Your Wedding Etiquette Questions Answered

Personalized Black & White Save-The-Date Magnets

As you work to turn the wedding of your dreams into a reality, you've probably discovered there are some matters of etiquette you're just not sure about. Don't worry. Chances are if you're wondering about it, many other brides-to-be have the same questions. Here are the answers to a few of the most frequently asked wedding etiquette questions.

Q:    Do I really need to send save-the-dates? Isn't an invitation enough?
A:    While not required, save-the-dates are definitely appreciated, especially if you'll be having a destination wedding or if your wedding will take place over a holiday weekend.  Save-the-dates can be mailed up to a year before your wedding and should mention that an invitation will follow. These cards can be as simple or elaborate as you like, but all you really need to include are your names, the wedding date and location.

Q:    Is it acceptable to make my own wedding invitations?
A:     If you're having a small wedding or have the time to do it, it's perfectly acceptable to make your own wedding invitations! Thanks to the popularity of scrapbooking, it's never been easier – or more fun – to create unique and memorable wedding invitations.

Q.    Is it required that the parents' names be listed on the invitations?
A.     While it's traditional to list the parents of both the bride and groom, it is no longer a must. With many non-traditional families this is not possible and may even be awkward or uncomfortable. Weddings of older couples, second marriages or weddings being paid for by the bride and groom are also common reasons not to list parents' names
on the wedding invitations.

Wedding Candy BuffetQ:    I'm trying to trim some expenses from my budget. Is it really necessary to have favors at the reception?
A:    Favors are by no means required. If you can't afford them, don’t worry about it. However, there are inexpensive ways to provide your guests with a memento of your day.  For example, you can fill small bags with candy for very little money. And if you're short on time, you can have your guests do the work! Just set up a candy buffet at your reception and invite guests to fill small bags with the candy of their choice before leaving. This option is surprisingly affordable, easy – and fun.

Q:    If I invite someone to my bridal shower, do I have to invite them to my wedding?
A:    Unless you're having an extremely small family-only wedding, invitations should be sent to everyone who attended your shower - otherwise you run the risk of greatly offending someone. If you're trying to trim the number of wedding guests, make sure you have the list nailed down prior to inviting anyone to your bridal shower.

Q:    Do we have to serve a meal at the reception?
A:    If your reception will fall during a traditional mealtime, guests will expect a meal of some sort. However, if your wedding reception will be well before the dinner hour or well after it, have a dessert reception. Offer your guests a variety of tempting desserts, or try a "Make Your Own Ice Cream Creation" bar where guests choose their toppings. Offer coffee, espresso and other drinks. Just make sure to let your guests know in advance that it will be dessert only.

Another option is an appetizer-only or wine and cheese reception. Once again, this type of menu usually works best if the reception doesn't fall during a mealtime. Remember, if you opt for a reception of this type, be sure your guests know ahead of time. You can simply include wording such as, "Hors d'oeuvres reception follows."

Q:    Can we ask for cash instead of gifts?
A:    No. No matter how you frame it, that's just not an acceptable practice. However, you can ask your friends and family to mention you'd like cash if and when they're asked what kind of gift you'd like. However, you should still register for some items, as some people will prefer to give you an actual gift. Some registries allow you to register for gift cards – another alternative to asking for cash.  When you register, be sure to include gifts at varying price points to accommodate guests’ budgets.  

Q:     I'd like my guests to RSVP by email. Is that ok?
A:    That's a great option for RSVPs, but make sure it's not the only option. Add a note to the RSVP that says something like: "If you prefer, you may reply by email to" This works nicely for an informal wedding or if the wedding is taking place on short notice, plus it's a very green option. Just remember that some people will still prefer to mail their RSVPs, so make sure the RSVP address and other information is easy to find.

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