There probably isn't a social occasion that's changed more than a wedding in the last generation--from gift registries to who pays for the wedding itself, the old Emily Post rules have certainly bent, if not broken altogether. But here's a caveat--while what are basically the logistics have changed, the underlying good manners of wedding etiquette have not. Here's how some of the trickier questions of etiquette are answered for the thoroughly modern, yet well-mannered, bride and groom (a modern touch--in earlier years, the groom was never included in much besides the wedding itself).
Did you ever wonder why, on old wedding invitations, the bride's parents were on the invitation, but never the groom's? Because they're the ones who paid for it all. Traditionally, the bride's parents hosted the wedding, and the groom's family hosted the rehearsal dinner and paid for the honeymoon. Now that expenses are more equitably distributed, the wording on invitations has evolved to reflect more independent couples. The invitations themselves are also more reflective of the couple--gone are the engraved ecru cards with lots of extraneous envelopes and tissue paper, these days you can be as creative as you like with your invitations.
Here are some examples of modern wording, replacing "request the honour of your presence".
- would like you to join us in celebrating
- request the pleasure of your company
- invite you to share in our (their) joy
Sit down with all the parents to discuss how they are placed on the invitation. Some ideas:
- Mr and Mrs Bride Parent and Mr and Mrs Groom Parent request the pleasure of your company at the wedding of their children, Wilma and Fred
- Jack and Jill Jones and Bill and Barb Bates invite you to celebrate
- Please celebrate with us the marriage of Jenny Jones, daughter of Jack and Jill, to Biff Bates, son of Bill and Barb
There was a time, back when Emily Post did reign over bridal manners, when a wedding guest would not have dreamed of bringing a date. That may be because a single female guest would not attend without a chaperone of some sort, but times do change. Most etiquette experts agree that there's only one rule about plus-ones: every situation is different. Helpful, right? Here are some guidelines for plus-ones, and most really just come down to making your guests comfortable--good manners.
- A married couple is not a plus-one; they are a package deal
- Engaged, cohabiting, or even long-term, undefined couples are also a package deal
- Single friends who date casually do not get to bring a date
There are exceptions. Suppose your best friend from college lives across the country and is coming, but she doesn't know another soul. If she's making that much effort, absolutely invite her to bring a friend of either gender--she'll be more comfortable and not feel like she has to ingratiate herself with other, already established social groups.
If anything stokes more emotional drama than plus-ones, it's children at weddings. It's up to you to decide if you want an elegant adults-only affair or a bouncy castle by the cake, it's your wedding. Consider these factors when deciding the kid question.
- Mornings are best, and the kid factor goes downhill as the day progresses. Do you really want 7 and 8 year olds trolling an open bar?
- Do you have sitters handy and a "kid room" at the reception site?
- Inviting your niece does not mean you have to invite a co-worker's child. Yes, there is a wedding aristocracy and no, don't be afraid to implement it.
Now that you've navigated all these social minefields, remember that a great band is what all your guests really remember and talk about for years afterward. So get your list in order, invitations printed, and focus on getting that boogie-down dance band. Contact us for some of the best bands in the Southeast and your guests will have a night they'll never forget.