Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A few words about wedding etiquette

Those of you who know me, know that i'm a bit of a wedding expert.

What exactly qualifies me as a wedding expert? Well for starters, after i completed my university degree, i went on to do a post-grad diploma in event management where i focused on weddings, and my entire professional career has been planning events.

Not enough to be an expert? Ok, well i've also planned many weddings including my own.

Still not enough to consider me as a wedding expert? Would you care to know that i own every 'Martha Stewart Weddings' magazine that was published in the last 11 years (approximately 44 issues)? I also read countless blogs dedicated to weddings and wedding planning on a daily basis. I also own Emily Post's book on etiquette and have practically memorized the section on weddings and engagements.

Yeah...i know just a thing or two about weddings...

This year is the Year of the Weddings for me. I have been invited to six (!!) weddings this year. Unfortunately, i can *only* make it to 4.

With all of these upcoming weddings, a bunch of my pet peeves have been stirred up again. I don't blame the engaged couple, as i'm sure they just didn't know (hey! that's what i'm here for! ask me - i'd be glad to impart my knowledge on you!!), but still, there are a few things which are just plain manners people.

If you've sent me a wedding invitation, and i've written about something you did, don't take it personally, because it wasn't just you - it's happened many times and is a common "mistake"

In bullet format, i give you some common wedding faux pas!
  • DON'T put your registry information anywhere on the invitation. Don't even put it with the invitation. To be blunt, this is just plain rude. If someone wants to know if/where you're registered, they'll ask you at which point feel free to tell them all the places you've registered! The polite way to spread the word is to tell your close family members (parents, siblings) and bridal party. That way if one of your parent's friends wants to know for example, they just have to ask them. Your bridal party can even spread the news to your mutual friends and so on. I know all those places you registered for gave you a stack of cards for you to include in your invitations, but they don't care how you come across to other people - all they care about is people BUYING stuff. The same goes for shower invitations. Tell whoever is throwing you a shower not to include those awful cards. In fact, don't even GIVE them the cards.

  • That second envelope that came with your invitation set? It's not for mailing the reply card. It's called an "inner envelope" and IT is what the invitation goes into. The inner envelope only has the recipients' names on it - not the address, whereas the outside envelope is for the mailing address and the stamp and keeps the inner envelope from getting dirty. Don't believe me that that's what the the "second" envelope is for? I'll prove it - it doesn't have glue on the flap, so you can't use it for mailing. It's amazing the similarity of the invitations i've received this year. 2 of them have had detachable, ready to mail reply cards with the return address already printed on it. Then there was an empty envelope also printed with the return address (and stamped). The reply card is a standard postcard size and does not require an envelope.

  • DON'T use nicknames when addressing invitations - even if they're your friends. It just doesn't look nice. It can also come across as you not being sure what the person's real name is or how to spell it properly. Mat and i have received many invitations over the years where they've put "Roz" or "Mat" on the invitation (sometimes not even the person's last name!!). My name is Rosalind and Mat's name is Mathew. Most people like to get mail addressed properly to them. Again, if you aren't sure, ask someone. It's better to discreetly ask your friend how to spell her husband's name rather than guess or use his nick-name

And a couple of my personal pet peeves that aren't "rules" by any means:

  • Get rid of the head table, or at least let your bridal party have their significant other sit with them. When you're the date/spouse of a bridesmaid or groomsman, and you don't know anyone other than the happy couple and your spouse, it sucks to have to sit at a table with strangers for the whole night. Don't tell me that they'll get to move around after dinner - it still sucks.

  • Don't plan (or try to plan) your own shower/bachelorette. 'Nuf said

  • Don't hold your wedding on a weekday or a holiday. Long weekends are ok, holiday weekends, not ok. Everyone has families and for most families, official holidays are the only times they can see each other. By having your wedding on a holiday (or holiday weekend) you are taking away an opportunity for families to see each other. Yes. I know it's cheaper if you have your wedding on a weekday or holiday (= more convenient for you), but you should really be considerate of your guests.

  • DO lighten up on the matchy-matchy bridesmaids dresses. I'm still boggled that people think everyone wearing the exact same dress in the exact same colour, even the exact same length actually looks good. Everyone is a different body type and for the most part, not one dress will look good on everyone. Give your bridesmaids some freedom and let them at least choose their own style of dress. Regardless of what you might think, there's a 99% chance they aren't going to wear it again.

  • Last but not least, don' t be a bridezilla

That's it for now, i'm sure as more invitations arrive, it'll stir up a few more pet peeves.