wedding gowns, while short gloves can be worn with long as well as short sleeves. Normally, the traditional color for bridal gloves is white, but your wedding gloves need not necessarily be white. Colored gloves can also be worn if they complement or match your wedding attire. It is also important to ensure that your wedding gloves match your wedding attire in terms of fabric as well as texture.

        Basic Etiquette

          Wedding glove etiquette is an essential part of culture and tradition. You must keep your gloves on while you are greeting guests, dancing or posing for photographs. Jewelry should never be worn over your gloves with the exception of bracelets, which are specifically designed to be worn over wedding gloves. One of the cardinal rules about wedding glove etiquette is to take off your gloves while eating. You would not want to get them soiled and stained with food or drink.

        The Wedding Ceremony

          Tradition demands that you should wear gloves during the entire wedding ceremony, though you will find that this can be a bit cumbersome. If you are wearing short gloves, you could remove them and give them to your attendant or bridesmaid just before you exchange rings. However, if you are wearing long elbow-length gloves, it would be very difficult and embarrassing to remove them in front of the whole wedding gathering. One alternative is to opt for fingerless gloves, which cover just the arms and hand, but stop at the fingers. You may also opt for ring finger wedding gloves, which have a slit on the ring finger that allows you to slide the ring finger out just before exchanging rings.


          You do not want to look awkward while struggling to take your gloves off, so keep practicing everyday until you are able to take your gloves off your hand in a swift, graceful and neat stroke. Even if you opt for a wedding glove with a slit on the ring finger, you would still need to remove your gloves during eating.

        The Reception Party

          You should continue wearing your gloves even after the wedding, until the reception party is over. Remember, unlike men, women should never remove their gloves when shaking hands and greeting guests. An important aspect of wedding glove etiquette is that the bride continues to wear her wedding gloves during dancing at the wedding reception. It adds an element of grace and elegance to your poise if you dance with your gloves on.

          Friday, December 27, 2013

          Japanese Wedding Etiquette

          Japanese weddings are rich with tradition. Many people of Japanese descent have chosen to combine both American and Japanese traditions so as to have a ceremony that reflects both cultures. When working in the traditional realm of Japanese, there is much symbolism to be incorporated.


            Most Japanese ceremonies take place in Shinto Shrines. This is a shrine built to protect sacred objects, not for worship. It is thought to protect the marriage by the ceremony taking place there. The bride is painted pure white from head to toe to declare her maiden status to the gods. The bride also wears a white kimono and ornate headpiece decorated with ornaments inviting good luck to the couple. A white hood is attached to wear like a veil in order to hide her "horns of jealousy," which of course do not really exist, from her future mother-in-law. In the fabled version there would be actual horns growing out of her head, as in the phrase "turning green with envy."
            Sake is also a part of the ceremony. The end is marked by the sharing of the drink from flat cups stacked on top of each other. Both the bride and groom take sips from each cup and then offer it to the families.

          Guest Etiquette

            Etiquette for the guests of the wedding include how they sit during the ceremony. The families face each other, not the couple, as they get married. During the reception, the guests take part in games, skits and karaoke. Another tradition is that of the festive envelope bearing money, presented to the bride and groom either before or after the ceremony by each of the guests.

          Honoring the Parents

            Usually during the wedding or reception, the couple will take time to honor their parents. The acknowledgment can be as simple as a bouquet of flowers or toast. Sometimes the bride and groom will opt to deliver a personal letter of love and thanks to the parents of both sides.


            At the reception, the bride will arrive in a brightly colored kimono, usually red. Each part of the meal at the reception is symbolic, wishing the couple different things in their marriage such as happiness, prosperity and long life. Lobster is often served because of the red color, which means luck. The number of courses never equals a multiple of four, as the word for four is too close in sound to the word for death.


            The white of the wedding kimono represents both a new beginning and an end as the daughter "dies" as her father's daughter. She is then reborn as a member of her husband's family. The red kimono is the end of her unmarried life. These types of garments are typically worn by young, unmarried women and this will be the last time she wears such a bright, patterned kimono. The color purple is the color of love in Japan, thereby making irises a favored flower.
            Another symbolic tradition is that of folding 1,001 gold origami cranes. These are meant to bring good luck, good fortune, longevity, fidelity and peace to the marriage. The bride and her family do the folding the night before the wedding.

            Thursday, December 26, 2013

            Wedding Etiquette for the Mother of the Bride

            If your daughter is getting married, youre probably wondering about your role. A daughters wedding is a very exciting time in a moms life, but it can also be stressful with all of the many details to think about, and the politics of planning an event with family. Many mothers need a little bit of guidance at some point during the process.


              If your family is very traditional, you might want to follow the mother of the bride custom of outfit picking. Traditionally, the mother of the bride chooses her outfit first, then informs the mother of the groom of her choice. This is not often done nowadays, but it is always a good idea to communicate with the mother of your soon-to-be son-in-law before the wedding. It is also always wise to simply ask your daughter about her thoughts regarding your attire. She may have very specific ideas about what she wants you to wear.


              It is traditional to avoid white, cream, champagne and ecru so that your outfit doesnt compete with your daughter's. Additionally, black and red are usually frowned upon as slightly inappropriate color choices, according to the website The Knot. That said, it is always possible to buck the trend with just the right outfit. If you are particularly fashion-conscious, you may want to experiment. Just be sure to run your choices by your daughter.


              Tradition states that the brides family should be the one to pay for the wedding. Just as with many marriage traditions, this rule is not hard and fast. These days it is common for both sides of the family to contribute financially to weddings. When your daughter starts the process of planning the wedding, sit down with her and discuss how much you are able and willing to contribute. This will help her figure out how much she needs from other family members and how much she will need to contribute herself, according to the website Our Marriage.


              Your number one responsibility as the mother of the bride is to make the wedding planning as easy as you can for your daughter. Planning a wedding can be a complex, stressful and difficult process with some pretty high stakes. Be willing to do the busy work, like assembling favors and organizing guest lists, and offer to take one or two parts of the planning entirely on your shoulders, like the flowers or music (with your daughter's input, of course). Try to make yourself as available as possible to help out and remember: Whatever stress you feel, your daughter feels more.

            Getting Ready

              One of the most cherished parts of a wedding for the mother of the bride is the getting ready. It is a good idea to prepare for this by figuring out where it will take place, according to Cheap Chic Weddings. If your daughters wedding is in a hotel, book a large room so you have plenty of space. If the wedding is outdoors, make sure you have an indoor space with plenty of mirrors ready to go.

              Tuesday, December 24, 2013

              Wedding etiquette is complicated enough during the most traditional of circumstances. Add parents who are exes, stepparents and battling checkbooks, and this special occasion can soon become a recipe for disaster. In order to avoid chaos, it is important to understand etiquette and most importantly for everyone involved in the wedding process to enjoy the celebration and play nice.


                Deciding what to write on wedding invitations can be a tricky decision when parents are divorced. According to mymarriage.com, if both parents are financially contributing to the wedding, it is customary for both names to be on the invitations, even if both sides are not contributing equally. If neither parent is paying for the big day, it is perfectly acceptable to send invitations announcing the marriage without including either family's name.


                Knowing where to sit at a child's wedding after a divorce is a common issue. If both parents are single, it is a good sign of camaraderie to sit together in the first row. This shows that both parents wish their child happiness and success, says bridalguide.com. If one party is remarried, it is normally proper for the mother and her guest to sit in the first row and the father and his escort to sit behind them in the second row.

              Down the Aisle

                Although walking a child down the aisle is often a rite of passage for the biological father, it is still a decision the bride ultimately makes. If she prefers a step-parent to escort her, biological parents should respect that decision, says ourmarriage.com. With traditional rules being abandoned in favor of comfort, it is now customary for a bride to choose to walk down the aisle however she prefers; either alone, with her groom, with both biological parents or with a special friend.


                Stepparents can feel awkward at their stepchildren's weddings. They may feel unsure of what role to play or question if they should even be present. Other stepparents who have played more active roles in their children's lives may feel resentful that a biological parent is receiving all the attention and credit. Stepparents should be respectful toward biological parents during ceremonies, says mywedding.com, but they should also know they have a right to attend these functions and should feel comfortable doing so.


                With many couples waiting longer and longer to marry, it is becoming less important for their families to pay for their weddings. When children are older and have the financial means to pay for their own weddings, parents and stepparents can offer whatever financial support they desire. However, when the financial obligation falls on the parents, it is customary for all parties paying for the wedding to negotiate what they feel is fair. Bridalguide.com stresses that wedding contributions should not be made to make oneself appear better or to belittle another party. All resources should be provided with grace, including the nonfinancial ones like support, help with decision making and attendance.
                Weddings & Divorce Etiquette
                The purpose of etiquette is to create codes of behavior that enable people to know what to do and say in social situations. Among social situations, weddings can sometimes be difficult when there are divorced family members involved. It might not be possible to please everyone, but by following some basic guidelines of wedding etiquette for divorced family members it is possible to make appropriate decisions that avoid offending anyone.

                Wedding Invitations

                  The wedding invitations are the responsibility of those who are hosting the wedding, and this is traditionally the bride's parents. A wedding invitation typically reads: "John and Jane Doe invite you to the celebration of marriage between their daughter..." If John and Jane Doe are no longer married but are still hosting the wedding, their names are listed separately: "John Doe and Jane Doe invite you ..." If the parents are remarried, their names and the names of their respective spouses are listed separately: "Jane and Bob Smith and John and Cindy Doe invite you..." The wording should be similar for the groom. The final decision about how to word the invitations should be based on who is hosting the wedding.

                Seating Arrangements

                  In the case of divorced parents, the bride's and groom's mothers should be seated in the front pews. If they are remarried, their spouses should be seated with them. The fathers and their new spouses should be seated in the second row during the ceremony. If the divorced parents are comfortable sitting together, it is also appropriate to seat them and any new spouses in the front row together. During the reception, the bride's parents (and any respective spouses) should be seated next to her--with whatever arrangements the families find most comfortable--and similarly with the groom's parents.

                Walking Down the Aisle

                  Typically, the bride's father walks her down the aisle during the ceremony. If the bride is closer to a stepfather, or if the stepfather assumed the responsibility of raising the bride, the bride may ask her stepfather to walk her down the aisle, although the bride should discuss this with her father to avoid offending him. In some cases, the bride may have both her father and her stepfather walk her down the aisle.


                  The bride and groom should discuss photographs in advance with their families to ensure that no complications arise when the big day arrives. There is no required etiquette for wedding photographs, although tradition indicates that the bride's family should be photographed next to her and the groom's family next to him. How the bride's and groom's families choose to arrange themselves--and whether divorced parents are willing to be photographed together--is up to them and their situation.

                Toasts and Dances

                  The bride's father is traditionally invited to offer a speech, although this might be a challenge if the bride's parents are divorced. If the bride's mother is uncomfortable with being included in the toast, she may offer a toast of her own, or the bride's stepfather may offer a toast. A parents' dance is also a tradition during a reception, although this may be eliminated if it makes the parents uncomfortable. The bride and groom should inform the DJ in advance about the marriages to avoid awkwardness when the parents are announced.

                  Monday, December 23, 2013

                  Once the wedding and honeymoon are over, there is still one wedding task that must be attended to. The thank you cards must be sent out to every person that graciously sent you a gift for your showers, parties and the actual wedding itself. There are some myths out there on proper etiquette for wedding thank you cards that should be avoided so you don't seem ill-mannered or disrespectful.

                  Time Frame for Sending Thank You Cards

                    Any gifts received for the engagement party or bridal shower should have thank you cards sent within 1 to 2 weeks. Every other aspect of these thank you notes follows the same guidelines as the actual wedding gifts. Gifts that are received before the wedding should be acknowledged immediately. Send out the thank you cards for these gifts within 2 to 5 days of receiving the gift.
                    For gifts that you receive on the day of your wedding, the thank you cards should be sent out within 2 to 4 weeks of returning home from your honeymoon. If you have a large number of thank you's to wriite, try writing 10 percent of them each day for 10 days. That way, you'll be able to send them all out within the proper time frame and it won't be such a burden, like writing 100 thank you cards at once.

                  The Actual Thank You Cards

                    Preprinted, generic thank you cards must never be sent for wedding gifts. Each card should be written entirely by hand. This also means verbal thank you's are not enough. Emails and websites or blog posts are not proper either. Many invitation companies offer thank you cards with the invitations. While it is not required that the cards match your invitations, it does keep things simpler and cleaner looking.
                    While colored ink is available and interesting, black or dark blue ink is the best to use for wedding thank you cards. It looks more elegant and is usually easier on the eyes. Address and stamp the envelopes by hand, just as you did the actual invitations. These little personal details on each thank you card let your guests know that their time and generosity are truly appreciated. Make sure you add your return address, especially if your address has changed since the wedding.
                    While certain timelines are deemed appropriate, go ahead and send out your thank you cards even if you're late. It is better to receive a late thank you card than none at all.

                  Wording for Thank You Cards

                    Thank you cards should be addressed in a formal manner for people you aren't very close to, such as "Dear Mr. and Mrs. Jones," for married couples; or "Dear Ms. Smith" for a single person. For close family or friends, "Dearest Aunt June" is fine.
                    In the body of your card, use the words "I" and "we" as little as possible, and try to focus all of the attention on the recipient. Also, mention the gift that was given and what it will be used for. In the event you don't like it or intend to exchange it, never mention that. If the person also attended your wedding, be sure to mention that you appreciate and enjoyed their attendance. For example, if you enjoy the gift, you could write:
                    "Dear Mr. and Mrs. Jones,
                    Thank you so much for the silverware. It looks so lovely at our place settings. Each time we entertain guests, you will be thought of. Thank you for celebrating our special day with us.
                    Jon and Jane Smith"
                    For a gift that you don't particularly care for, you could write:
                    "Dear Mr. Peters,
                    Thank you so much for the stemware. Each time we use it you will be thought of. Thank you for taking part in our special day.
                    Jon and Jane Smith"
                    For monetary gifts, whether it is in the form of cash, checks, savings deposits or donations, you should always thank the gift giver. Refrain from using the terms money or checks, and it is better to stay away from mentioning dollar amounts. Instead, write something like:
                    "Dearest Uncle Joe and Aunt Doris,
                    Thank you so much for your generous gift. That helps us get much closer to our savings goal for a down payment on a new house. We'll be sure to invite you to the house warming. Thank you for celebrating our wedding with us.
                    Love Always,
                    Jon and Jane Smith"
                    For anyone you receive multiple gifts from, send a separate thank you card for each gift. Acknowledge other family members in the body of your card if more than just the couple was involved or attended your wedding. Even if someone didn't give you a gift, you should graciously thank them for attending your wedding.

                  Who Should Receive Thank You Cards

                    Anyone that sent you a gift should obviously receive a thank you card. However, there are quite a few others that can be overlooked but really deserve to know they are appreciated. Your parents, or anyone who helped to plan and host your wedding should get a card of gratitude. Anyone who hosted a party or dinner or shower in your honor should receive a thank you card. Vendors and attendants that helped make your day should be acknowledged as well. Do not forget to thank your attendants, parents and everyone else that dedicated their time and effort to make the day special for you and your spouse.
                    When sending a thank you card for the hostess of your bridal shower, you can also use the same card to thank her for her gift. Likewise with the hosts of other events, one card outlining your appreciation for each specific thing you are thankful for is appropriate.

                    Saturday, December 21, 2013

                    Wedding Etiquette for Widowed Parents

                    To honor and include widowed parents in wedding planning and the big day, follow a few simple rules of etiquette and discuss your ideas with them. Consider their changed situations when determining your budget and deciding on the roles they'll play during your ceremony and reception. Your wedding day will go smoothly and your parents will be happy with their part in making it a success

                    Invitations and Announcements

                      When a parent of the bride or groom is widowed, use the surviving parent's name on the invitation or announcement. If she hasn't remarried, a widow uses her married name, just as she did when her husband was living. For example, Mrs. John Smith is still Mrs.John Smith, not Mrs. Mary Smith. If a widow has remarried, she has the option of using her first husband's name along with her current husband's name. For example, if Mrs. John Smith marries Mr. Robert Jones, she may call herself Mrs. Robert Jones or Mrs. Smith Jones.

                    Ceremony Planning

                      When a parent is widowed, the role that the spouse would have played in the ceremony can be conferred on a close relative. For example, if the bride's father is deceased, she might ask a brother, uncle or cousin to escort her. If the widowed parent has remarried or has a significant other with whom you have a close relationship, honor him with a role in your ceremony.

                    Ceremony Seating

                      Traditionally, the groom's parents and the bride's mother are seated after everyone else. The groom's parents take their seats in the first row to the right of the aisle. The bride's mother is then escorted by an usher or groomsman to her seat in the first row to the left of the aisle. If the groom's mother is widowed, she should be escorted to her seat by an usher or groomsman. If the groom's father is a widower, he may walk to his seat unescorted.
                      Sometimes the bride asks both parents to walk down the aisle with her. If her father is deceased, she may ask her mother to escort her. In that case, the bride's mother would walk with her and then take her seat in the first row.


                      The reception usually features a first dance led by the bride and groom, followed by the bride dancing with her father, the groom with his mother, then the parents of both the bride and groom dancing together. If a parent is widowed, hasn't remarried and isn't in a relationship, ask what he or she would prefer to do in this situation. The widowed parent might prefer to sit out the dance entirely, or to dance with the person who stood in for her deceased spouse during the ceremony.

                    Financial Details

                      In the past, the parents of the bride were expected to pay for most of the wedding expenses. The groom's parents were responsible for the rehearsal dinner, and the groom paid the officiant and picked up the tab for the groomsmen's incidental expenses.
                      Today, many couples pay at least part of their own wedding expenses and, depending on their financial health and their parents' situations, might pay for all of the costs of their wedding. If you're depending on your parents for help with expenses, be sensitive to the altered financial situation of a widowed parent. Although he might want to help, it could be a strain to do so. Don't insist on following outdated rules if they don't make sense for those involved. Discuss the wedding budget with all of the parents and work out a plan that's fair for everyone.
                      When using table cards for a wedding reception, it's important to know the proper etiquette for labeling and positioning the cards. Proper table card presentation will serve as just another element that makes the day even more elegant.

                      Where to Present Cards

                        The table cards can be positioned at each table before reception guests arrive, according to A Wedding Reception. One card is placed in front of every chair, so every guest receives one and can see the information on the card before sitting down. Table cards also can be placed on a table outside the reception area, so guests can pick up a card with their name and table number. A decorative tree with table cards hanging from the branches can also be placed at the reception site so guests can take a card before being seated.

                      Style and Presentation

                        The style of table cards should coordinate with the formality of the reception. At formal events, quality paper (perhaps the same kind used for the invitations) can be used for table cards, accompanied by a gold or silver border. Fonts can be creative but should be bold print and easy for guests to read. Certified special events professional Tracy Bloom Schwartz says that table cards can also be an object that coordinates with the wedding theme, such as a flower or small gift. Just remember to make sure guests can read their names clearly on the item.


                        For formal weddings, it is appropriate for table cards to include a prefix, as well as the guest's full name, i.e. Mr. John Smith. When seating married couples together, you can use either "Mrs. John Smith" or the woman's name, i.e. "Mrs. Jane Smith." For informal receptions, simply using the guests' first and last names for the table cards is acceptable. Some couples even choose to use first names only for the place cards. If there are two guests with the same first name, use the first initial of the guest's last name to help avoid confusion.

                      Guest's Dates

                        It's a nice gesture to find out the name(s) of any dates guests will be bringing to the wedding or reception. If you're having a large event, write out your guest's table card, and place a card that says "guest of (name of your guest)" in front of the chair next to your friend or loved one's seat at the table. According to Schwartz, it is also acceptable to list your wedding guests and his or her date's name on the same table card. However, the woman's name should always be listed first. The same type of card and font style should be used for the date's table card.

                      Table Cards and Seating Arrangements

                        Since the table cards will be placed at each designated seat when guests arrive, you can arrange the guests' seating. In most instances, it's best to seat couples together, or to have several friends or family members at one table, especially if the wedding is fairly large and you know there are several people who have never met. For more intimate receptions where you want to encourage mingling, arrange place cards so couples or friends are not seated next to each other, but are at the same table. "In this case," says Schwartz, "guests should alternate, male and female."

                        Thursday, December 19, 2013

                        Etiquette for Addressing Wedding Invites to an Apartment

                        When considering the wording you use on your envelopes, keep in mind that a wedding is an extremely formal occasion. Unless you have sent out save-the-date cards, your invitation is the first impression people will have of your wedding, whether it is formal or casual, in a church or a friend's backyard.

                        General Rules

                          When addressing an envelope be sure to address the envelope by hand. If it seems overwhelming, enlist the help of bridesmaids and family who have nice handwriting. You may also want to consider hiring a professional calligraphy service. Do not ever use address labels. Try to avoid exceeding five lines when addressing envelopes.

                        Addressing to an Apartment

                          The first line of the address is where the names of the guests appear. Use formal first names, (for example Abigail as opposed to Abby). A second title line can be used for another guest name; otherwise it should have the street address or post office box. All words in the address should be spelled out, including single digit street numbers. A street name that is a number can be written two ways--123 East 3rd Street or 123 East Third Street. A sample address containing an apartment would look something like this:
                          Mr. And Mrs. John Doe
                          213 South Maple Street Apartment 3
                          Chino, California 91710

                        Addressing to an Apartment and Building

                          If addressing an envelope to a building and apartment, you may need to use two lines to fit the street address. The envelope may become complicated in the rare case that you have already used two lines for the name. An example address to an apartment and building is as follows:
                          Mr. And Mrs. John Doe
                          213 South Maple Street Building 4
                          Apartment 12
                          Chino, California 91710

                        Alternative Options

                          Always remember that if you do not follow the wedding etiquette rules for addressing an envelope to an apartment or building there are usually no serious repercussions (unless you upset the great aunt who is paying for the wedding). Feel free to change or adjust your envelope to suit your personal style and the formality of your wedding.

                        Other Etiquette

                          Send out your invitations six to eight weeks in advance to allow your guests enough time to clear their schedules and make travel arrangements. Save-the-date cards can be sent up to three months in advance, and the information for destination weddings may be sent up to six months in advance. Be sure your response card envelopes have stamps on them as an added courtesy to your guests.

                          Tuesday, December 17, 2013

                          Exhibiting the proper etiquette and wording in your wedding invitations when there are three sets of parents hosting your wedding prevents complications such as hurt feelings or leaving someone out. Determine the best invitation wording based on the formality of your wedding, who is paying for--or hosting--the wedding and the relationships you and your betrothed have with everyone involved.

                          From the Parents

                            List each set of parents on the invitation if all of them are paying for the wedding or if it's important to you and your fiance. Formal weddings typically include at least the bride's parents' names. If the bride's parents are divorced and remarried and all of the parents are helping host, invitations could be worded like:
                            "Mr. and Mrs. Joe Smith and Mr. and Mrs. Steven Jenkins
                            Mr. and Mrs. Robert Jackson
                            request the honour of your presence
                            at the marriage of their children..."
                            The bride's mother is listed first, then her father, followed by the groom's parents. If the bride's divorced parents are co-hosting but you'd still like to include the groom's parents as well, you could use the following wording:
                            "Mr. and Mrs. Joe Smith and Mr. and Mrs. Steven Jenkins
                            request the honour of your presence
                            at the marriage of their daughter
                            Jennifer Marie Jenkins
                            Raymond Earl Jackson
                            son of
                            Mr. and Mrs. Robert Jackson..."
                            If the groom's parents are divorced and remarried, the groom's mother would be listed first, followed by his father, using the same format. If the bride's mother is unmarried, drop all of the titles and use her first, maiden and married name unless she has gone back to her maiden name, in which case you'd list her first and maiden name.
                            For a less formal wedding, or if you'd like to name each parent, list them as "Joe and Jacki Smith and Steven and Sarah Jenkins."

                          From the Couple

                            Using invitations that list only the bride and groom's names is another option if you are hosting your own wedding, don't want to exclude or include certain parents or stepparents or just want to cut down on too many names being mentioned to avoid confusing or overwhelming your guests.
                            If everyone is contributing to the cost of the wedding, you could use:
                            "Together with their parents,
                            Jennifer Marie Jenkins
                            Raymond Earl Jackson
                            request the honour of your presence
                            at their marriage..."
                            Or, simply issue the invitations from both of you:
                            "Jennifer Marie Jenkins
                            Raymond Earl Jackson
                            request the honour of your presence..."

                          Things to Consider

                            Marrying your fiance is supposed to bring your families together and create or strengthen relationships and bonds you both have with your families. If one of you has a new stepparent that you don't wish to include on the actual invitation, or worse, the other parent would be hurt by it, consider not mentioning any names on the invitations, but include the parents' names on your wedding program. Before ordering any of your wedding stationery, particularly your invitations, give each parent a copy of your plans to address any complaints or concerns. This way no one is surprised and you can adjust the wording if necessary.

                            Wedding Etiquette for Kids

                            Children often take part in weddings, serving as the ring bearer or flower girl. However, couples might not know how to handle children at their weddings beyond these basic roles. From how you extend invitations to children to how you keep them occupied at your reception, there are a number of considerations to make when including children at your wedding. Follow basic etiquette guidelines when inviting even the youngest of guests.


                              If you are inviting children to your wedding, include their names on the invitation. On the outer envelope, list the children's names underneath the parents' names. Use first names only, such as "Jack, Jill and Jane." Include those names on the inner envelope as well, again under the parents' names.


                              If you expect to have a number of kids at your reception, consider offering a special kids' meal. This is especially important if you are having a plated reception, as you won't want to serve---or pay for---filet mignon for a six-year-old. Most venues and caterers can offer a kid-friendly meal that will please your younger guests and be light on your wallet.


                              Consider seating children together at a special kids' table. You can include coloring books and small toys at the table to keep kids occupied as they wait for dinner.


                              If you want to give parents a break and keep the kids entertained, consider hiring a babysitter for the reception. After the kids eat, they can relocate to a private room where they can watch movies or play with toys. This creates a more adult atmosphere for your reception and allows guests to let loose without worrying about their kids.

                            Adults-Only Reception

                              If you do not want children at your reception, clearly indicate this on your invitation. Super Weddings.com suggests including "Adults-Only Reception" or "Adult Reception" on the bottom of your invitation. Include this stipulation on all invitations, so that you do not single out parents.

                            Etiquette for Guests

                              If you receive a wedding invitation that states that the reception is for adults only, do not bring your children or ask for an exception. According to The Emily Post Institute, unless your children receive a separate invitation or have their names listed on your invitation, you can assume that they are not invited to the wedding.

                              Monday, December 16, 2013

                              Individuals of Italian heritage who are planning getting married will likely want to incorporate elements of the culture into their wedding ceremony and reception. It's important to be aware of some essential Italian wedding etiquette rules to make the ceremony especially sentimental.

                              Wedding Attire

                                Wedding guests should be dressed elegantly for an Italian wedding, but it is best to avoid outfits that are too gaudy or revealing. Women should not wear blouses or dresses with plunging necklines; dresses with excessive amounts of rhinestones or sequins should be avoided, as these articles of clothing garner too much attention, and the bride is to be the central focus of the celebration. Men should wear a dark suit (black or navy blue); however a navy blue sport coat and slacks is acceptable.

                              Etiquette for Groom

                                In northern Italy, it is customary for the groom to wait at the steps of the church for his bride to arrive, with a bouquet of flowers to present to her. In some parts of Italy, proper wedding etiquette suggests that the groom is responsible for walking the bride, along with the wedding party, to the church where the ceremony will take place. When the groom walks the bride up to the church doors, the two will often find a ribbon tied to some part of the door knob or handle, symbolizing the union the two are preparing to enter into.

                              Etiquette for Bride

                                The wearing of the bridal veil is a tradition that originated in Italy, according to Life in Italy.com. The veil represents the bride purity, and traditional veils cover the bride's entire face, so that she can be "revealed" at the end of the ceremony. While the bride and groom are greeting guests and thanking them for coming to the ceremony and reception, the bride is also responsible for handing out the Italian wedding favors, which are candy-coated almonds called "confetti." Each guests is given five almonds in a small decorated pouch to represent happiness, health, wealth, long life and fertility.

                              Wedding Toasts

                                Proper etiquette indicates that the father of the bride is the first to make a toast at the reception. After this, the best man is in charge of giving the toast that will take place right before dinner, known as the "per cent'anni," which is a wish for the bride and groom to stay together for one hundred years. Other toasts can also be made throughout the night by friends and family members, including the "evviva gli sposi," which is a cheer for the new couple. The groom receives "demands" from the crowd to kiss his new bride, and guests also kiss the bride for good luck.

                              Reception Dances

                                Lively music is often played at Italian wedding receptions, particularly at celebrations in southern Italy. The bride and groom should be the first to dance, according to etiquette. After this, the bride shares a dance with her father, and the groom dances with his mother. Guests are also encouraged to dance with the bride and groom during the reception; male guests dance with the bride, and female guests dance with the groom. It is customary to give the couple money during this time as well; the bride often carries a purse or "bursa" with her while dancing. When money is collected, it is given to an older family member for safe keeping until after the reception.

                                Sunday, December 15, 2013

                                The Best Man Wedding Etiquette

                                A bachelor party, a toast, the rings--as the groom's closest friend--a best man has several duties and responsibilities. From helping pick out the tuxedos to even driving the couple to the hotel or the airport, a best man is someone the groom can count on to help make the wedding a success.

                                Weddings are dependent on tradition, and the best man is an important role. There are some dos and don'ts for the best man to remember.

                                Before the Wedding

                                  The best man is the groom's confidante. It's not enough just to show up. He needs to be there for support. If the groom is taking responsibility planning the honeymoon, ask if he needs help or offer suggestions.
                                  A bride and groom often decide together whether the wedding will be formal, dress or casual. A best man should coordinate with the groom and other groomsmen on either renting a tuxedo or buying a suit. This is one time when it's important for "the guys" to shop together. A best man traditionally pays for his own attire for the wedding, as do the other groomsmen.
                                  Act as a liaison rounding up the other groomsmen, so the groom doesn't have to make the calls. Then follow up and ensure that everyone has their suit or tux and know exactly where to be on the wedding day.

                                The Bachelor Party

                                  Wilder is not better when it comes to a bachelor party, especially if the party is the night before the wedding. It might be best to plan the event for a week before the big event. Remember to keep the bride in mind as you plan. "Mild and wild" is the best motto.
                                  After all, your best friend has found his lifelong partner and you don't want to be in the middle of a break up because of a party you planned. Another thing to remember is to keep the pictures and videos to a minimum and be discreet about the photos you do take.
                                  The best man and groomsmen plan and pay for the party.

                                At the Wedding

                                  The best man acts as a valet for the groom before the wedding. Be dressed early and ride with him to the church or wedding site as well as helping him get dressed.
                                  Make sure the groom has the marriage license with him. If the groom and bride are leaving for the honeymoon right after the reception, make sure the groom has the tickets, passports and identification they will need. Traditionally, the groomsmen and groom are ready and waiting for the bride. Bring some cards or a game system to help pass time before the ceremony. This might help a nervous groom relax.
                                  Remember to have the rings handy so you won't need to fumble around for them during the ceremony.

                                The Toast

                                  A best man's toast at the wedding reception is his most important role. It's okay to be funny, but remember this is not amateur night at the Improv. Don't bring up the groom's or brides's former flames and don't talk about the groom's sexual exploits before he met Mrs. Right.
                                  Keep the toast short and focus on the couple. Share a special story about the two of them together. Say something nice about the bride and toast the bridesmaids for their part in the wedding.
                                  Remember, the toast is about the bride and groom, not you. Don't wing it. If you need to write your speech or a few notes down, type it out and print it so that you can refer to it occasionally.
                                  Author John Bowden suggests including a memorable quote in the toast. And if you are really nervous about how it sounds, practice in front of a mirror or run it by one of the other groomsmen or the maid of honor if you know her well. It's OK to have a drink before you give the toast but it's not OK to be drunk.

                                After the Wedding

                                  The ceremony's over, but that doesn't mean the best man is off the hook. After the nuptials, he should sign the marriage license as a witness. Often the groom will entrust the best man with the money that is due to the minister.
                                  The best man should dance with the bride, both mothers and the bridesmaids at the reception. Traditionally, it is the best man and groomsmen who decorate the car the couple will use to depart the reception. The best man also bears the duty of "tasteful decorating," keeping the bride in mind.
                                  Check with the groom and arrange to help load any luggage into the vehicle before the ceremony.

                                Other Duties

                                  If the couple is leaving on a honeymoon, the best man should ensure the groom's tuxedo is returned to the rental store in a timely manner. Take these duties seriously. Being a best man is more than an honor. What you do as best man often sets the tone for your friendship with the groom after his marriage.

                                  Friday, December 13, 2013

                                  Every detail of a wedding during each step of the process has its own set of rules and proper etiquette guidelines. The rehearsal dinner invitations are no different. The person, or couple, hosting the rehearsal dinner needs to determine how formal it will be, where it will be, who to invite and how formal the invitations should be. The dinner and invitations should never outshine those for the wedding, but should rather complement the wedding. After the rehearsal dinner plans are made, it's time to choose invitations and send them off.

                                  Invitation Basics

                                    Invitations to the wedding rehearsal dinner can be simple hand-written notes or elegant engraved cards;however they should never be more formal or fancy than the wedding invitations. They can even be "informals," which are small fold-over cards with the names of the hosts (e.g., Mr. and Mrs. Mathews) engraved in black or navy ink centered on the front, or fill-in-the-blank invitations.
                                    The bride, groom, their parents, grandparents, the wedding party and their families should all be invited to the dinner. Inviting out-of-town guests is not require; however, it is a nice gesture.
                                    Send the invitations out two to four weeks before the dinner so everyone has time to coordinate and plan their schedule. Include RSVP information for a final head count.

                                  Addressing the Envelope

                                    Envelopes for the rehearsal dinner invitations should include the names of all invited guests. For instance, if the bride's father is a doctor and she has underage siblings at home, the envelope could be addressed to "Dr. and Mrs. James Smith and Family." However, if her underage brother is also in the wedding, he should receive his own invitation in which "Mr." could be used, or skipped.
                                    For children who are in the wedding party, consider addressing the family's invitation to the child and family, such as "Emily Smith and Family" which will make her feel honored and special.

                                  Addressing Titles Within the Invitation

                                    The formality of the dinner will likely govern how formal the invitation wording is. For an elegant sit-down dinner, the invitations may be more formal with wording such as t
                                    "Mr. and Mrs. Johnson request your presence...."
                                    The bride and groom's names are usually listed using their first names only, even if the groom's parents, or whoever is hosting the dinner, chooses to use a formal approach to their own names. On the other hand, the hosts can opt to use their first names as well if that is how they'd like to be addressed at the rehearsal dinner. In other words, if you'd like to be on a first-name basis at the dinner, try such wording as "Eric and Janet Johnson request your presence at the Rehearsal Dinner honoring Laura and Kevin...."
                                    Choose straightforward wording to list pertinent information or try a cute poem to add to a lighthearted, relaxed atmosphere.

                                    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

                                    How to List Step Parents in a Wedding Program
                                    Wedding programs serve a couple of purposes. They let your guests know what to expect during the ceremony and enable them to follow along, even during cultural traditions or religious prayers they may not be familiar with. Programs make wonderful keepsakes from your wedding. They also serve to let guests know who's who, which is particularly helpful for a large wedding or when there are unconventional people you would like to include and introduce, such as step parents.

                                    If You're Close

                                      List step parents in a meaningful way, particularly if they are close to you or your fiance. For example, if the bride's mother remarried when she was young and she's close to her stepfather, he should be mentioned. Likewise, her father's current wife should be listed as well. If you're close to one, but not the other, you should still list them equally to avoid being disrespectful or causing hurt feelings. After all, the day should be about you getting married, not sniveling parents or step parents.
                                      Under the "parents" section of your program, list them like this:
                                      "Parents of the Bride
                                      Judy and John Smith (mom and step dad's name)
                                      Billy and Brenda Brown (dad and step mom's name)"
                                      Avoid using the term "step" if possible because it may hurt someone's feelings. It may also be considered rude, unless you are naming a specific duty along with the title. The wording should ultimately include all parties without making any of them feel slighted.
                                      Another option is to include the step parents in some way. Perhaps your stepfather can be an usher or groomsman, and your stepmother can read a passage or poem. When you list their names alongside their roles, you can include "bride's stepfather" or whatever the proper title may be.

                                    If You Aren't Close

                                      When it comes to step parents that you aren't close to, or perhaps the groom's dad is on wife number six, you don't have to include them if you don't want to. However, if that would make your parents upset or if you are including one step parent because you are close, or friendly, it's only polite to include them all. For generic wording if you aren't particularly close to either, you could use:
                                      "Groom's Parents:
                                      Jenna Baker escorted by her husband Leo Baker
                                      Adam Cobb escorted by his wife Leah Cobb"

                                    Other Ideas

                                      To avoid snubbing the parents, particularly if one parent has remarried while the other hasn't, try alternative ways of including the step parents. Perhaps only the biological parents could be listed under the "parents" section. However, differentiate between parents who are no longer married, even if they still share the same last name. For example:
                                      "Parents of the Bride
                                      Margaret Williams
                                      Peter Williams
                                      Parents of the Groom:
                                      Sally Mason
                                      Gene Smith"
                                      Then, create another section to add step parents, such as a "step parents" section or "other mentions" section. They could be listed as follows:
                                      "Bride's Stepmother
                                      Trisha Williams
                                      Groom's Step parents
                                      Michael Mason
                                      Rita Smith"
                                      It is best if you can list the step parents names next to their spouse's names to avoid further confusion. In the case of an irritated parent not wanting the step parent under the "parents" section, use terms such as "bride's family" instead of "parents."

                                      Etiquette for Wedding Reception Times

                                      A wedding reception is an exciting event. It follows the wedding service and provides the bride and groom with a chance to relax a little after the ceremony and spend some time interacting with the guests. The reception also provides a way for the bride and groom to thank the guests for coming to the wedding by providing them with food and beverages. As with all parts of a wedding, there is etiquette to bear in mind with regard to wedding reception times, and brides and grooms should plan carefully in order to take the needs of guests into account and to ensure that everyone has the best possible time at the reception.

                                      After the Wedding

                                        Most brides and grooms plan for the photographs to be taken after the wedding ceremony is over but before the reception begins. The problem that arises, however, is when the photographs take too long and guests are waiting for the reception. The bride and groom should thus plan ahead to prevent the photographs from taking too long, even more so if they plan to have a receiving line to greet their guests. An acceptable time between the ceremony and the reception can be 30 to 45 minutes; when the wait time reaches upwards of an hour guests begin to get frustrated. The bride and groom should also make cocktails or some type of refreshment available during the wait.

                                      Length of Reception

                                        A standard wedding reception lasts anywhere from three to four hours, so the bride and groom should plan for guests to stay that long. The larger the guest list, however, the longer the potential for the reception to extend in time. There is nothing wrong with guests remaining at the reception after the bride and groom have left, however, so the wedding planners should be prepared to keep the food and beverages available for those who want to stay and continue the party.

                                      Time of Day

                                        Time of day is a factor to take into account for the length of the wedding reception. A morning wedding will have a shorter reception afterward, largely because guests might have other plans for the day. A wedding that is held in the late afternoon or evening, however, can have a reception that lasts well into the night. The wedding planners should consider the time of day during which the wedding and reception will be held in order to prepare for how long the reception needs to be.

                                      Cutting It Short

                                        While three to four hours is standard, wedding reception etiquette does allow for shorter receptions, particularly if there is a conflict at the venue. The reception should be at least one hour to one hour and a half, as long as the bride and groom use discretion in indicating time constraints to guests. The main goal, however, is that guests not be made to feel uncomfortable and the bride and groom be sure to welcome everyone and thank them for attending.

                                      Late Guests

                                        Wedding guests are, of course, encouraged to show up to the reception on time, particularly if the bride and groom plan a receiving line for greeting their guests. Some guests, however, will be unable to make it to the reception on time. Wedding etiquette discourages late guests at the ceremony, but the bride and groom should welcome late guests at the reception, since this is generally a more informal event.

                                        Monday, September 30, 2013

                                        The Time Etiquette for a Wedding RSVP

                                        When sending out wedding invitations, many brides and grooms are unsure of the time they should allow for guests to respond. By following a few simple guidelines you can be sure to allow plenty of time for your guests to respond and make any travel arrangements necessary, without causing them any inconvenience.


                                          Be sure to send out your invitations at a very early date if you have specific needs in regard to your location or caterer. The earlier guests receive an invitation, the earlier you can expect a response. You will also leave yourself more time to call any one who did not respond in time to secure a definite response. Include any information in the invitation that is pertinent to the occasion, such as the venue, whether indoors or outdoors, or if the reception is onsite or at a different location.

                                        Traditional Weddings

                                          Six to eight weeks in advance is an acceptable amount of time to send out wedding invitations. Leaving a guest two to four weeks to respond should be plenty of time. Many guests will respond as soon as they get an invitation, but to leave time for the procrastinators, allow two to four weeks from the time you send out the invitation. It is perfectly acceptable to ask a guest to respond four weeks before the wedding. Allow three or four days for any cards that were mailed on the deadline, and begin making your phone calls to find out about the stragglers.

                                        Destination Weddings

                                          If you are planning a destination wedding, or a wedding that is in an interesting location, you should send save-the-dates or invitations up to three months in advance. You can ask for a response up to two months in advance, especially if you are securing accommodations for guests and assisting in travel arrangements. It would also be a charming gesture to add information in the invitation about local attractions or historical landmarks that guests may be interested in seeing.

                                        Unsure of Answer

                                          There will be some guests who are unsure of their answer. You can either ask for a definite answer after the response time has ended, or you can plan for them to attend. If you can afford it, consider including a few extra meals at a formal reception for the inevitable great aunt who did not respond, or said no, and has now decided she can attend.

                                        Other Invitation Etiquette

                                          Be sure to include postage on your response card envelopes as an added courtesy to your guests, taking into consideration those who are overseas or in the military. Always hand address your envelopes, using a calligrapher if necessary, and spell out all items in an address, including the city, state and street.

                                        Sunday, September 29, 2013

                                        Wedding Reception Seating Etiquette

                                        Deciding on a seating chart is one of the most stressful things for a soon-to-be bride. In nearly every family, there are people who can't sit next to each other, those who want seating near a bathroom and those who don't RSVP but still come to the wedding. Brides also have to deal with the same issues in relation to the groom's family and friends, including some issues that she didn't know about before. Simply coming up with a seating plan isn't enough, as you also need to focus on the etiquette of your seating.


                                          Wedding etiquette states that you should make your guests feel as comfortable as possible by mixing your guests with others that they know. At the same time, you should also create a better mixture of people by incorporating new names and faces into the group. For example, seat a few friends interested in sports with a group of business associates who share the same interests. By the same token, mix your friends and family together by common interests. Also, determine if you want a single table for those guests who are not bringing a date.

                                        Expert Insight

                                          No matter how prepared you are, you're bound to have a few curveballs come at you. The best thing to do is prepare for the inevitable by leaving a few empty seats scattered around the room. You may find that your two best friends have a falling out and are no longer speaking or that your aunt and uncle decided to get divorced. Seating those people at the same table is a disaster in the making. Leaving empty seats at the reception also helps if a few of your guests bring dates without telling you beforehand.


                                          As soon as you start getting responses back in the mail, create a basic seating chart with pencil and paper, which lets you make any changes later by simply erasing and writing in new information. Sketch out the number of tables and chairs you have available and start filling in names. Keep your seating chart up-to-date throughout the wedding planning, moving out names of people not attending and adding in new responses.


                                          Tradition dictates that the bride and groom sit at a central table, typically at the front of the room where other tables can see them. Occasionally this is referred to as a couple's table because it consists only of the bride and groom, but it's also known as the bridal table because most couples choose to sit with their bridesmaids and groomsmen. Two tables at either side of the main table are reserved for the family of the bride and the family of the groom. The rest of the tables are set up for close friends, family members and others invited to the reception.


                                          On the day of the wedding, you have different ways to let guests know where to sit. Escort cards typically have a table number inside, with the guest's name on the outer envelope. They tell guests which table they're at, but it's their choice where they sit at the table. Another popular choice is place cards, which are set at each table setting. Guests know exactly where they're supposed to sit. Some brides prefer giving guests a name tag and letting them sit anywhere inside the reception, except at a table reserved for the family.

                                        Saturday, September 28, 2013

                                        Even the most nontraditional wedding tends to respect certain long-standing traditions of wedding etiquette, and among these is the wording of the invitation. Wedding invitations are not merely pieces of paper that invite guests to the wedding--the location and presentation of names can reveal information to the reader. As a result, many brides and grooms take care with wording their invitation to ensure that no one is offended. In the case of one parent being deceased, wedding etiquette can help get the invitation's wording just right.


                                          The wording of a wedding invitation when one parent is deceased depends largely on who is issuing the invitation. It is standard only to mention the name of a surviving parent (and possibly a stepparent) on the side of those issuing the invitation, but it is also standard to include the names of both parents on the other side of the family.

                                        Bride's Family

                                          The bride's family traditionally pays for the wedding and thus "hosts" the event by offering the invitation. If the bride has lost a parent, the surviving parent--if not remarried--issues the invitation alone. If the bride's mother is the surviving parent, she should issue the invitation alone in her name or in her married name. For instance: "Mrs. Jane Catherine Smith" or "Mrs. John Patrick Smith." If the bride's father is the surviving parent, he should issue the invitation alone in his name.

                                        Groom's Family

                                          In some cases, the groom's family takes responsibility for hosting the wedding and issuing the invitations, in which case the wording follows that of the bride's family hosting. If the groom's family is not hosting, the names of both parents may be included on the invitation, even if one is deceased. For example: "Alfred Arthur Jones Jr., son of Mrs. Caroline Mary Jones and the late Dr. Alfred Arthur Jones Sr." This is not required, however, and it is acceptable to include only the name of the surviving parent, if preferred.

                                        Hosting and Remarriage

                                          In the case of remarriage, the wording may reflect that the bride or groom is the child of one of the parents but not the other, while still indicating that a parent and a stepparent are hosting the event. For example: "Mr. and Mrs. John Patrick Smith request the honor of your presence at the marriage of his daughter." Doing so reflects that the bride is the child of Mr. Smith but that the new Mrs. Smith is also part of the family.

                                        Not Hosting and Remarriage

                                          For the family that is not hosting, the choice of wording is up to them and their preference. For instance, if the groom's father is deceased but his mother remarried, the wording choice may include the following: "Alfred Arthur Jones Jr., son of Mrs. Caroline Mary Edwards and the late Dr. Alfred Arthur Jones Sr." If the groom is close to his stepfather, the stepfather's name may be added with the mother's name and in addition to the name of his late father.

                                        Friday, September 27, 2013

                                        Traditionally, the bride's parents pay for the wedding, and thus their name is listed on the wedding invitation, often at the beginning with something along the lines of, "Mr. and Mrs. John Miller request the honor of your presence as they celebrate the wedding of their daughter Emily Lynn to Matthew Scott Jones." However, as more and more couples have both sides offer financial help or they pay for the wedding on their own, the wording can be altered.

                                        Wording Etiquette

                                          If the groom's parents are paying for the wedding, then the invitation wording can be altered by simply switching the names. For example, "Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Jones request the honor of your presence as they celebrate the wedding of Miss Emily Lynn Miller to their son Matthew Scott Jones."
                                          If the couple simply wants to include the names of the groom's parents on the invitation, then their names can be added in the following manner: "Mr. and Mrs. John Miller request...wedding of their daughter Emily Lynn to Matthew Scott, son of Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Jones."
                                          If both families are paying for the wedding and want to be at the top of the invitation, then the wording should introduce both families and announce the marriage of their children: Mr. and Mrs. John Miller and Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Jones request the honor of your presence at the wedding of their children Emily Lynn Miller and Matthew Scott Jones."

                                        Personal Choices

                                          Some couples may want both of their families to be included, in order to represent a more unified celebration. The traditional way of doing this is to list the bride's parents' names on the wedding invitations (if they are the ones paying for the reception) and then the groom's parents' names are listed on the rehearsal dinner invitations, which is traditionally an event the groom's parents host.
                                          If the bride and groom are sharing the wedding costs, then the invitations may read: Emily Lynn Miller and Matthew Scott Jones together with their parents request..."
                                          In reality, the invitation does not have to signify who is paying for the reception. According to The Knot, a wedding planning website, it signifies who is hosting the event, but of course that can be interpreted to be many different parts of the planning process. Traditionally, the invitations listed the bride's parents because it signified giving her away, but American society has generally moved away from that concept, so altering the format in tune with the altered custom makes sense.

                                        Divorced and Remarried Parents

                                          If the bride's parents are divorced, but hosting the wedding jointly, then the wording would be: Mrs. Janet Miller and Mr. John Miller request the honor of your presence..." If the bride's parents are divorced and one or both are remarried, you wish to include the step-parents and they are jointly hosting the wedding, then the mother's name is listed first on her own if she is not remarried (Ms. Janet Miller) or with her new husband's name if she is (Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Pendleton) and then the father's name, alone if he is not remarried (and Mr. John Miller) or with his wife's name if he is (and Mr. and Mrs. John Miller). In either instance, when there is a name other than the bride's (Pendleton instead of Miller) then the wording should conclude with the bride's full name: "...at the marriage of their daughter Emily Lynn Miller."
                                          If the groom's parents are hosting the event then his parents and his step-parents names would be substituted for the bride's parents' names in the preceding example.
                                          Proper etiquette dictates that the mother's name always comes first. This can be a useful rule to cite when divorced parents are not amicable and both wish to be listed first.

                                        Thursday, September 26, 2013

                                        Envelope Stuffing Etiquette

                                        Many people are surprised to learn there is an etiquette to stuffing envelopes for invitations and announcements. There is a certain order in which items should be placed in the envelope. While you may be tempted to just just stuff the items in, tradition dictates how things are done.


                                          First, hold the envelope you will be stuffing with the back opening facing you. Place the invitation or announcement in the envelope with the bottom side down and the words facing forward. When the recipient opens the envelope, she see will immediately see and be able to read part of the invitation or announcement. As she pulls it out, she will not have to flip or turn it to read it.
                                          When more than one item is being placed into the envelope, the larger pieces go in front. Again, hold the envelope with the back facing you. The invitation or announcement should be the largest and will go in first. The rest are then inserted according to size, from largest to smallest. If there are similar-size items, the more important items go in front. A common order of importance is the invitation, the reply envelope facing forward with the reply card tucked backward under the flap and the reception card.

                                        Inner and Outer Envelopes

                                          If you are stuffing wedding invitations, you may have two large envelopes (plus the small reply envelope). The larger of the two is the outer envelope and the slightly smaller one is the inner envelope. Stuff the inner envelope as described in Section 1. The inner envelope is usually not sealed and is flipped over to the front where you should write the individual names of the people who are invited. Then, place it into the outer envelope so that when the recipient opens it, she will immediately see the front of the inner envelope with the invited guests' names.


                                          Tissues were originally used in invitations so the ink would not bleed onto one of the items in the envelope. Since everything is now computer generated and bleeding ink is no longer a concern, neither is using tissues. However, if you still wish to be traditional, place one layer of tissue in front of each printed item. Larger pieces will go in front of the actual invitation while the smaller pieces should go in front of the smaller items like the reception card.

                                        Tuesday, September 24, 2013

                                        Wedding Card Etiquette

                                        Although most couples register for wedding gifts, not all guests will want to give them a gift from their registry. Some guests might prefer to give the couple cash to spend on their honeymoon or to let them complete their registry as they choose. These guests can give their gift in a well-worded wedding card. Guests can bring these cards to the wedding and leave them in the card box or drop them in the mail before the event. When writing and delivering a wedding card, there are a few considerations to make.


                                          Include a thoughtful message wishing your congratulations to the newly married couple in the card. What you choose to include should depend on your relationship with the couple and your timing. For instance, if you send the card before the wedding, you can mention how excited you are for the wedding day. If you bring the card to the wedding, express your best wishes to the couple. Personalize your message depending on how well you know the couple. For example, the best man will want to include a more personal message than a coworker of the bride's father.


                                          Guests can choose to bring their wedding card to the event or drop it in the mail before the big day. Most couples include a decorative card box on the gift table where guests can leave their cards. However, if you'd rather the couple receive the card in advance of the wedding, sending it ahead of time works as well.

                                        Addressing the Card

                                          If you are mailing the card before the wedding, send it to the bride or groom--or both of them, if they live together. Include both names on the envelope, and use the bride's maiden name. If you bring the card to the reception, you can write "Mr. and Mrs. Husband's Last Name" on the card, assuming the bride plans to change her name. If you're not sure, you can always write the couple's first names only.


                                          In many cultures, money is the preferred wedding gift, according to The Emily Post Institute. Couples will always appreciate this straightforward gift, as they can choose to spend the money as they wish. If you include a check in the card, write it out to "Mr. and Mrs. Husband's Last Name" if you give the gift on the day of or after the wedding--so long as you know the bride plans to change her name. If you send the card in advance of the wedding, include both couples' names on the check, using the bride's maiden name.

                                        Other Gift Card Options

                                          If you are not comfortable giving cash to the couple but want them to choose their own gift, you can include a gift card inside the wedding card to a store where they have a registry. This way, the couple can complete their registry as they wish. Or if you know where the couple is honeymooning, contact the hotel or resort and request a gift card so that the couple can enjoy a romantic dinner or exotic excursion on your dime.

                                        Friday, September 20, 2013

                                        Wedding Etiquette for a Pastor

                                        Aside from the bride and groom, perhaps the next most important person at a wedding is the pastor who is officiating at the ceremony. Yet, the pastor may pose one of the biggest wedding etiquette questions for the bride and her wedding planner. The pastor usually plays a bigger role in the wedding day beyond making sure that the vows are recited, rings are exchanged and the marriage validated in the church. Also, the pastor has certain expectations of the bride and groom, and vice versa.

                                        Meet with the Pastor Beforehand

                                          First of all, the pastor usually expects the engaged couple to consult with her before the wedding so she can give guidance and advice and get to know them better before the ceremony. She may also give the couple some guidelines on what they can and cannot do in regard to decorating the church. Also, the pastor may discuss any expected stipends or fees for performing the ceremony or for using the church. She may also ask the couple to choose from several scripts or other protocols that she usually uses for wedding ceremonies.

                                        Other Expectations of the Pastor

                                          Pastors expect the wedding to start on time so as not to delay the start of other weddings or church services later in the day. Some churches impose a fee if the ceremony starts late. After the ceremony, the pastor may set a time limit for taking photos in the church.

                                        The Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner

                                          The pastor usually leads the wedding rehearsal at the church. If the pastor isn't available, he may delegate that task to a church employee or volunteer. Some pastors may require a stipend or fee to run the wedding rehearsal. There is no obligation to do so, but the couple may want to invite the pastor to the rehearsal dinner if they are members of his church and have a close relationship with him. If they invite the pastor, they are not obligated to ask him to say grace or lead a prayer before dinner.

                                        The Wedding Day

                                          On the wedding day, the bride and groom may want to include the pastor in one or more photos of the wedding party, although there is no obligation to do so. Also, they may want to invite the pastor---and perhaps a guest---to the reception. If so, they should send the pastor a formal invitation just as they do the other guests. The pastor is usually not expected to bring a wedding gift, because performing the ceremony is considered his "gift" to the couple. However, if the pastor is a close family friend or a relative, he may choose to give a gift. As with the rehearsal dinner, the bride and groom are not obligated to ask the pastor to lead the prayer before dinner.

                                        The Pastor's Stipend

                                          It is customary for the pastor to receive a stipend or small fee for performing the wedding ceremony. Often, the stipend policy and the dollar amounts expected for weddings will be included in the guidelines that the pastor gives the couple during the planning stage. Some churches require a stipend for the pastor and an additional separate fee to cover services for cleaning the church before and after the wedding ceremony. If the bride and groom are close to the pastor, they may want to give her an additional monetary tip.

                                        Wednesday, September 18, 2013

                                        A vow renewal ceremony celebrates and reinvigorates a marriage. From small intimate gatherings to elaborately planned productions, wedding vow renewal ceremonies cater to the taste of the host couple. Like weddings, vow renewal ceremonies also have rules of etiquette.


                                          The husband and wife typically pay for the vow renewal ceremony. According to theknot.com, the children of the couple of honor sometimes host the ceremony.


                                          Vow renewal ceremonies do not have gift registries. Weddings have gift registries as a way for the guests to help the newlyweds build their combined household. Married couples already live together and do not need a gift registry.


                                          The single days of the husband and wife are long gone by the time a vow renewal ceremony is planned. Bachelor and bachelorette parties are not appropriate.


                                          The wife should either walk down the aisle with her husband or with her children. According to idotaketwo.com, the father of the "bride" does not walk her down the aisle for a vow renewal ceremony because the father's approval or public show of support of the marriage is not necessary.


                                          Vow renewal ceremonies do not have bridal attendants or wedding parties, only guests.