A modern etiquette ambassador guides you through the wedding season



There are subtle signs, like handshakes, that the pandemic has subsided, and then there is the monumental business. The kind of gatherings that didn’t even seem achievable just a few months ago. Weddings definitely fall into this category, and the season is back in full force.

Whether you’re finally planning the wedding of your dreams or just wasting space on the fridge door for a slew of dates, falling back into wedding season can be a life-changing experience, no matter how joyous it is. . To help you navigate the formalities of invitations, rehearsal dinners and registers, we turned to Heather Wiese Alexander, PaperCity essential ambassador of the modern label and founder of the luxury stationery brand BELL’Invito. Consider this as your guide to a busy wedding season.

Wedding planning etiquette …

How do you decide which guests get a plus one?
This is where etiquette can prevent a lot of headaches and prevent the decision from feeling too personal. The “rules” so to speak are:

Committed singles (fiancé, cohabitant)

Wedding (everyone is attending the wedding, not just the assistants)

This is where you can relax: reciprocity plus one is not one thing. It’s nice that you got to have one plus one at their wedding, but that doesn’t mean you have to give them one back. Of course, the reverse also retains water.

Wedding of Lauren Reed and Trey McDonald at Grand Ivory

If you’re expecting RSVPs, how soon can you keep track of MIA guests?
Give them three to four days after the reply date (if you gave them one), or about two to three weeks before the wedding. If your printer or calligrapher needs names for today’s items, you will need to start with the first side.

Is it okay to have a small, intimate ceremony, but a large reception?
In short, carefully. It’s definitely a no-go zone to have something that looks like a “level one, level two” guest list. Yes you have an intimate ceremony and a large reception, be diligent and intentional in making the “intimate” group a very small number of immediate family, godparents, friends since birth (you get the idea). That friend you recently hooked up with and met at work, not included.

pandemic wedding runaway in Palm Springs _DSC0990 (Photo by Tom Saunders)
The brides dressed in custom Levi’s jackets as they ran away to Palm Springs. (Photo by Tom Saunders)

Is there a kind way to let people know that children are not allowed?
There is only one way to manage who is invited. Before you go, understand why. It is rude, whatever the reasons and good intentions, to ostensibly exclude someone on an invitation. While “no kids” is certainly a choice that every host has the right to make, the phrase is dealt with in person (tone, approach, empathy – these things really matter here). A cover phrase on an invitation (especially formal) is always interpreted as rude. The names of each guest should be on the envelope. Without delving into all the ways to handle this, properly addressed envelopes are the way to go without a blame.

Do it anyway? Your best bet, and it does not replace the above, is to put something on the wedding website as to the nature of the party. And, absolutely, make phone calls (not texts) to your guests who have kids who might assume they can come too. It is a delicate subject that deserves personal attention. If your guest list is too long for one person to tackle, delegate. If you need sample scripts for this sort of thing, we’ve got some great ideas to get you started here.

171 4 × 6 034_0884_ (c) JohnCainPhotography_05.25.2019_SchlegelWedding_Retouched (Photo by John Cain)
Kimberly Schlegel Whitman at Krystal Schlegel and Luke Davis’ wedding in Dallas. (Photo by John Cain)

Should we call our best married girlfriend a “Matron of Honor?” “
Ha! This one is a great question. You don’t need to call anyone in particular. The matron / maid is parallel to Mme / Miss. I’ve done a lot of research on this given the flexing period of the genre we live in. Here is where I stand on the issue.

One: It’s not a matter of wedding etiquette per se, it’s a tradition that just makes sense. When you break tradition, the smart look is to break it by knowing what the traditional meaning is and being intentional with your evolved and more relevant alternative.

Two: I have yet to see an alternative that has seemed fresh and relevant. Attendant of Honor sounds very PC. Lady of honor is a bit strong, we are not at the Renaissance Fair. Bride’s Bestie is great for your personalized bachelorette pajamas, but probably not the best for your black tie wedding ceremony schedule. It’s hard. It’s probably time to let Matron’s definition catch up with the badass married woman who holds the title. Matron Magazine, do you like it? Okay, that might take a minute.

Who should be invited to the rehearsal dinner?
This one is similar to the one that receives a plus one. Here is the list :

Immediate family on both sides.

Wedding. (These are everyone involved, including all the officiants, flower girls, ring bearers – their entire family if possible, but obviously at least one parent).

Spouses (or committed partners) of all of the above.

It is customary to include a plus one for the whole wedding party (if possible, budgets into consideration), whether or not they are in a serious relationship.

Guests out of town.

If this is a destination wedding and most of the guests are from out of town, consider a small welcome cocktail (sips and bites) to refresh your guests from their trip and put them in. the mind.

Teresa and Robert (Photo by Ernesto Villalba)
The 2019 Dinner for 100 follows the wedding of Tessa Mugica – formerly Teresa Mugica Montana, Baroness of Essendine – and Robert Montana in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Ernesto Villalba)

After the wedding, how much time do you have to send thank you notes?
An overall response doesn’t serve the big difference in quantity from an intimate wedding with 25 guests to a large event that hosts hundreds or more. Here is the marriage etiquette broken down a little further. The bookends of the matter are: yes, people know how to adjust a couple’s expectations when the event is very important, but remember that with great blessing comes great responsibility (no excuses). ).

Less than 50 guests, sent within three weeks.

Less than 300 guests, send within three months.

Over 300 guests, shipping within four to six months.

Always, send a word of gratitude, even if it is late.

Etiquette of wedding guests …

How much should you spend on a wedding gift?
Etiquette experts agree that the amount you spend directly depends on your relationship with the couple. It does not depend on the expense perceived by the hosts for each guest.

you don’t know them well: $ 30- $ 50.

Collaborator, common knowledge: $ 50- $ 100

Close friend, family: $ 100- $ 175 (current national average for friend is $ 99, for family is $ 127)

niki-and-kami-wedding-2020 (59) (Photo by Lady Ilg Photography)
The wedding dress unveiled at an intimate wedding in Vail, Colorado. (Photo by Lady Ilg Photography)

Does there come a time when it makes sense to exit the registry?
It is recommended to stay on the register, but it is not mandatory, especially if there are no more items in your budget. Gift cards at registered stores and cash are acceptable, especially if your relationship with the couple is not close. If you’re sending cash, GC, or using something stealthy like Venmo, send a card with a handwritten note to add a personal touch to this cool new (but so handy and totally appreciated) gift.

If you go off the registry, make sure the gift is intentional and reflects the couple’s wants and tastes. Getting off the register for the sake of convenience is reckless, but for a thoughtful and intentional gift it can be a stellar move.

Should you ask permission before posting any footage from the ceremony?
Yes! And do not Be the first to post. It is up to the bride, groom, hosts, or whoever designated the first poster. This signals to everyone else that it is now possible to try to break the internet with their latest hashtag. Some couples want the event to be completely over before any releases, while others want game-by-game play that is in full swing throughout the party. A carefully planned reception will tell you with signage, a phrase in the program or an announcement made to everyone what their preference is. Your place as a guest is to wait for the signal, use the hashtag, and never post an unflattering photo of anyone.


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