Thursday Fun ~ Dear Ms. Etiquette

Dear Ms. Etiquette,

I recently got engaged and I’m doing a lot of thinking about the upcoming wedding.  I have a few questions.  Okay, a lot of questions, about what’s considered proper wedding etiquette.

I hope you don’t mind answering them for me; I’d feel much better knowing I’m handling situations in the right way.

Thursday Fun ~ Dear Ms. Etiquette
Thursday Fun ~ Dear Ms. Etiquette

Q:  Do I send a wedding announcement and an invitation to everyone I know?

A: Certainly not.  The announcements can go to everyone, including the newspapers, but the invitations only go to people you want at the wedding.

Q:  Can I send wedding invites via email?

A:   Even though many wedding traditions seem to have gone out the window in recent years, there are some time-honored traditions that remain.  Sending real, physical, beautiful wedding invitations via snail mail is one of them.

Q:  For financial reasons, I need to limit my wedding to 100 people. How do I invite some and not others? Where do I draw the line?

A:  Sometimes it’s easier to limit the wedding to an even smaller number, such as family members and very close friends only, than it is to limit it to 100.  Start with the “must invites” and work outwards in your circle of people.  It won’t hurt to send out invitations to those who live farther away when you know they won’t travel. Aunt Mabel will be tickled to have the invitation anyway.

Where it becomes fuzzier is with coworkers and those on the boarder of your circle.  Depending on the circumstances, you may opt for honesty and tell those not invited that you had to limit your list to a small number because of budget constraints.  This makes for fewer hurt feelings.

I’ve heard…

Q:  I’ve heard we have a year to send thank you notes for the wedding gifts we’ll receive.  Is this true?

A:  Humph.  Let me put it this way… I would be embarrassed for you if you sent me a thank you note for a gift I gave you 364 day ago.  Keep on top of it.  As soon as you get a gift, jot a nice note and send it.  If you do it as the gifts come in, it won’t overwhelm you.  Don’t even ask me about sending thank yous via email.

Q:  I’m hoping my maid of honor will throw a shower for me.  Will she automatically do this or should I ask her?

A:  There is no written rule stating the maid of honor or any of your friends have to host a shower for you so if you have someone in mind, you’ll have to ask them.  Before you put the burden on them, though, decide if they are really the right person for the job.  Can they financially afford to do it?  Are the dependable?  Would they even like to do it?

Inviting people

Q:  Can I invite people to my shower that I’m not inviting to the wedding?

A:  No ma’am.  The exception would be if it’s a workplace shower with a large number of employees or a shower back in your home town if that town is at least several hundred miles away.

Q:  What about the rehearsal dinner?  My soon-to-be husband’s parents are both remarried. Who pays? Who gets invited?

A:  Traditionally, the groom’s parents pay for the rehearsal dinner, but this does not have to be so.  His parents and step-parents may work out a combined hosting, or the bride and groom can pay for it themselves. 

As far as who to invite, it should be all parents and step-parents, the wedding party and their significant others, any children you or your intended have, plus your siblings.  After that, it’s up to you.  If you have close family or friends from out of town who have flown in you can certainly invite them to the rehearsal dinner if it’s okay with the hosts.


Q:  Truthfully, as far as wedding presents go, we’d rather receive cash than gifts because we’re saving for a down payment on a house.  Is it acceptable to put a note in the wedding invitations or tell people?

A:  No, no, no.  It’s considered bad form to put any sort of note in a wedding invitation that mentions anything about gifts or gift registries.  Get the word out to a close friend and a family member or two and ask them to spread the word.  It is acceptable for them to let others know what you want.

Thank you for enlightening me, Ms. Etiquette.  I believe you’ve answered all my questions regarding wedding etiquette.

I want to thank Ms. Etiquette for her very “proper” answers but… I think proper is sometimes overrated?!

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