If you’re having a big traditional wedding then fluffing part of your big day with the wrong etiquette isn’t the end of the world. However, if you want to be sure you’re doing everything properly then take note of these basics of wedding etiquette.
The Guest List
Compiling the list can be stressful and leaving people out can be difficult. Divide an initial list into categories of must invite, should invite, and could invite. Ideally, you’ll have only your valued family and friends at your wedding, but any not so welcome guests who are not family can be invited to the reception only.
Wedding invites should be phrased in a certain way, normally starting with who is hosting the wedding, (eg, bride’s parents) formally inviting guests to attend. Address each one by name and use formal titles such as Lady, Dr or Major, and double check all names for the correct spelling before printing. Evening invitations should be included with the ceremony invitations, and all invites should include a separate card of sheet detailing all the information about the day. You should always send out invites at least two months in advance, with a clear RSVP date for reply. Guests who are single should be invited with ‘plus guest’ unless their choice of companion is known to you, in which case you should name them.
Wedding Gift Etiquette
It used to be considered bad form to include a list of gifts, but today opinion has changed somewhat. It’s acceptable to send guests a link to a gift list, but be sure to include items for all budgets, and don’t list items that seem non-essential to a household. It might be something you want, but a Prada handbag wouldn’t be considered an ideal wedding gift! Make sure you keep track of who has bought each gift to write and thank guests afterwards.
The Wedding Breakfast and Reception
Form dictates that a receiving line is arranged to greet the guests at the reception, with the hosts at the front of the line. Once everyone has arrived at been greeted, the bride and groom then take their place at the top table. You should always allocate a seating plan for your guests to save awkwardness for guests who have divorced or do not get along. So set out name cards on your tables for sit down meals. If you’re having beautiful bespoke wedding invitations made by a company such as http://www.piccolopress.co.uk/wedding.html you can also order seating name cards and wedding menu’s to match. Make sure each guest knows someone on their table. Generally, couples sit on the same table but not side by side.
Cutting the Cake and Speeches
The first speech intended to introduce the bride to the family of the groom is made by the father of the bride, relation or friend. After that the groom makes his speech, in which he thanks guests for coming, followed by the best man’s speech. The cake cutting is then announced, with the couple making the first cut together ready to be sliced and handed out to guests.
Wendy Lin is a freelance writer and entrepreneur. She has been the designated wedding planner for many of her family members and says she very much enjoys party planning.