Planning a wedding can be hard work and result in a lot of questions regarding propriety and etiquette. Blending culture and religious traditions with various groups of friends and family can sometimes require a delicate touch to please everyone. Managing all of this, along with wanting to have a fun reception at the end of the ceremony, could leave a couple confused about the do's and don'ts on wedding etiquette.
To assist with that, here are some of the most asked wedding etiquette questions with answers.
How do you address wedding invitations and when do you send them?
Place your order for the invitations roughly four to six months prior to the wedding. You’ll need to have all the invitations in the mail 8-10 weeks before the big day.
Addressing the invitations can depend on how formal your wedding will be. Wedding invitations not only provide the important details of the special day, they also give guests their first glimpse of the style, tone, and formality of the wedding that is planned.
Example:Mr. Alexander Graham Smith; Doctor Garrett Phillip Hanna
Example: two thousand seventeen; two thousand twenty-three
- Inner envelopes bear the title and last names of the specific people invited. It is acceptable to write familiar names for close family members.
Example: Mr. and Mrs. Sonnek
Aunt Mary and Uncle Phil
- The names of children who are 18 years old and younger should be written on separate lines below their parents' names.
Example: Mr. and Mrs. Sonnek
- Children 19 years old or older who still live at home with their parents should receive their own invitation.
- If inner envelopes are not being used, the children’s names are written on the outer envelope below the names of their parents.
- Outer envelopes should be addressed conventionally using titles and full names (first, middle, and last).
- Middle initials aren’t used, so either write out middle names (if known) or omit them.
- All titles should be written out, except "Mr." and "Mrs."
- All other words should be written out (Street, Saint, Post Office Box, North, Apartment, etc.). House numbers under twenty should be written out, as well.
- Proper etiquette indicates to write out the state name; however, the two-letter postal code abbreviation is also acceptable when dealing with limited space.
Who pays for the wedding?
Originally, it was a tradition for the Bride’s parents to pay for most of the expenses related to the wedding while the Groom’s parents paid for the ceremony. But nowadays, most couples share the expense with their parents or pay for the whole day by themselves. If you elect to share expenses, talk to them as soon as possible about what will be paid for by whom. Traditionally, it’s the Bride’s parents that host the wedding; if you want to vary from that, you should talk to them first.
What are the responsibilities for the Best Man?
Arranging a bachelor party is just one of many duties of the Best Man. Before the wedding day his responsibilities include:
- Pick up the Groom’s suit or tuxedo.
- Coordinate the fittings of the formal wear for the Groomsmen.
- Organize the toasts for the rehearsal party.
- Verify the travel reservations for the honeymoon.
On the wedding day, the Best man should:
- Assist in managing the Groom’s time.
- Keeps the fee for the officiator until after the wedding and, as the witness to the Groom, signs the marriage license.
- Prepare the Groomsmen for formal photos.
- Bring the ring for the Bride to the ceremony.
- Give the first toast at the reception.
- Check that the get-away car is ready complete with the soon-to-be-married couple’s luggage inside the car.
- Dance with the Maid of Honor at the reception.
Does a dress code need to be required?
If you’re having a traditional wedding, usually it’s customary for your guests to wear “morning dress” attire which is indicated by the formal tone of the invitation. However, today, any type of dress code can be specified; you can have whatever you like, anything from themed attire to black-tie. Just be sure to include a note at the bottom of your invitations.
Should the "ex" be invited to the wedding?
Sending an invitation to an ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend will depend on two things ... if your fiance is comfortable with having that person at the wedding and how friendly the break-up was. It’s suggested that an ex not be invited to the ceremony for these reasons:
- It could be stressful and confusing for any children you may share.
- It would be awkward for your ex. They might feel bad about having to reject the invitation, but less than excited to sit there and watch you get married.
- Guests might also be uneasy. They might not know exactly what to say to your ex and accidentally place the attention on the ex, instead of on the happy couple.
Who should you invite to a destination wedding?
A lot of couples will only bring family and close friends with them then plan a party for everybody else once they return home. Based on where you’d like to marry, travel expenses could be a problem so be sure to consider that when deciding who to invite. With a destination wedding, it’s good manners to pay for your guest’s accommodations while they’ll pay their travel costs.
What are the responsibilities for the Matron of Honor/Maid of Honor?
Before the wedding day:
- Set up the dress fittings.
- Assist with organizational projects like addressing invitations.
- Plan the bridal shower with the help of the Bridesmaids.
On the wedding day the Maid/Matron of Honor will:
- Escort the Bride to the wedding.
- Hold onto the Bride’s bouquet during the ceremony. Carry and pass the Groom’s ring to the Bride within the vows.
- Arrange the Bride’s train and veil through the day.
- As the Bride’s witness, sign the marriage license.
- Assist in organizing the Bridesmaids for the formal pictures.
- Dance with the Best Man.
- See to it that the Bride’s bouquet and wedding dress are cared for until the Bride and Groom return from their honeymoon.
- Assist with any bridal dress changes.