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sassandgroove
02-10-2007, 11:40 PM
Okay. I am taking a class from AW for writing for magazines, and my first article is going to be about wedding ettiquette.

There are tons of articles about wedding traditions in the magazines I read as a bride and the ones I just bought in the last couple weeks. But what I stressed over as a bride wasn't what traditions I wanted to follow. That was easy. Our wedding style, and chosen traditions, fell into place. But There is a lot of wedding ettiquette I didn't even know about as a wedding guest that I found out about as a bride. I stressed over little things like whether or not to use two envelopes.

As a bride (or groom) were there wedding ettiquette issues that you stressed over. Was there ettiquette you eshewed, and why? Are there things you feel are absolutely imperitive, even if it stresses you out?

Some examples I've come up with so far....

One or two envelopes?
Labels or hand addressing invitations.
How to handle people you marginally know who assume they're invited.
Inviting out of town guests to the rehearsal dinner.
Registry cards in invites: Yes or No.

My aim is to outline a few different ettiquette practices and why they exist and to help ease the bride's stress and realize why some exist and which ones you can ignore and which ones are imperitive.

Okay so this is rambling a bit. If you have thoughts on the above or had issues with other practices I'd love to hear from you.

Right now I am just working on the queary, but if I actally get the assignment I might ask more indepth questions or need your name for the magazine. Here's hopin'. If you are interested in sharing, just pm me. :D

ideagirl
02-11-2007, 12:19 AM
I think you'd get a lot out of looking at "The Anti-Bride's Etiquette Guide." A friend of mine just gave it to me as a gift. It could be useful to you because it outlines all the traditional etiquette rules for formal, semiformal and informal weddings--the "rules" for each kind of wedding are different in many ways, from the invitations to the reception--and it gives blurbs about couples who ignored or modified various rules, and why they did it.

We're not stressing because we see no reason to follow rules at all. We're sending postcards with the invites, not a second envelope, because postcard RSVP's are both more environmental (less paper) and cheaper (postcard stamps are cheaper). They can also be prettier and more personal, if you choose the right picture. And we're putting everything out of towners need--locations, directions, etc.--on a website. Our way of dealing with people who assume they're invited but aren't is to explain that, like any couple, we had to work within a budget, so some hard decisions had to be made and unfortunately, etc. etc.

Our thinking is this: if there is anyone in our circle of family and friends who's going to be miffed about how many envelopes we use, that's ridiculous; it's their problem, not ours. Weddings are not about envelopes, now are they! :) And if there's anyone who's going to fret that, say, the napkin rings don't match the flower arrangements, or whatever--or that the linens are ivory instead of white, or god knows what other stupid rule--again, that's not our problem; if they want to get upset about something ridiculous like that, that's their problem, so we're not going to worry about it. Our wedding is about our embarking on our lives together; it's NOT about satisfying Aunt Minnie's beliefs about appropriate napkin colors!

We know you can't please everyone, so we're not going to stress ourselves out by trying. We're going to please ourselves, and make reasonable efforts to please others (e.g., put a vegetarian option on the menu, and hold the wedding indoors because weather is unpredictable and some of our older relatives are sensitive to the cold). And that's it; we're not going to stress ourselves out by trying to achieve the impossible goal of pleasing everyone. And we don't care about conforming to quote-unquote rules, since that's totally irrelevant. I mean, Prince Charles and Lady Diana conformed to every wedding rule imaginable, and look how their marriage turned out!

MattW
02-11-2007, 12:56 AM
We just went through our wedding and struggled with etiquette and expectations from similar yet different backgrounds (American and Brazilian/Catholic and Prebyterian)

Despite her stress over small details, there were people who had hurt feelings over stupid things, and a whole lot of family related issues were exacerbated.

BardSkye
02-11-2007, 01:11 AM
I don't know if this will help at all, but I ignored most of the rules and figured if anyone didn't like it, they didn't have to come.

We had a small house wedding, a barbeque instead of a reception, I wore my mother's wedding dress, and the dress for everyone else including the bridesmaids was casual.

I sent out hand-made "we're having a wedding!" cards and asked for RVSP by phone.

We've been married twenty-six years now.

ETA: My father jokingly demanded five cows for me. We presented him with five plastic cows at the barbeque.

ideagirl
02-11-2007, 09:26 PM
Despite her stress over small details, there were people who had hurt feelings over stupid things, and a whole lot of family related issues were exacerbated.

Yeah, that doesn't surprise me. And it just illustrates my point about how you can't please everyone, no matter how hard you try; so you should just not worry about it. If people are going to get hurt feelings over stupid things, that's not something the bride and groom can control, so worrying about it is pointless. Just throw a party that pleases you, with reasonable accommodations for guests (e.g. vegetarian options or whatever), and don't worry about whether some people are going to choose not to enjoy themselves, or get upset about stupid things--that's their problem, not yours.

WildScribe
02-11-2007, 09:35 PM
My mother-in-law was upset that my husband's great aunts were not invited (he has something around 6 of them who all live far away and who he never sees) his step-father's family was not invited (his step dad has 13 siblings, all married with kids) and that we didn't have a priest (we had a high priestess). I had "friends" that I didn't talk to in years who also expected invitations, but I explained (truthfully) that room was tight. (On purpose)

I wore a purple gown, and dressed my bridesmaids in beautiful sundresses (which they have each worn since, to my pleasure). I did not have my hair up or hairsprayed, but had flowers in it, and only wore the tiniest hint of makeup to keep my aunt from freaking out. She thought it was far from enough, and my husband thought it was a little too much.

Anyway, as you can probably guess, the rest of the etiquette was handled in a non-traditional manner, but as politely as we could. There was one envelope, with a stamped return envelope for replies. There was no details on the where of the wedding. They had to RSVP to get that. There is a reason behind this. We also included our "registry" with the directions: we had already lived together, and needed nothing. We asked for help funding our honeymoon (even though we didn't NEED the help, strictly speaking). We kept track of the donations of each person, and sent them a card explaining what they "paid for", like a trip on the London Eye or a trip to Bath. We matched these to each person and thanked them religiously as we got home each night, with postcards showing what it was they "paid for" as well as lots of love on the front. This was instead of actual thank you cards (and I think that they were more appreiccated). That's enough rambling for now.

MattW
02-12-2007, 01:51 AM
Because we had an international wedding, it was tricky with the invites, RSVPs and travel plans. We even used email for the American RSVPs - faux pas! We allowed people from the US to invite more than one guest if they were going to come - some brought travel buddies to extend the trip into a true vacation (we helped plan and arrange those too).

We had 2 pre-wedding events: a BBQ for friends and family and out-of-towners, and a post-rehearsal lunch only for wedding party and out-of -towners. Because people were arriving in groups at different times, and maybe only on was in the party, we just got everyone to the rehearsal.

About gifts - there was no registry for the Americans, and most were told not to give anything because it was an expensive trip. Mostly they ignored us. We asked for any gifts from my wife's family be cash instead of boxed gifts. It is almsot unheard of down there, but what were we supposed to do with boxes of stuff? It went over ok, no hard feelings (that we heard about) and we still ended up with a few boxes, almost all fragile and bulky. We took what we could, but others we left with her parents to decide.

One thing I would say for any wedding is to get a clear picture of who is paying for what. It may not be polite or civil or easy, but it can save the couple the shame of begging for follow through when payments are due. As a couple, talk to your family (both sides) if they are paying for anything and make it clear the expectations. As a family, offer no more than you can afford, and anticipate need to spare feelings and stress.

MattW
02-12-2007, 02:13 AM
Just realized I'm deep in a thread titled "Calling all BRIDES"

Posting doesn't make me any less of a man, only more.

BardSkye
02-12-2007, 02:20 AM
Well, a bride generally needs a groom, so why wouldn't you be able to put your opinion in?

I think the trend now is more shared planning for the whole thing, so a man's perspective is valuable.

PastMidnight
02-12-2007, 03:51 AM
Well, I guess I'm in the minority here. Both my husband and I were in agreement to follow the traditional, formal sort of etiquette for our wedding. I don't remember really stressing out about it. I do remember my mother getting irate phone calls from guests because we hadn't put maps in the invitations or registry information. I think following the 'rules' so to speak actually helped prevent any stress. There was never any question for us as to how many envelopes to use, how to address them, what inserts to include, etc., and so we really didn't have to make decisions about all of that stuff.

dreamsofnever
02-12-2007, 06:54 AM
Just realized I'm deep in a thread titled "Calling all BRIDES"

Posting doesn't make me any less of a man, only more.

LOL. I second that, Matt!


And sass, I'm currently planning a wedding and here are a few etiquette things that were brought up:

Apparently, it's poor etiquette to have a cash bar, but we're sure as heck not going to be able to afford a fully open bar, so we're having an hour of open and then free beer (our choice of type) and free wine (again, our choice of type) for the rest of the night, until it runs out.

It's also apparently expected to invite the parents of the people who are standing up, but as I have 9 bridesmaids (yes, I know...) and I haven't met all of their parents and one is actually my ex-fiance's sister and inviting his parents might be strange, I'm not inviting all the parents of my attendants.

Then there's seating arrangements... umm... what are we, in second grade? I'm not going to tell my guests where to sit-it's extra work for me to figure out where would be best and then they have to deal with not getting to sit with whomever they want to sit with.

What else... Hmm... I'm not doing this personally, but I know of someone who will have both her mother and father walk her down the aisle because her mom was as important (if not moreso) than her father.

And inviting out of town guests to the rehearsal dinner... jury's still out on that one, because they're on my side and his parents are paying for the rehearsal dinner, and seeing as the wedding party is insanely huge, it wouldn't really be fair.

Also, if you want to dig further, there's a whole thread on weddingchannel.com about doing things that are considered poor etiquette: here (http://boards.weddingchannel.com/index.jsp?redirect=/forum.jspa?forumID=127)

Hope this helps!

MattW
02-12-2007, 05:03 PM
My wife was a WeddingChannel and TheKnot junkie.

Now she's moved to the Knot's sister site - the Nest. People talk about all the early marriage issues from sharing chores to finances to sex. While she and I are both professionals, it seems most of the women on that site have insane amounts of income, so their advice is often skewed.

ideagirl
02-13-2007, 08:29 AM
we're having an hour of open and then free beer (our choice of type) and free wine (again, our choice of type) for the rest of the night, until it runs out.

That is a GREAT idea. I'm going to have to keep that in mind...


It's also apparently expected to invite the parents of the people who are standing up

WHAT?! I've never been to a wedding where this was done, or at least not one where any of those parents showed up (perhaps they were invited without my knowledge). And I've been to lots of weddings, including very very formal ones. God, that just seems bizarre. Why would you want a bunch of people most of whom are total strangers at your wedding? And what if the parents are divorced and remarried--in your case, if all nine bridesmaids' parents had divorced and remarried, you'd be inviting 36 people (that's a lot of money!), including lots of complete strangers, to your wedding. What a bizarre idea!



I know of someone who will have both her mother and father walk her down the aisle because her mom was as important (if not moreso) than her father.

At my brother's wedding, both he and the bride were walked down the aisle, each of them by both parents. It was lovely. All the parents looked super-proud.

Sohia Rose
02-13-2007, 01:05 PM
They could always elope?

My husband and I eloped and it was one of the best decisions we had ever made. I knew my mother would have taken over the entire wedding. But I felt like marriage was something I wanted to do on my own. Matrimony was my piece of independence emerging. In fact, it was the first adult decision I had ever made without the approval from family and friends.

I had also read magazine stories (and watched Dr. Phil) about how women planned their weddings their entire lives, but hadn’t planned on being a wife. Marriage to them was all about the “set-up,” not the real-life collaborating of another human being. Many of the articles also mentioned how couples veered into debt before they said, “I do,” which is one of the topmost reasons most couples fight––money. We didn’t want that to happen to us. So we jetted off to Las Vegas and got married in a little white chapel near the courthouse. My husband wore black jeans and a Metallica t-shirt. I wore jeans, a tank top, and motorcycle boots. We’ve been happily married for five years. My husband’s such a romantic. :D

MattW
02-13-2007, 05:08 PM
I had also read magazine stories (and watched Dr. Phil) about how women planned their weddings their entire lives, but hadn’t planned on being a wife. Marriage to them was all about the “set-up,” not the real-life collaborating of another human being. Many of the articles also mentioned how couples veered into debt before they said, “I do,” which is one of the topmost reasons most couples fight––money.It's all over the media - from the wedding shows to Super Sweet Sixteen. Kids who just want to be the center of attention, have a fantasy party, wear gorgeous (or awful in many cases) gowns, and blow a whole lot of money that would be better spent on securing financial independence. They bully, whine, complain, pout, and generally tell everyone that being a bride makes them special.

When the carriage turns into a pumpkin, too many newlyweds are left with bills, hurt feelings, and no real idea of how to live together. I've only been married six months, but we've lived together for over two years. That was enough time to hammer out the stupid stuff before the wedding, so when the inevitable post-wedding stupid stuff came up, it wasn't piled on pre-existing troubles.

sassandgroove
02-13-2007, 05:54 PM
Thanks everyone for your posts. This is great stuff. I'm still working. I might pm some of you for more info if that's okay.

If you are interested; My wedding was medieval. we had it in a state park, by a lake. My dad did the ceremony and my mom gave me away. The groomsmen (and GROOM) had swords, I wore flowers in my hair, our guests dressed up ( we had a wizard, a jester, a few knights and monks, and many ladies.) My mom held her head high and said "it's good to be queen." We ahd a frog prince on the cover of our programs, my best friend made the cakes, and I ordered my dress online. It was great. I made a website with hotel info, where to get medieval costumes, what to do while in town, where we were registered, all that good stuff. we had yummy alabama bbq! mmm... we go to Jim n' nicks on our anniversary, since they catered it. I gotta go for now. Thanks everyone! :D

Mae
02-13-2007, 06:26 PM
Rather than have the families and one another stressed, we eloped.
Mailed out the announcements on the day of.
By the time we returned from out honeymoon, everyone had gotten over the surprise and most of their anger. Well wishes all around.
15 years later and we have never regretted the decision.

tjwriter
02-14-2007, 04:00 AM
Apparently, it's poor etiquette to have a cash bar, but we're sure as heck not going to be able to afford a fully open bar, so we're having an hour of open and then free beer (our choice of type) and free wine (again, our choice of type) for the rest of the night, until it runs out.

Screw that! We offered free beer, but then we had to hire licensed bartenders to come in and serve for the cash bar. I wasn't about to pay for all the drinks, and the place where our reception was held didn't serve anything because that's not what it was intended to do.

And you might warn people about the last month. By the time it got there, all I wanted was to get the darn thing over with so that the spousal unit and I could get back to our regularly scheduled lives. If I'd had any sense at all, we would have eloped and come back to throw a major bash for the reception. However since we married in the year of all the weddings, I was pleased to be told that we had the best reception of all the weddings one person attended.

tela
02-14-2007, 05:33 AM
Both of my daughters married in 06 neither followed all "the rules." one daughter had a traditional wedding but offered soda water and sweet tea and sparkling cider for the toast.
The other had a 1860 ear wedding. The brides maids dresses were different colors the brides maids picked their dress style and hair style the groom wore top hat and tails the groomsmen era suits. The families wore period dress and many of the guests. They had one bottle of wine on each table and a champagne toast. We did worry about how to request period attire but not require it. In the end we put a note on the bottom of the directions slip stating Period attire would be appreciated but not expected.
Both weddings went well with as far as I know no disgruntled guests. The biggest problem we had with both weddings was making sure the couple had the wedding they wanted and didn't cave in to what others thought they should have.

dreamsofnever
02-14-2007, 07:26 PM
WHAT?! I've never been to a wedding where this was done, or at least not one where any of those parents showed up (perhaps they were invited without my knowledge). And I've been to lots of weddings, including very very formal ones. God, that just seems bizarre. Why would you want a bunch of people most of whom are total strangers at your wedding? And what if the parents are divorced and remarried--in your case, if all nine bridesmaids' parents had divorced and remarried, you'd be inviting 36 people (that's a lot of money!), including lots of complete strangers, to your wedding. What a bizarre idea!


isn't it nutty? It's a really really old tradition, so I think it's mostly ignored now. And oy-36 more people! Yikes...

Good luck with your wedding planning! the other thing we're considering for is offering a special drink, like we pick out a cocktail and offer that free too and it's kind of our 'signature' cocktail, but the fiance mostly nixed this idea because he says people are going to drink what they want to drink, so they probably won't appreciate having a drink picked for them.

And Sass-absolutely PM me if you need any more help on this!

dreamsofnever
02-14-2007, 08:25 PM
They could always elope?
I had also read magazine stories (and watched Dr. Phil) about how women planned their weddings their entire lives, but hadn’t planned on being a wife. Marriage to them was all about the “set-up,” not the real-life collaborating of another human being. Many of the articles also mentioned how couples veered into debt before they said, “I do,” which is one of the topmost reasons most couples fight––money. We didn’t want that to happen to us. So we jetted off to Las Vegas and got married in a little white chapel near the courthouse. My husband wore black jeans and a Metallica t-shirt. I wore jeans, a tank top, and motorcycle boots. We’ve been happily married for five years. My husband’s such a romantic. :D

That's so cute Sophia!

And I agree with you-there's so much focus on the wedding and the wedding planning, but not nearly enough focus on the *marriage* that comes afterwards. As much as I love the wedding planning, I'm not stressing because I know the important thing is that, at the end of the day, I get to go home with my husband, who is the love of my life. So whenever I find myself stressing over a small thing, I just remember that and it's all good. and if my parents hadn't offered to pay for the ceremony and reception, we would have a tiny intimate ceremony without all the frills and I would be just as happy with that.

sassandgroove
03-07-2007, 05:33 PM
Okay, so my article is taking a different slant. I picked up the Anti Bride Ettiquette Guide at the library. While I was there, I also found Emily Post's Wedding Etiquette Fourth Edition, updated by one Ms. Peggy Post. Well, after reading the two, I think the Post guide is actually more up to date and modern as well as gracious and helpful. The other one came across as "how to get your own way" rather than "how to best handle a situation so everyone is happy." Etiquette, I am now understanding, is how to put everyone at ease. How to take everyone's feelings into account, and how to handle any and every situation with grace and kindness. It isn't about following some arbitrary rules set up by busy bodied people with too much time and or money on their hands. The anti bride book came across as disdainful at the "old' way at times. But the Post guide came across as "well this is how times have changed, and this is why you still want to do A." Or "times have changed, and now you can do B instead." I'm rambling now. Anywho, I emailed Peggy Post asking for an interview. BIG STEP for Me. Yikes. I'm moving forward, even if it is tiny baby steps.

ETA: Another thing I am learning through all of this is how to spell Etiquette. HA! :D

ideagirl
03-07-2007, 11:19 PM
Etiquette, I am now understanding, is how to put everyone at ease. How to take everyone's feelings into account, and how to handle any and every situation with grace and kindness. It isn't about following some arbitrary rules

A friend of mine has a definition that you might like: he says etiquette is about behaving in accordance with arbitrary rules, while manners are about taking other people's feelings into account so as to handle situations with grace and kindness. Or you might say, etiquette is the letter of the law, but manners are the spirit of the law.

This is how you can decide which rules to follow and which rules to ignore or modify: if there is a rule whose original purpose is lost--for example, a rule that just seems empty, that doesn't promote good feelings or grace and kindness, but is just a random arbitrary rule--then you can safely ignore it, because no one's feelings are going to be hurt.

And if there is an etiquette rule that, in this day and age, in your own life, would hurt somebody's feelings, then you can ignore or change that particular rule. For example, the old rule is that the bride's father walks her down the aisle, but what if the bride was raised mainly by her mother and stepfather? What if it would hurt her stepfather's feelings to be left out? Well then, since following that etiquette rule would be a breach of manners, she can change the rule. Maybe she could have both her father and her stepfather walk her down the aisle, or whatever other solution leaves her and her family feeling the best.

sassandgroove
03-08-2007, 05:11 PM
isn't it nutty? It's a really really old tradition, so I think it's mostly ignored now. And oy-36 more people! Yikes...

Good luck with your wedding planning! the other thing we're considering for is offering a special drink, like we pick out a cocktail and offer that free too and it's kind of our 'signature' cocktail, but the fiance mostly nixed this idea because he says people are going to drink what they want to drink, so they probably won't appreciate having a drink picked for them.

And Sass-absolutely PM me if you need any more help on this!
Oh, btw Ithought you all would like to know it says in Emily Posts book that you only have to invite parents of attendants if you are close to them, and not just the attendant. I never heard about it, I did invite my maid of honor's mother, but she is like a second mom to me. I didn't invite anyone else's. I've never even met one of my attendants parents.

sassandgroove
03-08-2007, 05:14 PM
And if there is an etiquette rule that, in this day and age, in your own life, would hurt somebody's feelings, then you can ignore or change that particular rule. For example, the old rule is that the bride's father walks her down the aisle, but what if the bride was raised mainly by her mother and stepfather? What if it would hurt her stepfather's feelings to be left out? Well then, since following that etiquette rule would be a breach of manners, she can change the rule. Maybe she could have both her father and her stepfather walk her down the aisle, or whatever other solution leaves her and her family feeling the best.
Idea girl, I love your input on this thread. You sound like I did before I started reading the ettiquette books. But I am finding that it is freeing. Take the father down the aisle thing. It says in the ettiquette books to go with whom you choose not necessarily your father, just as you are saying. The father is the TRADITION, not the RULE. It is interesting to me how tradition and etiquette go hand in hand and people mix them together.