Title: Wedding Etiquette - Your Most Commo n Wedding Etiquette Dilemmas Solved ! Word Count: 1152 Summary: Weddings bring on an onslaught of e tiquette questions and dilemmas. A s times change and weddings evolve, traditional rules of etiquette hav e followed suit, only adding to the confusion. Steer through the fog of questions with this quick look a t the top five most common wedding etiquette dilemmas and solutions. Keywords: wedding etiquette, wedding, etiquet te, invitation, wedding attire, bar , invitation etiquette, wedding att ire, attire etiquette Article Body: As one of the biggest and most pote ntially stressful events of your li fe, getting engaged and subsequentl y planning a wedding brings with it an onslaught of questions. As time s change and weddings evolve, tradi tional rules of etiquette have foll owed suit, only adding to the confu sion. To gain perspective, first understa nd that "etiquette" is above all ab out treating people with courtesy a nd making them feel comfortable. Wh en an etiquette question arises, co nsider the feelings of those who wi ll be affected. To steer you throug h the fog of questions, I've compil ed a quick look at the top five mos t common wedding etiquette dilemmas : Family Etiquette, Invitation Etiq uette, Gift Etiquette, Attire Etiqu ette and The Cash Bar Issue. Family Etiquette: Introducing Your Parents - If the b ride and groom's parents have not m et prior to the engagement, traditi on dictates that the groom's family calls and introduces themselves to the bride's family and arranges a meeting. If the groom's parents do not make the first introduction, th en the bride's parents should. Nowa days, who makes the first call is i rrelevant; all that really matters is that the parents meet. If meetin g face to face is impossible, a let ter or phone call will suffice. Introducing Divorced Parents - If t he groom's parents are divorced, th e parent with the closest relations hip to the groom should take the fi rst step in meeting the bride's par ents. If both sets are divorced, th e parent closest to the groom shoul d first contact the bride's suggest ed parent. If no one begins the int roduction process, the couple shoul d step in and ensure that everyone meets, while refraining from forcin g potentially awkward situations. Your In-Laws - The groom's parents often feel left out of the planning process. To avoid this, invite you r future in-laws into the initial d ialogue. You should immediately inf orm them of your ideas regarding lo cation, date, size and style of the wedding. Take queues on their desi red level of involvement and includ e them accordingly. Let them make o ffers to pitch in with finances or planning. Above all, keep them info rmed throughout your engagement. Invitation Etiquette: Inviting partners and guests - If a n invited guest is married, engaged or living with a significant other , that partner must be included in the invitation. A single invitation addressed to both individuals shou ld be sent to spouses or couples wh o live together, while separate inv itations should be sent to each mem ber of an engaged or long term coup le who don't live together. Invitin g single guests with a date is a th oughtful gesture, but one that is n ot required. If you are inviting a single guest with a date, try to fi nd out the name of your friend's in tended date and include that person 's name on the invitation. Otherwis e, inner envelopes may include "And Guest," indicating that he or she may bring any chosen escort or friend. Guests Who Ask to Bring a Guest - Y our guests should know better! It i s never appropriate for a guest to ask to bring a date, and you have e very right to politely say no. Howe ver, if you discover that a guest i s engaged or living with a signific ant other, you should extend a writ ten or verbal invitation. Invitations to out-of-town guests - Many brides ponder whether or not it's appropriate to invite long dis tance guests for whom it may be imp ossible to attend. Use your best ju dgment. Is this person truly a clos e friend who would want to attend y our celebration? If so, failing to extend an invitation may be insulti ng. Remember, these days friends an d family are often spread all over the country, and people are accusto med to traveling. On the other hand , if you haven't spoken in years, a n invitation may look like no more than a request for a gift. In those cases, send a wedding announcement instead, which carries no gift-giv ing obligation. Gift-giving Etiquette: Yes, we all love to receive gifts, and weddings are a perfect occasion for gift-giving. Friends and loved ones customarily honor the commitm ent of the newly betrothed by showe ring them with gifts. As the happy couple, just remember to always fee l privileged—not entitled. So, let' s review a bit of etiquette as it r elates to wedding gifts... 1) Never mention gifts (gift choice s or gift registry) on the invitati on. 2) Publicize your registry informat ion by word of mouth. It's also acc eptable to include it on a wedding website or shower invitation (since showers are not typically hosted b y the bride or groom) 3) There is no polite way to ask fo r cash gifts. This can only be done through word of mouth. 4) Honeymoon registries are appropri ate. 5) Do not use any gifts until after a wedding. 6) All gifts, even shower gifts, mu st be returned if the wedding is ca ncelled or annulled before living t ogether as a married couple. 7) Gift giving for vow renewal, rea ffirmation ceremonies or encore wed dings is not mandatory, but is a ni ce gesture. 8) There is no special formula for determining the appropriate amount a guest should spend on a gift. The idea that each gift should cost as much as one plate at the reception is an impractical misconception. Attire Etiquette: While rules for modern wedding atti re have evolved with the times, the re are still traditional standards for fabrics, lengths and styles. He re are some guidelines: The formality of your bridesmaids' dresses should match that of your w edding dress. Although traditionall y the dresses were the same length as the wedding gown, the rise in po pularity of tea- and knee-length br idesmaids' dresses has relaxed that rule. As long as the fabric and ov erall style matches the formality o f your floor-length gown, shorter b ridesmaids' dresses are perfectly a cceptable. For evening weddings, guests should dress for a nice dinner or event - which includes suits (or black tie ) for men and dresses or skirts in sophisticated colors and fabrics fo r women. Lengths can vary according to the style of the event and loca tion. Female guests may now wear bl ack, but never white. The Cash Bar Issue: Yes, weddings are expensive. Yes, c ouples should be on the lookout for budget saving tips. Yes, weddings are expensive - we know. But never - under any circumstances - should you ever consider hosting a cash ba r at your reception. Think about it - you would never ask anyone to pa y for a cocktail in your own home. People at your reception are still your guests, even if the event is n ot held in your house. That said, i f a full bar is not within your bud get, consider these alternatives: Host a soft bar, in which guests ca n order champagne, beer and wine. Find a reception site that allows y ou to bring in your own alcohol; yo u will save serious cash, and anyth ing unopened can be returned for a full refund. Cut down the size of your guest lis t - the only significant way to red uce costs in the first place. For a complete guide to creating an elegant and memorable wedding cele bration, visit http://www.elegala.c om, your ultimate wedding planning resource.
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