17 October 2012

so, you've been invited to a wedding

17 October 2012
hello, lovelies! with my own wedding this year and a couple of good friends planning theirs, i've had wedding etiquette on the brain. i think we tend to pay a lot of attention to the behavior of the bride, but what about the invitees?

if you have never planned a wedding, you might not be aware of the amount of preparation and consideration that goes into coordinating such a big event. many brides and grooms pour over small details like typography and favors because they care and want to create a special and memorable day for themselves and their guests. 

if you've been invited to a wedding, here are some basics to keep in mind:


1. send in your RSVP
there's no slack here, friends. it is common courtesy to respond to an invitation and it takes minimal effort. in many cases, the RSVP card comes with a stamped envelope, so no excuses for not sending it in or sending it in late.

it may not be the biggest event on your calendar for the year, but if you have been invited to a wedding, that means you were hand-picked to share in one of the most important days in the bride's and groom's life. you should feel honored to be included; it that means your name is on an excel spreadsheet somewhere with details like your plus one and child's name. it means your name is strategically placed on a seating chart, which the couple has probably agonized over, to ensure you are seated with people you know or at least will have fun with.

you may not think your response a big deal when the couple is sending out dozens, hundreds of invitations at a time, but every RSVP is tracked and impacts things like food, seating, favors, and of course, price. some couples can only afford to invite a certain number of guests, in which case, the hand-picking really stands out. you may have been chosen over another friend and it was likely a difficult decision for the couple to make.

you should also know that the bride likely cares a lot about each little RSVP. if you are a good friend or close family member and you can't make it, consider writing a little note on the back of the card or sending an e-mail. it's disappointing when favorite-cousin-betty or best-friend-from-basketball-joey just marks NO. even if you are able to attend, rest assured, the bride and groom will smile if you write them a note on the RSVP. 


2. read between the lines
if your invitation was addressed just to you, that means you alone are invited. you may think it uncouth that the couple did not give you a plus one or invite your child, but that choice is theirs and it is your prerogative not to attend. if you don't have a plus one, it is likely because the couple cannot afford it and not because they are being cheap. in some cases, you might even find that the bride will offer you a plus one leading up to the wedding because one of the guests she had to invite (like dads-golfing-buddy-tom) can't make it. 

so, in practice that means you should not a) ask the couple if your boyfriend or toddler can attend, b) show up with a guest, or c) complain to a member of the wedding party in the hopes that it will get back to the couple and they will reconsider. 

the one caveat i would highlight for this and any other etiquette question is to use your best judgment. if you are engaged, your fiance should be invited and if he/she wasn't, it might have been an oversight. if you have been invited to every one of your significant other's family's weddings and were left off of the invitation this time, ask your sig-o to check on that for you. again, it was likely an oversight and don't take offense. the bride and groom have a lot of details to manage and every once in a while, something might fall through the cracks.

photography: tec petaja via once wed
3. be self-sufficient
hopefully, the couple has included logistics information on a wedding website or in the invitation, but if they have not or if the directions aren't clear, use google maps or ask another attendant. don't e-mail the bride asking her for directions.

be particularly sensitive the week of the wedding. there are a lot of last-minute to-dos, family coming in town, and the bride and groom might even be surprised at the amount of running around that goes on in the last few days before the wedding. so, don't ask the couple to pick you up at the airport the day of the rehearsal or especially, the day of the wedding. and if you are in the wedding, the wedding day is not the time to figure out where to distribute programs or to complain about the order of the procession.


there you have it. three rules isn't so bad, is it? but i'm curious - do you agree with these etiquette tips? are there any others that should be added to the list?

i'm linking up with a charming occasion for "wedding wednesday" today, so hop on over to see lots of wedding goodness.

28 comments:

Alex {Things That Sparkle} said...

I soooooo agree with this. Loved hearing that I wasn't the only one who felt this way. People have a lot of nerve!

Alison Dulaney said...

Great things to know! Thanks for sharing.
xo
Alison

Julie and Lauren said...

Honestly you are so right! You would THINK this would all be common courtesy, but it's shocking what people end up doing or imposing on the bride and groom. Great tips!

kristin said...

well said and well put - all three are a must. i'd also agree that RSVPing on time is a must, those dates are key! it's not just the bride and groom waiting to figure out who is/isn't coming. personally, i've gotten a little tired of the comment "it will all be perfect" - chances are it won't, but at the end of the day we'll be married and that is the most important. can't wait to see you next week!

Veronica Lee Burns said...

SO true! Great advice!

Alex said...

Love these tips! And it seems like all of my friends are getting married now, so this is good to have on hand :)

Smidge said...

I've just sent out my invitations and I wish I could have sent this out with them! Thanks for visiting my blog today too :)

Betsy said...

this is great! so true, all of them - though I'd add a caveat to #3. our wedding is in the deepest English countryside, so it's definitely a destination for the 50% of the guests who are coming from America, but it's unfamiliar even to our London friends. We know we'll have to make ourselves more accessible than would otherwise be normal because we're asking our guests to go through such a palaver to get to our wedding! but it will be so worth it :)

alongobucco said...

These are great tips! I feel like it's only a matter of time until I start heading to friends weddings, so these are definitely things I'll be keeping in mind!

-Alyssa
The Glossy Life

Carly | A Simple Affair said...

Extremely well put. Everyone should read this.

Morgan | xoxo, me said...

These are great tips! Perhaps I will include a link to this post on my wedding invitations when I get married ;) haha. I would never, but part of me would love to!

Viviana said...

This is such a great post! These are all really important points.

Elizabeth // The Now said...

Such great tips. It was so awk when we would get RSVP cards with a guest included even though we didn't "and guest" them. And I don't think people understand the importance of RSVPing until they have their own wedding. Not RSVPing for weddings infuriates me!!! I want to send this post to all my guy friends. haaha! xoxo

Adele said...

GReat advice!
Happy Wednesday Hun xoxo
Enter my Michael Kors Giveaway!
http://www.intotheblonde.com/2012/10/international-giveaway-michael-kors.html

Annie said...

Such a helpful post ANC!! Will definitely be keeping these things in mind when I am next invited to a wedding. Love your point about how much thought has probably gone into the details of incorporating you, the guest, into the wedding, and therefore RSVP-ing as quickly as possible, etc.

Lena at A Crimson Kiss said...

Such terrific advice! John has his first wedding as a groomsman this weekend and I don't know if I've thoroughly prepared him for it!

Ashleigh said...

Completely agree! I feel like the self sufficient one has gotten even worse in recent years, I guess we are so accessible with texting, messaging, etc. that people don't think twice about it.

Marie said...

Great tips! The design of the wedding invitation card is beautiful and very well-written. Great example of a good wedding card :)

Btw I've followed your blog, let's follow each other? I love reading your posts! :)

nikkijoy said...

I'm SO tempted to forward this on to all my late RSVP-ers... but that would definitely be bad etiquette on my part!! Really great post. Loving the wedding wednesday link up to read other peoples' bridal musings =) x

Emily Marie {Isnt That Charming} said...

Loved all of these points, and definitely agree with all of them! I also think that if you are invited, but can't go, it's proper to send a little gift. Even if it's minor, it just shows that you care.

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

I know I tweeted this earlier, but this is definitely some good advice. It's really disappointing how many guests don't actually know these things! I personally had guests ask if they could bring other people with them, and asked me about details that they could have found from someone else. It was terrible! So thanks for sharing this. Hopefully it helps a few people realize they're in the wrong!

xoxo,
Joelle

Benlovesting said...

Beautiful photos! x

classiq said...

Great post, Ashley! I completely agree with everything you say. xo
Ada

Johanna said...

Love this post - while my wedding is long behind me...it still baffles me how people are so challenged with RSVPs!

Austin said...

wah wahhhhhhhhh

Alissa said...

Such amazing and great tips!

kristin said...

... updating my comment to include, be self sufficient on attire. unless stated in the invitation, reference google for tips on what to wear to a wedding if you don't know otherwise. my advice, when in doubt, wear a suit and tie. always classy. still such amazing advice from a wonderful bride, miss ashley!

navy and orange said...

great post! loved following and researching all wedding ettiquette when planning on our day!

xoxo navy & orange

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