Local News

Here’s how to plan a wedding that doesn’t insult the guests

By From page A3 | January 16, 2014

By Rebecca Black

Over-the-top fantasy, fairytale weddings appear to be all the rage, as is evidenced by the 8+ million television viewers of the Kardashian spectacle. But in the end, even the father of the bride was embarrassed about the results. Yes, it was cringe-worthy with the divorce proceedings lasting longer than the 72-day marriage. One has to wonder what the wedding guests really thought about the wedding.

Considering the popularity of these reality shows, do wedding couples actually consider their guests today? Is it really “all about the couple?” And, should bridal couples treat their wedding day as an excuse to play dress up and treat their special guests as minions?

Let’s put some real reality into wedding planning and rethink the current concept of the “princess for the day” syndrome. Most importantly, let’s try to remember that when we invite guests we are expected to be hosts.

#1 rule: Comfortable is key
If possible, schedule the reception to directly follow the wedding. Guests shouldn’t have to wait around twiddling their thumbs between events. Perhaps take most photos before the wedding. Alternately, provide wedding guests with an activity or a hospitality room, in which to wait, if they are to wait more than a couple of hours.

#2 rule: Gifts should not be the focus
Guests shouldn’t be invited merely to give an extravagant gift. When those we haven’t seen in years or we know won’t attend are invited, it can appear as if we are only after the obligatory gift. So, only invite those who are close.

Register for a variety of items in a various price ranges: $5 to … . But, please don’t treat the registry as a dream wish list. You two can purchase the big-ticket items. Riding lawn mower, anyone?

Don’t post your wedding registry on the first page of your wedding website. Guests should have to search for it. These sites should focus on your love story.

Never request cash! It appears greedy.

#3 rule: Choose a formality level and stick to it.
Venue, attire, and time of day will dictate formality. So, if the budget allows for only a daytime wedding in the park, formal gown and tux as bridal attire would be considered a faux pas and confusing to guests. Please note that a tuxedo is considered formal evening attire.

Guests typically determine the formality of a wedding — moreover, what they will wear — by the formality of the invitation. So, choose wedding invitations and wording that reflects this.

Select a lightweight, simple font using informal language, for the informal affair. Heavyweight ivory, cream, or white paper, engraved, third-person language using a traditional font screams formal wedding.

#4 rule: Provide the party
Hosts host, basically meaning that the host provides the entire party: venue, food, beverages and entertainment. After-parties for a select few is impolite, as is inviting some to the meal portion of the reception with the remainder of the guests arriving for the dance. Not nice. Guests know the difference and are insulted.

All wedding guests are invited to the entire reception.

#5 rule: Thank your guests
Guests attend weddings/receptions to support and share in the couple’s special moment. So, it is only polite for the couple to visit with each and every one of them. Handshaking, air kisses, hugs, and lots of thanks should be flowing as freely as the bubbly.

And, don’t forget those handwritten thank you notes for all gifts!

— Rebecca Black is an etiquette specialist and teacher in Davis. For more information, visit http://www.etiquettenow.com

Special to The Enterprise

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