In the heat of summer weddings are on the mind, which is why we’re presenting part two of our etiquette series for couples, guests, family members alike can use as a resource. Last week we covered the basics in our pre wedding etiquette – invites, budget, kids or no kids? Today, we’re tackling that big, sparkly, dreamy (but maybe a wee bit stressful) day… a day that can run flawlessly with some preparation.
Whether you are a bride or groom, guest or member of the bridal party, we hope our guide to wedding day etiquette is useful.
Bride & Groom:
Tipping: Like most other service oriented employees, tipping is a cost to budget when paying your hard working vendors. Questions about proper tipping etiquette are frequently asked; see below for industry standards:
The Bartenders: Expected:10 % of liquor bill, split among them
The Makeup Artist/Hair Stylist: Expected: 15-20% depending on quality
The Limo Driver: Expected: 15%
The Wedding Planner: Optional. A personal gift could also be a good choice
The Photographer: Optional but If they don’t own the studio tips are heavily appreciated
Making the Rounds: It is important to greet and meet with your guests meaningfully, but don’t forget this day is about celebrating your newly established martial commitment – not all about you play host/ess. Make an effort to engage with guest (they did come out just for you!) and then ENJOY yourself! You’re there to dance, celebrate, eat the cake, and bask in you hard earned glory of the beautiful wedding you just planned. If you’re feeling like your personal connections still won’t suffice, a welcome toast is a great way to express your gratitude.
The Bridal Party
The Speeches: The Best Man & Maid of Honor are traditionally responsible for reception speeches. Varying in tone by each personality, we find this can be a highlight of the night for the entire wedding roster (how great is it to see a sentimental + hilarious side of the bride/groom in 3 minutes flat?!)
If you have a case of writer’s block, consider the following: speeches show showcase your friendship, a meaningful memory, a hope for the future. If you’re going the slap stick route, keep it light & playful. Major embarrassment does not look good on anyone. Let your personality shine!
Be Helpful: Yes the bridal party should absolutely enjoy themselves at the wedding, as they are an integral part of the wedding fun. Why you’re kicking up your heels, make sure to check in with the newlyweds throughout the night. If the bride or groom expresses the need for something whether it be calming words before the ceremony, help getting their dress or suit on, or escorting Mr. I’ve Had One Too Many away from the bar area, don’t hesitate to make them as comfortable as possible.
Act Responsibly: Just because there may be an open bar doesn’t mean that you need to completely booze it up. While weddings are fun and do call for celebration, be aware of your alcohol consumption and keep in mind that any outrageous behavior could lead to an unhappy bride and groom. **This especially applies to Colorado weddings. Altitude can lower alcohol tolerance, so drink plenty of water throughout the night.
Listen to the Invite: It is imperative not to assume that your boyfriend, girlfriend, best friend or children are invited just because you are. Some couples have to make tough attendance decisions so do you best to not be personally offended if the affair is “adult only.” Do not show up at the wedding with any unexpected guests or children for it could cause tremendous problems with the couple as well as seating and organization.
Be Social Media Savvy: Some couples highly encourage the use of social media at their weddings, and sometimes even have a special hashtag to be used for Instagram or Twitter. If this is the case, post fun and beautiful pictures and utilize social media to make the pictures easy to access. However, if the couple doesn’t make their preferences clear, either ask the wedding coordinator or bride and groom if you can post pictures. Some couples may be upset if they don’t get to see the pictures before everybody else.
In a cultural moment where the rules of wedding etiquette tend to be in flux, it can be confusing to keep up and stay confident with what is expected. Following every single “rule” written by our friend Emily Post will definitely produce some tension, so let us take the reins on the research so you can get informed on all wedding etiquette & expectations. First up – pre wedding preparations. Stay tuned next week for part two, we’ll be discussing guest and hosting etiquette the day of the event.
Talk About It. Though some families may stick to the tradition, modern weddings are not necessarily to be paid for by the brides parents. With many couples now contributing or covering the bill, its not completely expected that the brides family bears total financial responsibility. Don’t go into planning assuming certain people will be contributing.
Ask Tons of Questions. Before deciding on potential vendors, it is key that you ask a ton of questions about costs and extra fees. This open line of communication will help you keep a clear head and close eye on your budget. For example inquire about how much staff will be required on the day of, and what exactly they will be needed for.
Who gets a plus one to this fancy fete? Traditional invitation etiquette suggests that a plus one is extended to a guest who is in a committed relationship; married, engaged or living together. If you couldn’t tell a theme in our blog, feel it out for what makes sense for your guest list. Our token of advice: find consistency in your method. With feelings on the line, it is best to create boundaries of what makes the most sense for you and your wedding.
Kids or no Kids? Having children invited to the wedding is entirely up to you, but make sure that it is made clear. If you decide to include children in the invite, you can write “and family” on the RSVP. However, it is also perfectly okay to invite just children from your close family but state clearly that you cannot invite everyones children for logistical purposes. If you do decide that you want children invited but don’t want your guests to have to be on chaperone duty, hire a nanny or babysitter to entertain the little ones at the event!
When to send? Save the dates have become increasingly more popular with the emergence of destination and long weekend weddings. Though they aren’t required, save the dates give your guests a chance to look forward to the special day as well as save some cash and make travel plans. We suggest sending them out at least 6 months in advance, and even earlier for destination weddings. When sending out your formal invitations, we suggest at least eight weeks before the wedding so that you can receive timely RSVP’s and keep the planning organized!
The Engagement Party:
When to throw the fabulous celebration? It is nice to host the engagement party soon after the engagement is announced so the news is still exciting and new. Want to make it even more exciting? Announce the engagement at the party itself!
Who hosts? Traditionally it is the brides parents that host the engagement party, however with wedding etiquette constantly evolving it is not rare to see friends of the couple hosting the party, or even the couple themselves choosing to throw their own gathering.
Who is invited? Usually anyone who is invited to the engagement party is also invited to the wedding. However, this doesn’t mean you have to invite everyone from the wedding to your engagement party. Many couples opt to keep the guest list to close friends and family. But, if you are having a rather small wedding and can’t accommodate everyone, the engagement party could be a great opportunity to include those who you can’t invite to the wedding.
Do you register beforehand? Though gifts aren’t traditionally expected, it is often the case that guests will show up with gifts in hand. For this reason it might be useful and helpful to your guests to have a registry to refer to!
Guest etiquette for engagement parties
Are gifts required for an engagement party? If there is no registry what are we supposed to give the couple? Don’t Overdo the Gift. We love the idea of giving something special for the couple to enjoy together. Don’t feel pressured to give something over the top or elaborate, but rather something that shows how much you care about the couple and their future life together.
Show your genuine style. We love the idea of giving a special set of champagne flutes for the couple to cheers with, or for a more foodie option, a tasteful basket of fine cheeses and meats for the couple to snack on during a pre-wedding picnic. We are especially in love with these baskets from Cured, a local Boulder, CO shop. If you really want to put the future newlyweds to the test, gift them with the Williams-Sonoma Newlywed cookbook and let them create amazing memories testing out new recipes.
The Bachelorette & Bachelor Party:
Bridal party etiquette for Bachelor & Bachelorette parties
Who pays? Traditionally the bridesmaids and groomsmen foot the bill for the bachelor or bachelorette festivities, including all of the costs for the bride and groom. You want them feel as special as possible so make it a point to save some extra cash to make the weekend the best it can be. That being said, you don’t want to break the bank and become resentful of the special weekend, so make sure to keep an open dialogue with the bride or groom about what is reasonable.
Listen Closely! The bachelor and bachelorette parties are supposed to be symbolic of the bride and grooms last single time out. That being said, not every bride or groom wants that wild weekend in Vegas (though there is nothing wrong with that!) Be the best bridesmaid or groomsmen you can be by listening to the needs of the guest of honor, even if its not exactly what you want. You want them feel comfortable and appreciative of all of your hard work.
Say Cheese! Make sure to document the weekend by snapping pics. You can even make a scrapbook or photo collage later on for the bride or groom to keep. However, make sure that you are social media cautious and double check with the guest of honor about what they want posted.