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Etiquette FAQ's

by Kathryn Lemmon, Wedding Zone Staff Writer

The numerous rules and standards of wedding etiquette can be worrisome for couples planning their nuptials. Here are some frequently asked etiquette questions.

Q: Who should host an engagement party?

Traditionally, this is hosted by the bride's parents, but in recent years this has opened up. Now, just about any relative on either side can host the party, as well as friends of the bride and groom. The hosts should be thanked with a small gift, flowers or perhaps a dinner invitation.

Q: I understand I should purchase gifts for my attendants. What is appropriate?

Options would include: pearl earrings, a jewelry box, crystal vase, small silver clock or a nice pen & pencil set.

Q: What are the typical bridesmaids expenses?

Bridesmaids are responsible for the purchase of the dress, shoes and all accessories. They should pay for all transportation to and from the wedding. Etiquette also says they should purchase an individual gift for the couple and share the cost of a luncheon, shower or co-ed party.

Q: My father passed away last year. How can I still include him in the ceremony?

A single rose on the alter, with an explanation in the program would be fitting. You could include a meaningful verse or quotation or a personal note, as well. At the reception you might want to dedicate a special song to him.

Q: I'm having trouble narrowing down my list of attendants. Is seven too many?

Yes, seven is probably stretching etiquette just a bit. Select your top four and ask them first. If one or more are unable to fill the role, then go down your list.

Q: Is it proper to send invitations to the caterers, photographers, disc jockeys etc.?

No, it's generally not necessary and isn't expected.

Q: Should I mention where we are registered in our invitation?

Any mention of registries, gifts, etc., is considered improper within an invitation.

Q: My co-workers (twenty of them) 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.

Q: How long does the bride have to send thank-you notes?

In times past 3-4 months was acceptable, but in our hurry-up society 4-6 weeks is more appropriate. Also, etiquette indicates all thank-you's should be hand-written, on nice note paper.

Q: Our pastor has no fee, but said we could make a donation toward custodial services. How much should we donate?

First of all, tipping the officiant is traditional and in good taste. However, the amount varies throughout the world. As a general figure, I'd suggest $100-$200. Have the best man give the money to the officiant, explaining that some is custodial and some is for his/her kindness.

Q: I have both a father and step-father. How do I handle the father/daughter dance at the reception?

They could each get a full dance with you. If you select this option, dance with man 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.

Q: Should meal choices be listed on response cards or should we just select one meal?

Both are acceptable. As a side note, chicken is the most popular choice.


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