On Monday I had the unusual pleasure of meeting Anna Post and hearing her speak twice. She’s every bit as lovely as you would expect someone in the manners biz to be! In the afternoon she gave a half-hour presentation on business etiquette, and in the evening the main event – a longer presentation about wedding etiquette. Since the business etiquette presentation was all the standard stuff (turn off your cell phone, answer your emails), I only took notes (NERD) for the wedding portion. Here are a few tips I thought were interesting:
ON WEARING WHITE: It’s only a tradition because Queen Victoria did it. Wear white if you want to. Don’t wear white if you don’t want to.
ON BILINGUAL WEDDINGS: For the invites, you could do two languages on one side; one language on either side; or individual language cards. For the vows, she suggests translating them word-for-word; for the rest of the ceremony and reception, a summary is usually fine. The main point is to make sure that all of your guests feel included and know what is happening.
ON RECEIVING LINES: These are particularly great for 75+ guest weddings, where you might not be able to guarantee going around to meet everyone at the reception. Other than that, do it if you want to!
ON INVITATIONS: Not everyone on your guest list needs to receive a save-the-date. The “official order” for naming the participants on the invite goes mother > father > bride’s family > groom’s family… but you can save space by saying “together with their families.” Don’t make any mention of gifts on your invitations.
ON USING THE INTERNET: Email RSVP is great, but don’t make it your only method of RSVPing, as it might frustrate some of your guests who are less comfortable with computers; put your registry information on your wedding website, not on your invites (and while you’re at it, register for a wide variety of items and price-points, in up to 3 places – one online and one in town is especially good for convenience); in turn, put your wedding website link on your enclosure, but not on your invites.
ON CASH BARS: Ooh, Anna threw down on this one! She’s against them.
ON THANK YOU NOTES: “In an ideal world, within 24 hours”… but in our actual world, within 3 months from your return from your honeymoon. Sorry, people to whom I’ve told you have one year, apparently not so much!
As always, I think the most important part of a wedding (other than the actual marriage) is that it reflects you and your values. Trust your judgment, respect your values, respect your guests, and do the things that have meaning for you. As Anna says, weddings are not just “the bride’s day” but actually “the bride(s) and groom(s)’s day to share their wedding with their guests.”