Wedding Etiquette: Planning and Invitations
When planning your wedding, there’s absolutely no need to turn into a bridezilla
These days, it should not be assumed that the bride’s family will take on the cost of a wedding. The responsibilities and division of costs depend on the financial circumstances as well as the age of the couple, advises British publisher and trusted etiquette source Debrett’s.
Engaged couples should think practically as well as creatively when planning. “Couples may become carried away with a particular vision of their wedding day and may not consider impracticalities that have an impact on guests, such as the location of the venue, the distance between ceremony and reception, or the timetable of events,” says James Field, senior trainer at Debrett’s.
Ensure, within reason, that the event is held at a time and place that enables good friends and close relations to attend. It probably won’t be possible to accommodate everybody, but do check the availability of members of the wedding party when planning.
Be considerate when choosing a date. You could use the day to mark a family anniversary, for example. Avoid bank holiday weekends or major sporting events such as the Rugby Sevens, and be aware that families may want to travel during school holidays.
Debrett’s advises that the number of guests is usually determined by budget, and the size of the ceremony and reception venues. Early on, discuss the allocation of guests with both sets of parents. If the parents are bearing the majority of the wedding costs, they may feel they deserve a particular number of invitations—but this should not be at the expense of other key parties. If either the bride or the groom has a considerably larger family than the other, an equal split of guests may not be possible between the two sides.
It is acceptable not to invite partners of guests you don’t know very well, but both halves of an engaged couple or those in a long-term relationship should be invited.
If an elderly relative is travelling on their own, you might think about inviting their carer or a companion to ensure their comfort.
If you are considering not inviting children, think carefully about what impact this will have on your guests. You may choose to offer some sort of childcare so that parents—and their offspring—can have a lovely day.
It is acceptable to invite some guests to the reception only, in a separate invitation, if the venue for the ceremony is small. Sometimes—along with other guests—they might be invited to an evening-only reception after the wedding breakfast and speeches.
Wedding stationery should be carefully chosen, as it sets the tone for the day. It is advisable to follow traditional protocol for wording—Debrett’s has a comprehensive guide to this available online.
A postal address must be provided for replies. Some couples choose to include an email address as well. Be meticulous when recording RSVPs—if you are pressed for time, you could ask your parents to take on this responsibility.