Happy Valentine’s Day friends! We hope you’re taking a day off from wedding planning to unplug and enjoy one another. But just in case you’re hard at work on the wedding (before date tonight, of course), we wanted to break down a few burning questions for you. With so many unique family dynamics, couples getting married slightly older in life and with the changes times of social media, it’s hard to keep track of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to wedding etiquette. What’s appropriate today is different than a decade ago (before the Instagram era!). So we’re answering your key wedding etiquette questions for today’s modern couple…and wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day too!
Who pays for the wedding?
This is a question with many different answers. It depends. Traditionally the brides parents used to pay the bill while the groom’s parents covered the cost of the rehearsal dinner. But today, things are different. Your wedding might not even have a bride. So who pays? What if one family is more well off than another or you’re older when you wed? The rule is there aren’t any rules on budget anymore. We have plenty of couples who contribute to their own wedding fund, with the help of both sides of the family. Alternatively, we have fathers of the bride who politely pick up the tab as well. The important thing to remember when planning the finances of your wedding is to be open and honest with everyone. Get realistic about who can contribute what, what expectations family members may have and what type of wedding you want and can realistically afford. Honesty is always the best policy and talking money is no different.
Do his or her siblings have to be in my wedding party?
This can be a tricky situation. Technically the answer is no, siblings don’t have to be in the wedding party. However, each family dynamic is different. Take a close look at everyone involved and weigh the pros and cons of including or not including a loved one. If one of you invites the other’s siblings to stand by your side and the other party doesn’t follow suit, tensions may rise. Typically we suggest a plan that is uniform on both sides of the aisle so no one takes it personally if they aren’t asked. And in the event someone does, be open and sensitive to their feelings and perhaps find an alternative way of honoring them in the ceremony (as a reader, usher or other special guest).
Who pays for the bridesmaids hair, makeup and dresses?
Traditionally the bridesmaids (and groomsmen) are responsible for their own expenses related to the wedding day. This includes hair and makeup, attire and travel (if it’s a destination wedding). However, if you’re asking your friends to purchase overly expensive items or you have the means and they do not, it’s a wonderful gesture to purchase one or more of the items they’ll need to walk down the aisle with you.
Can I invite someone to a shower or engagement party and not the wedding?
If you invite a guest to any of the pre-wedding festivities, plan on inviting them to the wedding too. No one should be left out of the big day that they helped you celebrate along the way. The same rule applies for save the date cards. If a guest gets one, they should also get a wedding invitation.
Where does my wedding registry information go?
Your wedding registry information should never go on your wedding invitation! Save these details for your wedding website and list your website address on the save the date card. Guests will get the hint. If someone else is hosting a bridal shower or engagement party for you, they have the ability to alert invitees with an insert with the invitation mentioning where you’re registered.
Can we ask guests to put away their phones?
YES! An unplugged ceremony or wedding day has become increasingly popular in the past year. While it might be more difficult to ask your guests to keep their phones away during the later hours of the evening, it’s very common to ask guests not to take pictures during the ceremony. Simply set up a decorative sign that alerts your loved ones to your “unplugged ceremony” rule. You can even supply a small bag for guests to store their phones in, list the request on the program or for celebrity-like privacy, have a cell phone check (much like a coat check) at the door.
What other burning wedding etiquette questions do you have? With each family nuance comes new questions so we’re here to help!
Photo by Ashley Sawtelle.