Planning your wedding can be an etiquette minefield – almost any decision that you make has the potential to upset someone. In order to reduce your stress and anxiety, we found 3 questions that almost every couple asks themselves when planning their wedding.
Etiquette is one of those polarising subjects because everyone has their own opinion on what is and what is not ‘proper conduct’.
For example, some people will think that asking for a monetary gift (cash) for a wedding gift is incomprehensibly rude while others will see it as a very normal thing (by the way, I’ve covered the topic of how to ask for money for wedding gift in another blog post).
In this blog post, I’m going to provide solutions to the following 5 wedding etiquette dilemmas:
- Who pays for what in a wedding?
- Do we have to invite plus ones to our wedding?
- How to tell guests that their children aren’t invited to your wedding?
Get your pitchfork and tinfoil hats ready as we dive deep in this one.
1. Who Pays For What In A Wedding?
To understand why this is even a question, we need to first appreciate the context.
Remember that not too long ago, marriages were vehicles for trade. That is, a bride price was paid by the groom to the bride’s family at the time of marriage or a dowry is a transfer of the bride’s parental assets to the groom’s family. Marrying for love is a relatively new concept.
Traditionally, the bride, the bride’s family, the groom, the groom’s family, and even the poor bridesmaids and groomsmen were responsible for paying for something.
But tradition usually stems from outdated, sexist and patriarchal ideology.
Look, can I be honest here?
If you’re having a wedding, you should be footing the bill.
If you’re choosing the venue(s), the vendors, and all the things that go with your wedding day, it is only fair that you save up for it and pay for it yourself.
Sure, parents can help out if they want to but nobody is forcing you have have a wedding – you can go to the Registry and be legally married for a few bucks.
2. Do We Have To Invite Plus Ones To Our Wedding?
No, you don’t have to do anything but chances are, if you deliberately exclude plus ones on your wedding invite, you may end up pissing off a lot of your friends and colleagues.
I can think of two reasons why you wouldn’t want to invite plus ones to your wedding – the first being a financial reason. That is, the bigger the head count, the greater your reception bill is going to get (especially when reception venues charge on average $120 per head).
The second reason why you may want to cap guest umber is because your wedding reception cannot accommodate a large guest size and it makes sense to begin culling with people you don’t directly know (e.g., spouses of work colleagues).
They’re both valid reasons and you’ll have to weigh up the pros and cons of welcoming plus ones to your wedding.
It is your wedding.
You get to choose who can attend and who cannot.
But there is a reason why inviting plus ones are a good idea.
Nobody likes to be seated at a table with people they don’t really know. By having their partner/spouse beside them, they won’t feel as alone and awkward. And these are your friends yeah? You want them to have a good time at your wedding right?
My advice to you? Pick your battles. This is one worth compromising on so expand your wedding budget to cater for the extra head count.
3. How To Tell Guests That Their Children Are Not Invited To The Wedding?
Ah, this is another tough situation you may find yourself in as you plan how to word your wedding invites.
Children are adorable but they can also be a handful.
How do you tell your friends that their children are not invited to the wedding?
You can be be direct by saying any of the following on the invitation or RSVP card – no children, strictly no children please, adults only, adult only affair, adult wedding and reception. This strategy is effective but some sensitive guests may find it rude.
You can try to be subtle by addressing the wedding invite to only the adults but you run the risk of miscommunication. Some people may not know the difference between receiving an invite that says “Mr & Mrs Smith” versus “The Smith Family”.
You could try to sugar coat it with something like this, “In order to allow all guests, including parents, an evening of relaxation we have chosen for our wedding day to be an adult only occasion, We hope this advance notice means you are still able to share our big day and will enjoy having the evening off.”
Either way, you have every right to tell guests that their children are not invited to your wedding.
Just choose your words wisely.
I’d probably choose the wordier sugar coating variant.
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Practising founder at Angus Porter Photography, Dan found himself in this role quite by accident but after his first taste, was hooked. Since 2009, he has been perfecting his craft and has built a team of dedicated photographers. Outside of wedding photography, you’ll find Dan nerding out over marketing, webpage optimisation, SEO, and LEGO.