When you’re planning a wedding, there are lots of “moving parts” because of all the various events associated with the actual wedding ceremony. And surrounding all those wedding-related events swirl a lot of wedding related questions. Who do you invite to which event? If you invite someone to a bridal shower, couples shower, bachelor or bachelorette party or engagement party, does that mean you are expected to invite them to the wedding also? Who gets marriage announcements? How do you decide who gets to bring a date? How do you handle couples with children? Who pays for what? Should you have a shower and register for gifts, or throw an all day Jack and Jill party instead? There are a million questions about wedding etiquette, so we’ve decided to answer some of the most frequently asked questions to help you sort out all those wedding details.
From save the date cards to reception styles, the rules of etiquette are constantly changing. One of the first rules of wedding etiquette that remains is to let those close to you know about your engagement before the rest of the world. You wouldn’t want your best friend to find out you’re getting married from a social media post, so before posting anything online be sure to let your close friends and family members in on the surprise. As to who should receive marriage announcements, you’re free to send those to anyone you’d like, although you’re not expected to send an announcement to anyone who receives an invitation. Announcements are for those people who will be happy to learn of your marriage, but who would not expect to be invited to the wedding for various reasons.
When it comes to bridal showers, couples’ showers and engagement parties, anyone who is invited to these events should also be invited to the wedding ceremony. The opposite is not true, however; you are not expected to invite everyone on the wedding guest list to the shower or engagement party. Jack and Jill parties have gained in popularity in recent years and can be a great way to combine the gift-giving element of a bridal shower or couple’s shower with the fun of a bachelor or bachelorette party. These all-day events are designed to take the place of a traditional bridal or couple’s shower by charging an entry fee in lieu of registering for gifts. For the fee attendees receive a day of food, drink, music, dancing, and hanging out with the couple, and the couple receives money they can use to offset wedding costs, put toward the honeymoon, or setting up a house.
Your wedding invitations should reflect your own personal style as well as the overall theme or tone of your wedding. If you’re planning a traditional formal wedding complete with ceremony programs,place cards and personalized napkins at the reception, you will want your invitations to be elegant and high end. If you’re planning a destination beach wedding, the invitation would look much different.
Finally, when all is said and done and all the wedding events have finally ended, it’s time to send out thank you cards for all those great wedding gifts you received. Although letter writing has declined sharply over the years, a handwritten thank you note for an engagement or wedding gift is still proper wedding etiquette. Your friends, family, and coworkers will enjoy receiving a small thank you note in the mail expressing how much you appreciate their thoughtfulness.