These days, numerous rules and standards of wedding etiquette have been derived and fabricated from the original traditions, permutations of which can be worrisome for couples planning their nuptials. I have taken the time to do a little research and recollection of many years of Wedding experience. Here are some answers to frequently asked etiquette questions designed to help guide you through some of the more confusing aspects of planning your Special Day.
Who hosts the Engagement Party? Traditionally, the bride’s parents host this, but in recent years this has changed as families have grown and expanded beyond the traditional. Nowadays, just about any relative or friend on either side can host the party. The hosts should be thanked with a small gift, flowers or perhaps a dinner invitation.
I know it is proper to purchase Thank You gifts for my attendants, what type of gift is appropriate? You can choose from a wide assortment of items ranging from the traditional and elegant, to the eclectic and innovative. Your personality and special relationship with each attendant should guide your choices. Your choices need not be expensive, but quality is a sign of respect and true gratitude.
What are the typical expenses each Bridesmaid should be expected to furnish? Bridesmaids are responsible for the purchase of their dress, shoes and all accessories, (although your Thank You gift can be matching jewelry for them to wear); you should exercise care when choosing the style and colors for these dresses so as to be complimentary to each individual. Taking them with you while choosing can help you to find the perfect look for your court. They should pay for all personal transportation to and from the wedding, (airfare, etc.). Etiquette also dictates they should purchase an individual gift for the couple and share the cost of a luncheon, shower or co-ed party.
My Father/Mother (or other significant Family member) passed away recently. How can I still include him/her in the ceremony? A single rose on the alter, with an explanation in the program would be fitting. You could include a meaningful verse, a quotation or a personal note of condolence. At the reception you might want to dedicate a special song, (perhaps their favorite), to them, and dance with their surviving significant other.
I have many people in mind as attendants. Is seven too many? Yes, seven is a bit much. You should try to keep the numbers even in respect to guys and gals. Select your top four and ask them first. If one or more are unable to fill the role, then go down your list.
Do I need to send invitations to the Caterers, Photographers, DJs, etc.? No, it’s not necessary and isn’t expected. They should already be aware of the date & time of your event. These are professional service providers, not guests and as such should not be included in the guest list or head-count for meals.
Should I mention where we are registered in our invitation? No. Any mention of registries, gifts, etc., is considered crass and improper within an invitation. Make sure your parents, wedding party, and other close friends and family know where you’re registered, so that when people ask them they can let them know.
My co-workers are throwing a shower for me. Am I obligated to invite them all to the wedding and reception? No, you need not. If it’s a “work” shower, thrown with coworkers only, and not your main shower, you do not need to invite everyone.
How long do I have to compose and send thank-you notes? Traditionally, 3-4 months was acceptable, but in our faster times 4-6 weeks is more like it. Etiquette indicates all thank-you’s should be hand-written, on nice notepaper.
Our Pastor has no set fee, but accepts donations toward custodial services. How much? First of all, tipping the Officiant is traditional and in good taste. However, the amount varies from place to place. As a general rule $150-$250 is suggested. Have the best man give the money to them, explaining that some is custodial and some is for his/her kindness.
I have a Biological Parent and a step-Parent. How do I handle the Father/Daughter-Mother/Son dance at the reception? They could each get a full dance with you. If you select this option, dance with the one you feel closest to first. On the other hand, if there’s any family friction (or if this will cause friction) you could omit this dance from the event. You could also opt to dance with a Grandparent.
Should meal choices be listed on response cards or should we just select one meal? Both are acceptable. You might find that a buffet-style meal is more affordable with a wider selection for your guests.
About the Author: Ken Heath is the owner/operator of D.J. Ken’s Mobile Music, a business that he started as “Powerplay” back in 1978 in Fullerton California. Over the years DJKen has performed at many private and public events from San Diego, California to Boise, Idaho…Las Vegas, Nevada to Okinawa Japan! DJKen’s inspiration for DJ’ing stems from his family’s long involvement with radio…his mother was with KWIZ-AM, an uncle was on the base station at Camp Pendleton in the 70’s and yet another uncle is world-famous as radio pioneer, Wolfman Jack.
Classic Car Shows and Cruises remain a favorite and DJKen’s favorite spot to spin the hits is still The Corvette Diner, in Uptown San Diego. Since 1998 DJKen has been the Moderator of the General Conversation board at ProDJ.com the leading internet educational resource for DJ’s, sharing his wealth of knowledge with DJ’s all over the world and learning a few things along the way himself! DJKen is being followed in the industry by his daughter, Rhiannon, who began her professional career as a mobile DJ at the age of 15 with a system given to her by her Dad.