Are you about to plan a wedding? While what happens on the day is up to you and your partner, there are some traditions and expectations that you may want to bear in mind during the planning phase, on the day, and afterwards too.
We’ve gathered a selection of wedding etiquette pointers and created this blog post that functions as a handy reference guide for anyone about to plan or currently planning their special day.
Without further ado, let’s discuss your upcoming wedding!
Who pays for the wedding?
With no money, there’s no wedding. So, who is expected to pay for the wedding?
Well, traditionally, the bride’s family pay for the wedding reception, which includes the venue, food and drinks.
Likewise, the groom’s family have long been expected to pay for the wedding fees and the groom’s suit.
However, nowadays, many couples fund their own weddings, with voluntary donations sometimes made by family.
If you would like your parents to contribute to the cost of your wedding, then it is fine to ask them — just don’t demand it!
Do we have to provide a free bar?
Some couples may opt to provide a free bar for the entire occasion, but most will provide complimentary drinks up until the end of the reception dinner — after which, it’s time for the guests to get their money out.
This is perfectly acceptable, and guests won’t expect you to pay for their drinks all day. If this bothers you, but you don’t want to or can’t provide a free bar, why not mention it on your invites? That way, it won’t be a surprise to anyone on the day.
Do we have to invite partners?
It is expected that you would invite long-term partners of friends and loved ones to your wedding, but if you can’t afford to invite partners, then make sure you keep it consistent. For example, don’t ask one friend’s long-term partner to attend and not another’s.
If you need to reduce numbers and you’re thinking of partners, the first to be crossed off the guest list should be those you’ve never met.
Do we have to invite children?
Whether to invite children to your wedding or not is a huge decision and not one to be taken lightly.
There is no right or wrong answer here. However, you need to handle the situation carefully so as not to cause offence.
Consider if you want no children there, just children in your family, children in your family and a few friends’ kids, or everyone’s kids.
Once you’ve made your decision, stick to it. Then, let everyone know via your wedding invite or wedding webpage if you have one.
Do we have to give single guests a plus one invite?
It’s a nice gesture to offer plus one invites, but it isn’t compulsory — after all, each guest costs a lot, and it is incredibly generous to invite people to your wedding who you have never met.
So, while it is lovely to give someone the chance to bring a companion, don’t do it if you can’t afford it.
Trends suggest that fewer people are giving plus one invites these days — this probably goes hand-in-hand with more couples paying for their own weddings!
How should our invites be worded?
Traditionally, the bride’s parents would be inviting the guests, and so the invites would say “Mr & Mrs Smith invite you to the wedding of [their daughter and her partner]”. However, this is now seen as somewhat old-fashioned.
Again, in line with couples being more likely to pay for the bulk of the wedding themselves, they also tend to do their own inviting these days.
Does the music I walk down the aisle to have to be classical?
Absolutely not! Some churches may have a selection of music for you to choose from, but outside of that you can walk down the aisle to any song you like — even Eminem, if you so wish!
Just be mindful of your guests — if there are lots of swearwords, consider an instrumental version or having the song performed live by a band.
Does my father have to walk me down the aisle?
It is a tradition for the bride’s father to walk her down the aisle, but nowadays it doesn’t raise eyebrows if this isn’t the case. Of course, not all weddings involve a bride.
If you don’t want your father to give you away, or he has sadly passed away, you can choose another person — your mother, step-father, sibling, or best friend — or you can also take the walk alone.
Just be careful not to upset anyone with your decision — talk it through with your loved ones first.
When do we send out thank you cards?
Your wedding isn’t officially over until you’ve sent your thank you cards out, so don’t forget them! It is important to thank everyone who attended and those who helped make the wedding happen.
Send your thank you notes out within three months of the wedding day.
Do you have any more wedding etiquette questions you’d like answering? Let us know in the comments below, and we may write another article to answer them!
If you’re currently shopping for wedding rings, you can browse our range here or in-store.