Some Awkward Questions
Weddings are a wonderful way to bring family and friends together to celebrate the happiest of times. But along your planning path, you may encounter some awkward questions around which you just don’t know how to navigate. Here are the most common difficult questions that couples experience while planning their wedding and advice on how to tackle them. Keep in mind that these are simply suggestions based on common etiquette practice. Your wedding is your wedding, and how you choose to plan your day it up to you.
Should we include registry information on the invite? It’s a faux pas to include registry information on an invitation. No mention of registry should be anywhere on your invite. Traditionally, registry information is passed along by bridesmaids or moms to guests through word of mouth. However, for the modern couple, including registry information on your wedding website is common by today’s standards.
Should we ask for monetary gifts? Just like gift registration, asking guests to give money in lieu of gifts should be done through word of mouth. As so many couples are living together before marriage and acquiring needed household goods typically included on a registry, a monetary gift has become the preferred option. This request can be included on your website also, but be gracious on how you phrase the suggestion, perhaps something such as “We’d like anything you think of, though we could really use help with our honeymoon/first down payment on a house.” A little tip: there are sites such as Honeymoon Wishes, Honeyfund, or ehoneymoon where guests can contribute towards the trip of your lifetime! This is a great alternative to asking for money.
Can we choose not to invite children? Yes, but the key to this question is consistency. If you prefer an adult-only celebration, this must be for all of your guests. Make a choice, and stick with it: whether you choose not to invite children under 5, 10, or 15, it has to be the same for all the guests. Writing “Adults Only” on the invite is not the way to go; instead, address only the names of the people invited on the invitations and send RSVP cards with the invited guests’ names already filled out. If they happen to include their children’s name on the RSVP card, at this point you can call and let them know the celebration is for adults only.
Must we include a plus one for single guests? If you are having an intimate wedding, or your guest list is getting out of control, you don’t have to extend a plus one to single friends and family, according to etiquette. However, I would encourage you to be considerate when deciding whether to include a plus one. Will your single guests feel out of place? Do they know other people to mingle with? Is your wedding predominantly couples, except for a few single guests? If this is the case, then extending a plus one to single guests is the gracious choice.
How do we ask parents for financial assistance? Most parents are up front about how much they are willing to help early on in the planning process. Bringing up your budget (and asking for their advice) will start the conversation of money rolling, without directly asking the question. If they don’t respond about helping with the cost, odds are they are financially unable to contribute. Another idea is to delegate a part of the wedding to them for which they potentially could cover the costs, something like the flowers, venue, music, or food. Personally, I advise the most direct approach, which is asking them “How would you like to be involved in the planning process,” and if they don’t bring up money, simply ask if they are able to contribute financially.
Is a cash bar OK? A cash bar, according to many experts in the industry, including those certified by the Wedding Planners Institute of Canada, is a big no. This may seem harsh, especially for those on a tight budget, but would you ask your dinner guests to pay for their drinks? A wedding reception is the same scenario as hosting your friend and family anywhere else. If you are choosing to have a dry wedding for religious or personal reasons, this choice falls within proper etiquette. Budget for the wedding that you can afford, including the alcohol, and scale back on other elements if need be.
Wedding etiquette can be somewhat tricky to nevigate, but if you remember that it is always important to be gracious hosts, conscious of your family’s and friends’ feelings and comforts, then these awkward questions may end up answering themselves.
By Certified Wedding Planner Alexandra McNamara