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Entries in destination wedding etiquette (12)


Wedding Etiquette: Do I Have To Tell People They're Not Invited?


I grew up in one of those small towns where everyone knows everyone. Now that I'm getting married, I'm realizing that I won't be able to invite everyone I would like since we need to keep our wedding on the smallish side for financial reasons. But I'm really worried that some of my friends and acquaintances will be expecting an invite and I don't want things to get awkward. Should I send them an email to let them know they're not on the guest list in advance so they don't just assume they're invited?

Holy awwwwkward! It's never easy to deal with the old "you didn't make the guest list" conundrum. But if it makes you feel any better, you are not alone. More and more couples these days are having to shave down their guest lists to keep within their budget and, of course, this leads to lots of uncomfortable situations.

And while it's apparently becoming more and more popular to send out "you're not invited" courtesy emails, our vote is: DON'T DO IT! It's tacky. Like, really tacky. I'd say the only thing worse than not being invited to a wedding you thought you'd be included in is receiving an awkwardly-worded written confirmation that you didn't make the cut. It's just salt in the wounds at that point.

Although you seem to have good intentions about letting people down gently, there are other ways to get the message across. First, send word through the word-of-mouth grapevine that is so common in small towns. Tell your mom, sisters, and BFFs to spread the word to people in your circle that you guys are having a pared-down wedding. The news will travel faster than you'd think and hopefully your acquaintances will hear in advance that there's a chance they won't be invited.

Next, make sure you're prepared in case you run into someone in town who might assume they'll be invited. Whatever you do, nip it in the bud if they say something like "Oh we can't wait for the wedding!" Blame it on your finances, blame it on your partner, blame it on the rain. Just whatever you do, make sure they walk away knowing they will not be attending. You can say something like "Oh we're so bummed out about it but with the high cost of weddings these days, we had to limit the guest list to just family and close friends." Then, if it's a relationship that you care to preserve, add in a "We should definitely get together for drinks after the wedding." That way, they know they still matter to you. Another way to smooth things over is to send a wedding announcement after the wedding. It lets people know that you care about them enough to keep them in the loop.


Wedding Etiquette: Vegan-Only Menu


My fiancé and I are vegans and just starting plan a menu for our wedding. I think since it's our wedding and the cause is so important to us, that we should have a vegan-only wedding menu. My fiancé, on the other hand, thinks it's rude to push our food choices on our guests and we should have meaty offerings. Who's right?

The short answer: You're both kinda right.

The long answer: You're both coming from a reasonable place. You want your wedding to reflect you as a couple and take into consideration the important choice you've made to be vegan. Your fiancé wants your guests to enjoy themselves and doesn't want to hear any grumbling. So what to do? The way I see it you have three options....

Option One

Do it your way. Go all vegan, all the way. Sure there will be some grumbling from your steak-loving Uncle Bob but your conscience will be clean and, more importantly, you will be satisfied eating what you want on your day. If you choose to go this route, it's really important to have phenomenal catering and to try to keep the options somewhat simple for your guests. This means you need to offer more options than tofu and seitan. Consider serving a pasta in a pesto sauce, vegetarian chili, sorbet, etc. Your vegan-averse guests will appreciate something familiar on their plates. In this case, be sure to mention somewhere (on your invites, response card, website-- somewhere!) that this will be a vegan wedding. That way Uncle Bob has time to mentally prepare.

Option Two 

Let your fiancé have this one. Serve a "traditional" wedding menu-- complete with meat and animal products-- and plan in advance to have the catering company serve you and any vegan guests a delicious vegan option. Sure, your conscience might be a little bruised if your hard-earned money is going toward the consumption of animal products but at least your guests will be comfortable, satisfied, and have a good time.

Option Three

Okay now here's the compromise: Consider having a buffet-style dinner with traditional non-vegan offerings alongside your vegan fare. This is a beautiful option because you get to eat what you want-- and so does Uncle Bob. And the benefit of doing it buffet-style is that you might be surprised to see your guests plopping a few bits of curried tofu onto their plate to try it. And wouldn't it be a great thing if you could show your Uncle Bob that seitan is really pretty good?

Ultimately, you need to weigh what's more important to you. If it's most important that you follow your conscience, then serve your vegan fare and accept that there might be some grumbling from your guests. But if you want your guests to have the best experience possible, give them options that suit their palate too. Compromise just might be the key here. 


Wedding Etiquette: Should I Let My Parents Invite Their Friends?


My partner and I envisioned a small-ish wedding with close friends and family. But my parents are insisting we invite a group of their friends too. They are paying for a big part of the wedding but does that mean they get to call the shots with the guest list? Can I ask them to reign it in a little?

In short, yes, you can ask them to reign it in. But be prepared to give a little. This is, of course, your wedding. But if your parents are footing the bill, it's only fair to let them show you off to their close friends. However, you still have every right to have the wedding you want. If you are dreaming of a small, intimate wedding, explain your vision to your parents and ask them to limit their guest list inclusions to just their closest friends. If they are having a hard time keeping the guest list reasonable, suggest having a different event where they can invite all of those extra friends and acquaintances. Inviting them to an engagement party, for example, or an at-home reception if you're having a destination wedding, allows your parents to fulfill their social obligations while still keeping that wedding guest list on the smaller side. Good luck!


Wedding Etiquette: Allow Babies At The Wedding?


I've had two guests ask me if it's okay to bring their babies to my wedding (two months old and six months old, respectively). The thing is, I really wanted my wedding to be kid-free-- especially my ceremony. I mean, who wants even the chance of a screaming baby ruining the most important moment of your life? I don't want to come off like a baby-hating monster but, as I said, I really don't want my moment interrupted by a crying baby. How should I deal with this situation? Is there a kind way to tell them to leave their babies at home?

First off, you're not a monster. And you're not the first bride to envision a child-free wedding. However, while it's perfectly reasonable to request that parents leave their older children home with baby sitters, babies are a whole different ballgame. First, it's more difficult for parents to find trustworthy and experienced sitters for young babies. And even if they do have a trusted sitter, it may be hard for them to leave their little guy or girl with someone else so soon. Another factor in the mix here is nursing. Are either of these babies being breastfed? If so, it may be downright impossible for a new mom to leave her baby at home if the only food source it has is, well, attached to her.

That said, it's your wedding and you need to be comfortable with the situation. Could you maybe try to meet these baby-toting guests in the middle? Assuming the new parents are reasonable people, try talking to them to explain your worries. Be overly nice-- maybe even apologetic-- and tell them how you're really anxious about the possibility of their baby crying during your ceremony. Hopefully they'll volunteer to skip the ceremony-- or at least stand in the back ready to whisk the baby outside should he/she start fussing. If you're still not satisfied, you can tell them that you'd really prefer they leave the baby at home. But be prepared, this could mean that the baby and its parents skip out on your wedding entirely!




Wedding Etiquette: Guest Dress Code?


Question: Can a bride specify what her guests should wear to their wedding? 

Answer: It is perfectly acceptable to give a general guideline for guest attire. If you want people to dress up, you can guide the formality by politely requesting black tie, semi-formal, or "black and white attire" a la Kim Kardashian. If you're having a theme wedding, it is perfectly acceptable to make a general request like "Beach Attire" or "Vintage Attire". But the line, in our opinion, is drawn at specifics. For example, "Ladies, please do not wear purple, red or navy dresses, as my bridesmaids will wear purple, my mother will wear red and my mother in law will wear navy," is unacceptable. No one will confuse a guest with a bridesmaid, mother of the bride, or mother in law. Remember, you want your guests to have fun, and if you try to dictate what they wear, they'll either not show up, or they'll come with a chip on their shoulder- neither of which you want!


Wedding Etiquette: Guests Who Drink Too Much 


My fiance has a friend who is notorious for getting drunk and out of control. How can I stop him from drinking too much? 

We can all relate to being at a wedding and seeing the token drunk guy. Take a few precautions to ensure that the friend doesn't get out of control. First, have your fiance talk to him (or if he prefers not to single the friend out, gather a group of friends) and ask them to kindly remain respectful and be mindful of how much they drink. Then, at the wedding, appoint a few guys to watch how much the friend drinks. Talk to the bartenders and set some ground rules (no shots, no straight-up drinks) and point out the friend in question and ask that they water down the drinks. Remember, this is your wedding, and you want to be stress-free. If you're going to lose sleep over this friend and his potential drunken stupor, simply don't invite him.

P.S. How to Handle Wedding Day Nightmares


Wedding Etiquette: Small Wedding Without Offending Family?



I want to have a small, intimate destination wedding but I am worried about offending my friends and family. What should I do?

First of all, remember whose wedding it is! Your satisfaction is more important than that of any guests whom you might offend. If a small wedding or an elopement is your idea of wedding bliss, then that's what you should do. One way to make your friends and family feel included is to have an at-home reception after the wedding. This can be a casual get-together at a local restaurant or an extravagent wedding reception. The point is to bring your friends and family together to celebrate in your honor. You can display pictures of the wedding so your friends and family can see how great it was. And yes, you have our permission to wear your dress again!

P.S. Wedding Etiquette: Should I Let My Parents Invite Their Friends?


Wedding Etiquette: Who Pays For Guest Travel?


Who should pay for my guests to travel to my destination wedding?

Although the cost of a guest's airfare and hotel for a destination wedding can be a lot more than a typical at home wedding, your guests are responsible for getting themselves to your wedding. Yes, it might cost them some extra money but don't feel guilty about that. Just because Katy Perry and Russell Brand can afford to spoil their guests by flying them to India, doesn't mean you and your groom-to-be are expected to do the same. By all means, if you have the financial means to do so, go for it! Your guests will certainly appreciate you picking up all or part of their tab. But make sure you know that paying for your guests is not a required addition to your wedding budget.

 P.S. Wedding Etiquette: Bring Gifts To A Destination Wedding?


Respect Your Elders



When it comes to planning a destination wedding, you should consider your elders. If you're inviting your nearest and dearest to hop on a plane to your dream destination, but you know your grandmother doesn't fly, you may find yourself in a sticky situation. Here are a few ways to deal with this:


-Send your relative the invite even if you know in your heart of hearts that he or she will not come. It is nice to empower them to make their own decision, and who knows- maybe they will surprise you with their answer!


-Invite them to all of the pre-wedding festivities- the engagement party, bridal shower, dress shopping, etc. 


-At your ceremony or during your reception, take a moment to thank people for coming, and say a little something about the people who couldn't make it to the wedding, and how much you wish that they could be here but appreciate their celebration in spirit.


-If you have a videographer, schedule a special viewing for the relative(s) who couldn't make the wedding (they will then see your speech where you honored them even though they were not there)


-Create a special photo album for them and sit with them and go through the pictures together and tell your relative(s) all about your big day.

 P.S. Travel Made Easier


Wedding Etiquette: Call Guests With Late RSVPs?


What should I do if I have guests who have not sent in their RSVP by the deadline? 

RSVP stands for Respondez S'il Vous Plait, which roughly translates to: Please Respond. What some people may not understand is that unless your invitation says, "RSVP Regrets Only", people need to respond one way or another. If you are still waiting for RSVP's after the RSVP date, it is best to call them and find out if they plan on attending. Of course, this is probably the last thing you want to be doing right before your wedding, so you can enlist the help of your maid of honor or your mother. At most establishments, you need to pay for the food ahead of time, so the RSVP is vital and your guests will understand that.

P.S. Helpful Invitation Tips and Have a Wittle Fun With Wording