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Entries in wedding etiquette (6)


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: Return Gifts If Wedding Is Called Off?


My (ex) fiancé and I have decided to call off our engagement. However, our parents have already thrown us a lavish engagement party and we've already received a bunch of gifts. What should we do with them?

We are so sorry to hear that your engagement has been called off. It's never an easy thing to do. And now, you'll have to add returning engagement gifts to your list of unpleasant things to deal with. Yes, it's a pain in the butt. Yes, it's awkward as hell. But it needs to be done. Friends and family bought you gifts to celebrate your upcoming wedding and if that's not happening, you need to buck up and send those gifts on back. Just return the gifts to the address you have on file for your friends and family members with a note saying something to the effect of "Thanks so much for the engagement gift. Unfortunately, we have decided not to get married. Thank you so much for your love and support at this time." It's short, simple, and it acknowledges what happened without giving unnecessary details of your split. Next on the list, pour yourself a nice glass of wine and start moving on with your life.


Wedding Etiquette: Do I Have to Include My Sister-In-Law In My Wedding Party



I've been getting a lot of pressure from my soon-to-be in-laws about including my fiancé's sister in my bridal party. I really like her and look forward to getting to know her better, but I don't particularly want her in our wedding party. Of course, I also don't want to piss off my in-laws before they're officially my in-laws. What should I do?

The answer to this one's easy. Ready? Wait for it, wait for it...

It's YOUR wedding-- DO WHAT YOU WANT!

Your wedding is an opportunity to honor people of your choosing by making them VIPs on the biggest day in your life. You should choose bridesmaids based on your relationships with them-- not a feeling of obligation. Don't be bullied into including someone you don't truly have a close relationship with yet! However, you definitely need to handle this sticky situation in a delicate manner. Try the following: Invite your mother-in-law (or whoever is doing the meddling) out to lunch and talk to her candidly about how you feel. As always, use the Oreo Cookie approach (nice news, followed by not-so-nice news, followed by more nice news). Start by telling her how much you really like her daughter. Then, [tactfully] explain that despite your fondness for your new sister-in-law, you already have a gaggle of girlfriends who have seen you through life's good times and bad and ultimately they are the people you want by your side on your wedding day. Be sure to reiterate that you are so excited to be joining such a great family. Bonus: It's probably a good idea to set those boundaries with your mother-in-law early-- or she could be meddling for years to come!



Wedding Etiquette: Bring Gifts To A Destination Wedding?

My boyfriend and I were invited to a destination wedding in Italy this summer. This is our first destination wedding so we're not sure if we should bring a gift with us to Italy or do something else. Do you have any ideas or tips about what kind of gift to give for a destination wedding?

1. Find out if the couple is registered online. Usually they'll print their wedding website on their invitation or Save The Date, and their registry will be on their website. You can order something off the registry and have it sent directly to their house! The registry is great because all of their shipping information is already put in for you, so it's one less thing to worry about!

2. Is this a destination wedding? Some destination wedding couples have a honeymoon registry or a resort registry in lieu of a traditional registry. The honeymoon/resort registry might include a candlelit dinner on the beach, a couples' massage, manicure/pedicure, etc. 

3. A lot of people simply give money in a card and bring it to the reception. There is no "right" amount, as it varies culturally and socioeconomically. How much you give depends on what you feel is appropriate.

Our biggest piece of advice is not to travel with a gift, especially if this is a destination wedding because this will add to the baggage (and fees) the bride and groom will have to deal with in order to transport their gifts back home, and that could be a huge headache for them!


Wedding Etiquette: Invite Guests Who Can't Be There?


I just got engaged and have been talking about my wedding plans with a few friends. Some have verbally told me they cannot make our wedding. Do I send them an invite anyway?

Yes! Send them an invite anyway. There are a number of reasons why you should send an invite (and an invite to any other pre-wedding festivities) to people who may have told you in passing that they won't be able to make it. 

The biggest reason is that it is just plain old good etiquette. It will eliminate many of the "what if's"- What if their plans change and they are able to attend? It would be awkward for them to call you and say, "Hey, my plans changed- I can come to your wedding after all!" What if they forgot they told you they couldn't come and all their closest friends are talking about your wedding and they realize they didn't get an invite? They may feel snubbed! The bottom line: Send the formal invite.

P.S. Don't forget these Helpful Invitation Tips