I received a question from a Clise Etiquette Facebook fan about wedding etiquette. It’s that time of year when many people get engaged. So, I asked my Facebook fans if they had other questions they wanted me to answer in a blog post. I got quite a few good, sometimes shocking, questions.
I hope these questions and answers help you get your wedding planning or attending off to a good start.
Q. I once had a girlfriend invite a few women to her wedding shower, who then found out (at the shower) that they weren’t invited to the wedding. Ouch. What’s the protocol for who gets invited to wedding showers?
A. Ouch is right! The only people invited to a wedding shower are those who are invited to the wedding. However, sometimes a friend or coworker wants to host a shower and not knowing who is and isn’t invited to the wedding plans to invite both groups. If the bride is aware of the shower she should be sure only those who are invited to the wedding are invited to the shower.
Also, showers are given by a close friend or family member, other than the bride’s mother or sister. The bride (and groom) never hosts her own shower.
Q. How do you politely tell a guest that they cannot bring three of their pals to your event? This happens a lot to my bride friends.
A. I’m surprised people would actually think they could bring uninvited friends to a wedding. If their friends didn’t receive a wedding invitation they are not invited. But for those friends who don’t understand this, the bride would simply say “I’m so excited to have you attend our wedding but I’m afraid we can’t accommodate anyone who wasn’t invited. Our venue and catering are based on a set number of people attending and unfortunately we can’t exceed that number. I’m sure you understand.” And, leave it at that. Your friends do not need to feel badly for saying no.
Q. If the bride is paying for the pictures how do you go about negotiating and making sure that the groom’s family has pictures taken too.
A. No matter who is paying for the photographs, the photos should include shots of both the bride and groom’s family and friends. According to Leticia Baldridge, etiquette expert and former social secretary to Jacqueline Kennedy, her book New Manners for New Times states, “the bride’s parents are supposed to make a gift of eight to ten photographs to the groom’s family.” Whether the bride’s family does or does not make a gift of photos, the groom’s family should purchase any (additional) prints they want.
It’s important to discuss any details such as this in advance so that there are no surprises.
Q. When I get married I want my best friend there, but I absolutely hate her husband and don’t even want him in the same city as me (they live out of state). How do I put that nicely?
A. There is no way to put that nicely. Therefore you wouldn’t say a word and you would invite both of them. You will damage the relationship by trying to explain why you don’t want her husband at your wedding. She married him and he is part of her life. Grin and bear it.
There were other questions, but they will have to be answered in subsequent posts. If you have any marriage etiquette questions feel free to ask them in a comment.