Saturday, March 29, 2014

Etiquette for a Wedding RSVP Card

Following proper etiquette when mailing out wedding response cards, also called RSVP cards, along with the invitations adds dignity to the special occasion. Proper etiquette covers things such as wording and timing.


    The wedding RSVP card allows guests to mail back their response. It is used only for weddings or receptions that require a head count.


    RSVP cards measure 5 inches by 3.5 inches, the smallest size card the postal service accepts.

Wording Etiquette

    As only those listed on the inside and outside envelopes are invited, RSVP cards do not have a line asking for how many people will be attending. An example of formal response wording is as follows:
    M ___ (The underline after the "M" must be long enough for the guest to write his or her full name, including "Mr.," "Mrs." or "Ms." If a number of doctors are invited, the "M" is omitted.)
    Saturday the twenty-eighth of August
    The Country Club
    Informal response wording may simply give an option for attending and another for not attending. Some response cards may also include a place for guests to choose among dinner choices.

Return Envelope Etiquette

    Wedding RSVP cards should be self-addressed and pre-stamped so guests can simply write their answer and mail it back. Guests should not be expected to provide the postage themselves.

Timing Etiquette

    RSVP cards are sent with the wedding invitations at least six weeks prior to the big day with an RSVP date two weeks prior to the big day. This is to give guests enough time to decide their plans while allowing the bride and groom time to finalize the number of attendees just before the wedding.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Etiquette for Wedding Anniversary Invitations

A milestone anniversarywhether its your first, 25th or 50this the perfect excuse to bring together your closest family and friends and celebrate like you did on your wedding day. Wedding anniversary party invitations should include details about the celebration and RSVP information. Following proper etiquette rules ensures that your guests know just what to expect. Likewise, party guests should respond within the given time frame so that the hosts have adequate time to prepare.


    It is important to send out your wedding anniversary party invitations with enough time that your guests can clear their schedules and prepare for the event. However, if you send it too early, guests might misplace the invitation or forget about the event altogether. The Emily Post Institute recommends that hosts send out wedding anniversary party invitations three to six weeks in advance of the event.


    The formality of your wording depends on the formality of the event. If youre hosting a formal, black-tie gala to celebrate your wedding anniversary, then use formal wording similar to your wedding invitation. Anniversary Ideas recommends formal wording to include third-person phrasing, spelled-out street names (for example, Road, Boulevard or Avenue) and spelled-out days, dates and times. If youre hosting a casual get-together, omit this formal wordingsecond person, abbreviations and numbers are acceptable.


    The content of your invitation should give guests an idea of what to expect. Include the hosts names (whether thats the anniversary couple or a family member or friend), anniversary year, event location and time. The invitation should also indicate what type of celebration will take place. For example, if the couple plans to renew their vows with a dinner and dancing reception to follow, then indicate Reception immediately following or Reception to follow on the invitation. It is also important to include RSVP information on the invitation.


    Formal etiquette guidelines indicate that you should not mention gifts on the invitation, even if you want to include a No gifts please comment. Of course, guests may choose to bring cards or gifts or make charitable donations in the couples honor, but it is best to exclude any gift information on the invitation.


    Once they receive the invitation, guests should promptly respond to the event. Follow the indications on the invitationthe hosts may ask that you call or email with your reply or return a reply card to them. Even if the invitation does not request a reply, the Emily Post Institute recommends calling the host to let them know if youre attending. It is best not to change your response, so reply only when you are certain of your plans. The Emily Post Institute states that changing a yes to a no is only acceptable on account of illness or injury, a death in the family or an unavoidable professional or business conflict.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Wedding Table Place Card Etiquette

Place cards indicate to wedding guests where they'll sit. While this isn't required etiquette, it's strongly encouraged. Using place cards ensures guests are seated with people whose company they enjoy, and also, that all guests have a place to sit, no matter what time they arrive.

Why Place Cards are Important

    Choosing seats for wedding guests requires a tactful approach. For example, feuding exes can ruin a happy occasion and should never sit at the same table, Likewise ex-friends who continuously snipe at each other. If certain guests can't be trusted to behave, it's best not to put them in a position where they can make others uncomfortable.

    If guests don't have assigned seating, it can also create a stampede once the reception area's doors open as they rush to find "good seats." Late arrivals may find themselves separated, as only single seats are left over. Having place cards ensures a harmonious event.

Table Cards vs. Seating Cards

    There are two different types of place cards. Seating cards, which are placed at every seat, and table cards, which only assign tables but allow guests to sit where they like. They each have their pros and cons, and both are a matter of preference.

    Table cards only indicate the guests' names and their assigned table. These cards are usually arranged on a small table set up just outside the reception area. Sometimes they're attached to a wedding favor. Guests appreciate this scenario because it allows them to sit where they like. It's also easier for the bride and groom to set cards upon one table than to place cards individually.

    Seating cards allow the happy couple to have complete control over where each guest will sit. This ensures guests who don't get along won't sit near each other, even at separate tables. It also helps to accommodate guests with special needs, for example if they need to be close to a bathroom, aisle or exit.

Escort Cards for Unnamed Guests

    Wedding invitations addressed to single guests might read "Mary Smith and Guest." This may work on an envelope, but how should the host address a place card if she doesn't know the guest's name? If a guest is bringing a friend, it's acceptable for the host to write out a place card also for "Mary Smith and Guest" and place it between both seats.

    Wedding place cards aren't mandatory but it's easy to see why they're a good idea. The last thing a bride and groom want is drama from tablemates who don't get along.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Etiquette for

There are times when a bride and groom may not want to receive gifts, such as in the case of a remarriage. Writing "No gifts, please" on an invitation is considered to be a breach in etiquette, since mentioning gifts at all indicates an expectation of one. This can also cause confusion, as guests might think you don't want presents, but want money instead. There are other ways a couple can handle this situation without offending or confusing guests.

Spread the word

    Instead of writing "No gifts, please" on the invitation, tell your family and friends about your wishes. Enlist the help of your parents of bridal party to spread the word as well. If a guest asks what you would like, tell them you have everything you need and request only their presence and well wishes.

Request a Charitable Donation

    If you'd rather help others than have guests give you money or gifts you don't need, The Knot suggests creating a charity registry. Set one up through The I Do Foundation or Just Give, where guests can make a donation to your requested charity through the website. Keep in mind that registry information of any kind should not be included on your wedding invitation. It would be appropriate to include the link to your charity registry on your wedding website, if you have one. Also, ask friends and family to tell others about your registry and/or mention the charity registry link in a bridal shower invitation.

Create a Small Registry

    Emily Post suggests creating a registry of a few inexpensive items, even if you would rather not receive gifts. Although guests should respect your wishes, there will be well-meaning family members who won't be able to accept the fact that you don't want anything, and traditionalists who insist on buying you a present anyway. If you'd rather not register, create a short list of gifts that you would like and share it with your bridal party and families. Ask them to spread the word that you don't need gifts, but if the guest insists on bringing one or won't give up the subject, to tell them you would appreciate a gift card to a certain store, hotel or restaurant.

Accept Gifts

    No matter how many times you tell guests that you don't want gifts, there will be people who insist on bringing one. Accept the gift graciously, and make no mention of your "no gifts" request. Don't make the guest feel uncomfortable or awkward. Send a thank you note to acknowledge their present; this should be sent no later than three months after the wedding, according to Emily Post. Guests, however, should respect the couple's wishes and not a bring a gift if they know of this request in advance.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A post-wedding--otherwise known as farewell--brunch is a way for guests (and newlyweds) to catch their breath after the wedding and for the couple to say goodbye to their families before heading for their honeymoon. It is also a time to reflect upon the previous day's wedding and to thank the wedding party and guests for all that they contributed. But, like all wedding events, there are important details and etiquette that go along with the post-wedding brunch.

Who Hosts and Who's Invited?

    Nowadays, it seems like anything goes with weddings. But, traditionally, the bride's parents host the farewell brunch since the wedding typically takes place in their neck of the woods. Whoever hosts generally foots the bill, as well. However, it is especially thoughtful for the couple to host the brunch as a thank you to their parents and guests but, really, anyone can host--another person in the bride's family, someone from the wedding party or even the groom's parents. In some cases--if the brunch is at a restaurant where a bill is given, for example--guests can pay for themselves.
    Traditionally, the wedding party and immediate family are asked to attend the brunch. However, anyone can be invited--ranging from friends to family to children. This is also a good way to include anyone from out of town in another wedding event. But, the guest list can depend on budget and who is hosting. It is a good to note that the brunch is usually kept small so that the couple has a chance to talk to everyone individually. It is the host's choice to send invitations to attendees. The host can send separate invitations or, if it's planned early enough, slip a note about the brunch in with the formal wedding invitations. Invitations can also be spread by word of mouth or email. The invitation itself will reflect how formal or casual the brunch is.

Location, Location, Location

    Again, it's up to the host to choose where to have the brunch. The location is usually kept in close vicinity to where the wedding took place so that out-of-town guests can find it easily. The Knot suggests places like an old firehouse, a landmark diner or even the host's home. The venue reflects the how formal or casual the brunch is. If it's at a home, for example, it may be acceptable to dress casually and bring a dish or beverage. If it's at a restaurant, depending on the formality, it is wise to dress appropriately. Check the venue out beforehand if you're unsure or look at the venue's website. The Wedding Channel suggests holding the brunch at a home to add a personal touch.


    It is up to the host to decide if the brunch will be catered. If the brunch is at a home, it is appropriate for the food to be homemade. The Knot suggests a brunch menu of omelets, bagels, muffins and fruit for breakfast-like items and soup, sandwiches and pasta for lunch items. However, anything goes--the hosts should feel free to include whatever food they want. Cocktail brunches, which include things like specialty French toast and mimosas, are also popular and a less-expensive option. Remember to keep the food similar to what someone would typically eat at that time of day.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Outdoor Wedding Etiquette

If you're planning on having your wedding outdoors, several etiquette rules should be kept in mind so that the ceremony and reception will go smoothly. These regulations provide guidelines for wedding party members' roles, as well as suggestions for guest attire and behavior.

Informing Guests

    When the couple decides to have the wedding outside, this information should be included with the wedding invitations. This will give guests time to prepare or purchase the proper wedding attire. Additional information about the predicted weather for the day of the wedding can also accompany the invitation, but this is not required. The couple should also inform guests of the type of wedding ceremony that will take place; for example, formal, semi-formal, informal. This will further assist guests in wearing the appropriate outfit to the occasion (for example, a sundress would not be appropriate for a formal wedding, but a shawl may not be necessary for a semi-formal ceremony in warm weather).

Accommodating Guests

    It is up to the couple to provide certain items to guests at an outdoor wedding, especially if the ceremony is being held in an area where the weather is especially warm. Wedding hosts and hostesses should have water bottles and fans to pass out to guests upon request, and insect repellent and sunscreen should also be available. Wedding attendants should also have enough tissue to pass out to guests; while weddings are emotional events, those in attendance may also need tissues to cover sneezes and coughs associated with allergic reactions.

Backup Plan

    The couple should always have a backup location to hold the outdoor ceremony, in case weather prevents the wedding from taking place at the original site. A number of places that offer outdoor weddings require couples to have a "plan B" before finalizing their wedding plans. Indoor facilities available at the same site as the outdoor wedding are usually the best choice, but the bride and groom can also rent a large tent that will accommodate the guests. An additional tent large enough for food and tables for the reception if the reception is scheduled to be held outdoors is also necessary.

Sound System

    If the wedding is being held close to a body of water, or in a windy location, it can be difficult for guests to hear what is being said in the ceremony. The couple should arrange to use lapel microphones, and should provide one for the wedding officiant as well. These can usually be secured by the band playing for the wedding or the DJ, but some wedding facilities will provide these for rental.


    Proper etiquette suggests that elaborate decorations are not necessary for an outdoor wedding. Complementary colors should be used that will enhance the natural setting, so as not to compete with nature. For instance, if the wedding is being held on the beach, the bride may choose to have her bridesmaids dress in shades of blue to complement the water, or in subtle shades of pink or orange if the wedding will be held at sunset. If the wedding is being held at a garden, the bride's favorite flowers can be added to the natural decor to give the ceremony a personal touch.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Adults-Only Wedding Etiquette

Most will agree that weddings provide occasion to celebrate, rejoice and embrace the union of two individuals who ultimately join two families the moment they say "I do." However, it remains a matter of opinion whether children should make the final guest list. From an etiquette perspective, there is no definitive answer; therefore, the final decision belongs to the happy couple.

Careful Consideration

    Before having your wedding invitations printed, carefully consider whether to include children. Consider your guests and weigh their family situations against your reasons for not wanting to include their children. If you opt to exclude them, remain firm in your decision and do not relent with some. Attendees who made childcare arrangements will certainly take offense to find some children present.

Invitation Wording

    Hosting an adults-only wedding does not fall into the etiquette faux pas category; however, blatantly announcing "No Children" on your invitation does. Traditionally, the accepted method to communicate an adults-only wedding is to address the invitation to the adults in the household. Example: "Mr. and Mrs. John and Lucy Smith" or "Mr. John Smith and Guest," not "Smith Family."

Backup Plan

    Since some guests can miss the subtlety of a traditionally-addressed invitation, a backup plan is in order. offers some tactful ways to convey the need to find alternate arrangements: using word-of-mouth or specific wording on the response cards like "Adult Reception."

Prepare Yourself

    Don't expect every parent on your guest list to gleefully accept your wishes on excluding children. Finding a sitter may prove difficult or costly for out-of-towners, while others firmly believe that weddings are family events. Whatever their opinion, prepare yourself to graciously handle anyone who must decline your invitation based on the "Adults Only" stipulation.

Creative Alternative

    If having an adult wedding reception is a priority, but you do not want to preclude anyone from attending, see if your venue has an off-room you can use as a "children's room." Hire a sitter and equip her with coloring books, crafts and other inexpensive activities for the kids to enjoy. This will ensure that all parents on your guest list will be on hand.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Etiquette for Wedding Programs

When planning a wedding, there are lots of rules of etiquette to remember. Read on for some tips on the wedding program, and find out whether you need one and what to do if you are making one yourself.

Do you need a program?

    Not every wedding needs a program. If you're planning a very small wedding, a brief ceremony or a wedding where a judge will lead the ceremony, a program isn't necessary. Those trying to save additional wedding costs will also probably want to forgo the program.
    However, in some cases, a program is a helpful guide for guests. A few examples of weddings that might benefit from programs:
    Traditional weddings
    Weddings where the bride and groom are a different culture from many of their guests
    Weddings with many attendants that guests will not know
    Longer ceremonies that have songs and readings that require guest participation
    Weddings where the bride and groom want to use a program to thank people
    If a wedding fits into one of the above categories, a program is probably a good idea. It also serves as a lovely souvenir for your guests.

Program guidelines

    Hand out your programs at the beginning of the wedding, when the guests are being seated. If ushers seat guests, give them the job of handing out programs. In this case, purchase one program for each guest. If programs will sit in a basket, allowing guests to take one, plan to have programs for about three-fourths of the guests.
    It is acceptable to put memorials in the program and is common to honor grandparents and other relatives that are not at the ceremony. A verse that reflects the bride and groom is also a nice way to close the program.

The ceremony

    The bulk of any wedding program describes what will happen in the ceremony. Work with your officiant to figure out the wording of the program. Be sure to include all the elements of the ceremony in the order they will occur and the names of all the members of the wedding party.

Monday, March 10, 2014

You agreed to have no more than 125 guests at your wedding. But you've just realized that between the two of you, you have 300 people you want to invite. Now what?


    1 Sit down with your intended and list everyone you can think of to invite.
    2 Use the one-year rule for friends: If you haven't had a meaningful conversation with this person within the last year, don't invite him or her.
    3 Ask your parents on both sides to help you cull people from the list.
    4 Avoid the "If I invite this cousin, I must invite all cousins" trap. And don't feel obligated to invite people who invited you to their wedding. Relationships change.
    5 Exclude children if possible. Suddenly a family of six is a manageable party of two.
    6 Address the invitations only to those you intend to invite. If your single friend rates an invitation and isn't seeing anyone seriously, you don't have to include "and guest."
    7 Keep the list limited to personal friends. Do you hang out with co-workers away from the office? If not, don't invite them.
    8 Make sure that the same number of people are invited from each side. This will prevent in-laws from feeling cheated.
    9 Keep in mind that on average, about 25 percent of your guests won't be able to make it.
    10 Make a first and second list. Put the absolutely-must-invites on the first list, and as the RSVPs come in, send an invitation from the second list for each regret.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Wedding Ring Etiquette for a Widow

In western culture, the wedding ring symbolizes a commitment to one's spouse. When a woman loses her spouse, the wedding ring can serve as a reminder of the relationship. Learning more about the wedding ring etiquette associated with widows can help a woman decide her own course after the death of a spouse.


    According to jewelry retailer Samara James, it was once traditional for a widow to place her wedding ring in the casket with her husband, but this practice is no longer common. Judith Martin, who writes the syndicated "Miss Manners" column, notes that the Victorians' only rule for wedding rings worn by widows was that the ring should not be worn on the morning of a wedding to another man.


    Wearing a wedding ring after the death of a spouse can allow a widow to maintain a sense of closeness with the deceased, and it can allow her to remember the good times in the relationship. It can also help prevent unwanted advances if the widow is simply not ready to be approached romantically for a time. Continuing to wear a wedding ring can provide a sense of normalcy in the time after the death, but it should be removed if wearing it is causing emotional pain through its presence.


    According to the Finding Our Way website, there is no specific etiquette as to whether a widow should wear her ring or stop wearing it or when it is appropriate to do so. However, there are several common options. A widow may choose to wear her own wedding ring and to wear her spouse's ring on a chain around her neck. She might choose to wear her wedding ring on the right hand. Some women choose to have the ring melted down and made into a new piece of jewelry, which keeps the memento close, but symbolizes a new phase in her life.

Passing the Ring On

    Wedding rings can also be passed on to someone who is important to the widow. Giving her ring to a child or to someone that she feels close to who is getting married can be an important part of moving on without forgetting the deceased. Wedding rings can become family heirlooms that are passed on to subsequent generations.


    Wearing a wedding ring on anything but the ring finger of the left hand can prompt questions. Plain gold wedding bands are a common sight, and people will notice them if they are displayed in an uncommon way. A widow who wears her wedding ring on a different finger or on her right hand should be prepared to face questions. Having an answer prepped can prevent the question from feeling like a shock or an ambush.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Wedding Etiquette for Uninvited Guests

You might assume that something as black-or-white as your wedding guest list wouldnt leave much room for problems of etiquette to arise, but its not uncommon for your guests to want to include extras on the invitation you sent them. Some guests just don't realize that if a name is not on the envelope, or it doesn't state "and Guest," then a guest is not invited. If you handle these issues firmly and immediately, these errors in etiquette should cause less stress.

Be Firm

    Some of the finer points of etiquette evaporate when guests start pressuring you to expand their invitation to include others. Merely requesting an additional seat at a wedding or a reception is extremely rude, so dont worry about coming off as Miss Manners when dealing with the indiscretion. Be firm, but tell your guest it isnt possible to accommodate the request for a variety of reasons, many of which provide you a handy excuse to hide behind without appearing too unconvincing yourself.

A Matter of Planning

    Explain to your intrusive guest and his unwanted plus one that invitations were sent after careful planning, with seating charts and other arrangements already calculated before invitations were issued. Guests, and in the case of single guests, the option to bring a date were calculated when arriving at your headcount and seating chart. If space is limited at the church or reception hall dont be afraid to use that as an excuse as well.

A Matter of Budget

    Unless you're royalty, you have to plan your wedding around a fixed budget. Explain to your guest that his addition to the guest list will strain food and drink budgets. If you could afford it, everyone would be able to drag a few extras along to the reception, but you won't be able to accommodate the imposition on your budget for his guest.

A Matter of Scope

    At any wedding, there are a finite amount of spots on the guest list. You can gracefully deflect the request for an additional guest by telling your pushy guest that you've already had to pare the guest list down to the bare minimum, and have already had to exclude members of your extended family from the list, and the addition of someone not in your hand-picked, close-knit guest list may spark a minor family crisis.

Be Blunt

    The bottom line is you don't need to provide a reason to deny a request to add an uninvited guest into your planning. Because the request itself is the height of rudeness, as wedding planer, simply bluntly and courteously deny the request. Once you start allowing guests to expand your guest list, you're on a slippery slope: Where do you draw the line? Avoid those headaches by being firm and denying all requests to help nip that problem in the bud.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Etiquette on Wedding Gift Requests

One of the great perks of getting married, besides gaining a life partner and a host of new family members, is receiving wedding presents. Wedding presents originally were given to give newlyweds a proper start in life, often stocking their homes with household goods. Whether the couple already has their home life established or are starting fresh, the gift request process is fraught with etiquette rules many couples are not aware of or prepared to observe.

Wedding Registry

    WedNet lists the wedding registry as the best way for the couple to express their gift preferences to their wedding guests. There is no limit to what the couple can register for, however, couples should understand guests are not required to purchase from the registry.

    Traditional wedding etiquette dictates there should be no reference to wedding gifts listed on the wedding invitation. Previously, couples relied on friends and family to spread the registry information among guests. Modern couples and guests appreciate enclosure cards with registry information.

Cash Gifts

    Cash gifts are perfect for any wedding--the right size, color and shape, however, the Emily Post Institute along with other leading wedding etiquette experts at The Knot, Wedding Channel and Bride expressly forbid a couple from requesting cash in lieu of gifts on an invitation. This includes enclosure cards as well. Wed Net contends it's tacky to ask others to spread the cash preference, while The Emily Post Institute does allow a couple or their close family and friends to reveal their preference if directly asked.

Beyond First Wedding

    According to Wed Net, it is acceptable to register for gifts for a second, third or more wedding, but it is not required that a guest give a gift if they were present and gave a gift for the previous wedding.
    This couple should follow all the general gift request etiquette rules as a first-time married couple, including sending thank you cards and not putting gift information directly on the invitation.

Gift Price

    Engaged couples should have no qualms about registering for expensive gifts, say the experts at Brides. A wedding is a once in a lifetime event (hopefully) and registering for expensive gifts that will benefit a couple in the long-term is completely acceptable. Even if there aren't any wealthy guests invited, expensive gifts are often purchased as group gifts from friends, co-workers and other well wishers.

No Gifts

    It is acceptable to request that guest not bring gifts to a wedding though couples should expect some will bring gifts, cards or money anyway to express their happiness for the couple. The couple should send a thank you note for every gift they receive.

    The Wedding Channel also points out that the "No Gifts Please" clause should not be included on the wedding invitation. An enclosure card may be used or the no gift preference should be spread by word of mouth via the wedding party and family.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Every couple has its own needs and desires, and yours may not include material wedding gifts from your guests. Think twice before you put a note about "no gifts" on your invitation. Telling your guests not to bring gifts on the invitation is just as tacky as including registry cards.

Reason for the Rule

    Etiquette dictates that there should be no mention of gifts anywhere on a wedding invitation because there should not be an expectation that guests will bring gifts. By refusing gifts or writing "in lieu of gifts . . ." you are indicating that without such a note, guests are compelled to give you a present. Guests give out of their own generosity, not because they have to under the rules of etiquette or tradition.

Spreading Your Request

    Guests who are interested in giving a present will seek out information related to registries or desired gifts. Emily Post suggests letting the information get out by word of mouth or through your wedding website. You can spread the word to close family and bridal party members that you do not desire gifts. When they are asked where you are registered, they can make your wishes known. Likewise, if you prefer your guests give to a charity in lieu of gifts, give this information to your inner circle or post it on your wedding website. Include a link or note on the side of your wedding page explaining that you respectfully request no gifts.

Careful Wording

    Do not directly say "no gifts, please" because many guests will want to give you gifts and will not appreciate being told not to do so. Carefully phrase your words so as not to offend. Consider the following examples: "Your presence is the only gift we request." "In lieu of gifts, we ask that you pray for our future together." "In lieu of gifts, we ask that you donate to a charity in our name." Use these phrases or make up your own to let guests know your wishes without sounding like guests are forbidden from giving a material or monetary gift if they please. Remember that all presents deserve thank-you cards. If guests give charitable donations in your name, you should acknowledging their gift with thanks.