All brides know that the world of wedding etiquette can be tricky. If you’ve got a difficult etiquette question that needs answering, then read on for the solutions to some common problems…
Who pays for the wedding?
There used to be traditional guidelines as to who paid for what when it came to weddings, but these days it’s a lot more fluid. Lots of couples pay for the entire day themselves, while others have help from parents. Our rule of thumb is that you should never expect money from anyone – then it’ll be a nice surprise if you do get contributions!
Who pays for the bridesmaid dresses?
If you’re dictating which dresses your girls wear, then you need to foot the bill. If you’re tight for cash, then you can always ask your bridesmaids to pay for ther own, but be aware that this will mean that they get far more control over their choice of gown.
Do I have to pay for my bridesmaids’ hair and makeup?
Again, if you’re dictating the way your bridesmaids wear their hair and makeup, then you’ll need to pay. If there’s no room in the budget, then leave it up to your bridesmaids as to whether they want their hair and/or makeup professionally done and they can pay for it themselves. It’s likely they’ll ask you for recommendations anyway!
If I was a bridesmaid for another bride, do I have to ask her to be in my bridal party?
The short answer is no. Every bride knows that budgets and circumstances vary wildly, so she’s not likely to be hugely offended if she’s not top of your bridesmaid list. If you’re feeling guilty, then you can always ask her to do a reading on the big day instead.
Can I ask for money instead of gifts?
Yes! These days, asking for money is definitely more acceptable than it used to be. If you’re worried about the reaction from the older generation, then set up a honeymoon gift list or ask for gift vouchers instead. Or, go the tactful route, and simply don’t mention gifts on your invites! People are likely to get the message and gift cheques anyway.
Do I have to give everyone plus ones?
Plus ones can make a real dent in your budget and venue space, but that doesn’t mean you can be rude. It’s good wedding etiquette to give plus ones to people who are married, engaged or in long-term relationships, even if you’ve never met them. If your guests are single, it’s up to you as to whether they get a plus one, but you may want to consider how many other guests they know and whether they’ll be lonely without one.
Do I have to invite children?
No! Adults-only are becoming more and more common. We’ve got plenty of advice on this in our post on child-free weddings, but the short version is: make it clear on the invitations, don’t back down, and be prepared for people to decline based on your decision.
Do I have to invite my co-workers?
No, not if you don’t want to! You’re not obliged to invite your boss or colleagues if you’re not friends with them outside of work. If you have a couple of select co-workers you want to invite, then the polite thing to do is to give them their invitations out of the office, and keep wedding talk to a minimum while at work.
Can I invite people on my hen party who aren’t invited to the wedding?
The short answer is no – it’s rude to ask people to spend money on celebrating your upcoming wedding when you’ve not invited them to the actual day! The exception to the rule is if you’re having a very small destination wedding, and are not able to invite many people to the actual ceremony. Even so, this arrangement is still likely to ruffle a few feathers, so you have been warned.
Do I have to provide meals for my wedding suppliers?
Absolutely, especially for suppliers who have been with you all day, such as photographers or videographers. If you’re worried about adding more people on to the budget, then you can always liaise with your catering to offer a different meal to the wedding breakfast for your suppliers.
Can I ask for gifts if it’s my second wedding?
Of course! Couples who have been married before tend to feel a little guilty about this, but your wedding is still a celebration, even if it’s not your first. You can always take this opportunity to opt for something a little bit different, like a honeymoon or charity gift list.
When do I have to send my thank-you notes?
Ideally, as soon as possible. Lots of brides wait to receive their professional wedding photos back beforehand, so that they can include a photo in the card, but if it looks like your photos are going to take a while, then it’s better form to simply get the cards done and dusted. You should really send your thank-yous within three months of tying the knot.
Looking for more wedding advice and tips? Check out our Wedding Planning section!