In our fast paced, modern world we tend to think of etiquette as an antiquated concept.
When was the last time you even heard the word ‘etiquette?’ But good manners, and knowing appropriate protocol, never goes out of style. Understanding what to do, especially in unfamiliar situations, helps us all enjoy ourselves, knowing we will avoid embarrassment caused by not knowing what was expected of us.
And for weddings, we definitely want to know what’s expected. The bride and groom and their respective families, each, traditionally, have a role to play. It is perfectly ok to stray from those protocols – but knowing the traditions and background will help make those changes go smoother. For example, modern couples often pay for their own weddings, when historically it has been the bride’s family’s responsibility.
Which leads us to one of the biggest questions: ‘who pays for what?’ If parents are paying for the wedding, today the bride’s family often still pays for almost everything. The groom’s family pays for: wedding rings, flowers, marriage license, officiant, rehearsal dinner, limo and honeymoon. That sounds like a lot, but its not compared to the bride’s side.
Another frequent question is what are the responsibilities of the mother of the groom? Traditionally her first order of business is to initiate contact between the families, if they don’t know each other. Call and invite the bride’s family for dinner. If they live far away, a nice letter is appropriate. Provide the bride’s family with your guests list in a timely manner and inquire about dress selection and color.
One of the most important rules of etiquette is the thank you note. Sadly, the art of the personal note is being forgotten. I’m the first to go to my email whenever possible, but for a wedding gift you really should write a personal thank you, and in a timely fashion. Include in it: thanking the person for attending (if they did), mention the gift specifically, possibly how you will use or enjoy the gift, and reference any other specifics, such as a toast, or tidbit from the wedding. Three weeks post celebration is the perfect timing, but even six to eight weeks is still within reason. Please do not mess this one up – of all the etiquette rules to be broken, this is not one of them.
Customs, traditions, and etiquette all play a role in our lives and are especially important at life’s milestones. Knowing what is expected helps make things run smoother, and helps one decide which rules are right for you, and which you will decide to change.
Thank you once again Lisa Rhinehart! for the gorgeous photos!