Planning your wedding is one of the most special and memorable times of your life.
What is there not to love about trying on extravagant dresses, attending delicious cake tastings, and picking out your favorite flowers for your centre pieces?
There’s so much to take in and enjoy during the planning process, but believe it or not, some of these tasks aren’t so pleasant. For example, how do you deal with friends that are offended they’re not invited? Or, how do couples with different cultural backgrounds incorporate both their culture and traditions?
Here are some quick and easy Do’s and Don’ts for wedding etiquette.
1. We want to meet with our parents to discuss our wedding budget. How much should we expect our parents to contribute? Is there certain things each side should pay for?
Wedding budgets are always a difficult area to cover, and is really dependent on a number of factors, such as your projected budget, whether your guests lists is equally divided between both families, and of course, what can your parents comfortably afford?
If money isn’t a issue for your parents, many couples find splitting their wedding budget into thirds works best. This would mean the couple would share their expenses with both families evenly. Keep in mind, the more your parents are invested in your wedding, the more say they can potentially have when it comes to the menu, decor and guests lists.
If your parents are looking to contribute in a smaller means, you can always ask if they can take care of important wedding details such as your photographer, or your cake.
2. My fiancé and I decided we want to go with a more intimate wedding with a smaller guest list. How do I explain to my family and friends who didn’t make the shortlist?
At the end of the day, it’s your wedding. If a smaller and more intimate event is what you and your fiancé envisioned, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Yes, this decision may upset and even hurt some of your family and friends, but sooner than later they’ll understand and even forgive you. When explaining to family and friends who didn’t make the guest list, it’s important to stay united as a couple and to not blame it on one another. Express it was a decision you made together and unfortunately due to the circumstances (e.g. venue capacity or wedding budget), you couldn’t have everyone there.
To lighten the blow, you can always host a casual post-wedding get-together at your home or at the park to give all your family and friends an opportunity to celebrate your marriage and to shower you with blessings and gifts.
3. What is the difference between a Banquet Coordinator and a Wedding Planner?
Your wedding planner and the banquet coordinator (or catering coordinator) work closely together to ensure your big day runs smoothly and successfully. Both roles are integral to the planning process, but it’s important to be able to distinguish between them.
Your Banquet Coordinator is employed by the venue and looks over the food and the beverage sales for the venue. She/he is your prime contact from your venue and will work with you to draft and finalize your venue and food service contract. He/she will communicate your needs to the day-of banquet captain, who will then ensure your dinner service runs smoothly and on time.
Your Wedding Planner is employed by you as your personal consultant and oversees all aspects of the planning process. She/he will create a comprehensive timeline and itinerary for your event, and will work with you and your fiancé to coordinate all details and logistics, from the arrival of your out-of-town guests, to the style of your centre pieces.
4. I don’t want children at my reception — how do I let my guests know this?
If you’re going for an adult-only reception, you can state it is a “Adult Only Reception” on your invitations. You can also use your bridal party and your closest family and friends to share your wishes with your guests through word of mouth. If your day comes, and some guests do not comply, don’t ask them to leave but instead find an extra seat to make it work.
5. Are we required to specify if we want cash or gifts on our invitation?
It’s never good etiquette to ask your guests for cash or gifts on your wedding invitation. Your asking your family and friends to be a part of your big day because they’re special to you, and the last thing you want to imply is that it comes with a fee.
However, don’t fret, it is unlikely for your guests to come to your wedding empty-handed, which is why we often have presentation boxes at guest book tables. Just in case your guests may have questions regarding on what to get you, ensure you communicate with your bridal party on your gift preferences.
6. My fiancé and I have different cultural backgrounds. How do we incorporate both of our cultures into our wedding?
Being located in such a rich and diverse city, we see this a lot. And each time it happens, we’re thrilled! Ethnic and cultural weddings are full of unique customs and special traditions, and should definitely be embraced!
If you and your fiancé are different ethnicities, start off by having a talk about what is important to the both of you and what your “must-haves” are. If budget allows, you can always host two different wedding ceremonies on different dates to acknowledge both your cultures. If your budget and time is tight, you can also compromise and have one traditional wedding ceremony and from there dedicate your reception to the other’s culture and background.
For example, if you’re Sikh and your partner is Catholic, you can have a traditional Catholic ceremony, but then change it up for your reception and wear traditional Indian attire and serve an Indian-style buffet.
7. Any tips on planning a smooth and quick reception program? Our worst worry is to bore our crowd during our wedding.
This is where your event planner or day-of coordinator can help tremendously. Your on-site wedding coordinators will be your key enforcers to ensure your reception program runs smoothly and quickly. He/she will work your master of ceremonies to ensure the speeches, dinner service, videos and entertainment are all on schedule.
8. Are we expected to save a seat and feed our wedding vendors during our dinner?
Yes, it is proper wedding etiquette to reserve a table or seats for your wedding vendors, such as your wedding planners, a/v techs, DJ, photographers and videographers. On the day of your wedding, your main wedding vendors are working extremely long hours, often without having any breaks, to ensure all the details of your weddings are complete.
9. Is it absolutely necessary to provide a late-night snack during our reception for our guests?
If your wedding reception will be running late into the night and alcohol is being served, it is actually by law you have to serve a sufficient late-night snack for your guests. Couples also serve late-night snack later in their wedding reception as a boost of energy to keep the party going. Be creative with your late-night snack and use it to showcase you and your fiancé’s tastes and personalities.
10. What kind of wedding favours should I get for my guests?
At Events by Emma we have a simple rule: wedding favours should either be edible or practical. If they’re not edible or practical, they probably belong in the trash. Although it’s not easy finding the perfect give-away, your wedding favour is an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to your guests in a special way with a meaningful gift. Just like your late-night snack, be creative and use your favours as a reflection of you and your fiancé.
To find out more about wedding etiquette or to discuss an upcoming event you are planning, connect with Events by Emma by calling 204-779-8812.