Planning a wedding is fun, exciting, and at times can be complicated. Questions are constantly popping up and it can be hard to figure out what the ‘done thing’ is and how to avoid hurting feelings while having the wedding that you have always dreamed of.
To help you navigate some of the tough situations, here are the answers to some of the tough wedding etiquette questions.
How do we kiss?
This is the most exciting step in your relationship to date, so it’s okay to feel like you want to pash your partner to unleash all of that joy when your celebrant announces you are officially married.
But remember, your grandma is watching… and maybe your great uncle, so it’s best to leave the big passionate kisses for the honeymoon suite and instead give each other a PG-rated version.
There is a happy medium between a tongues-everywhere pash and an ultra-conservative peck on the lips. You just need to find that balance through a little practice at home before the big day!
Can someone other than my father walk me down the aisle?
Of course! You can ask anyone who is special to you to walk you down the aisle. It could be your mother, a sibling or even a best friend.
Alternatively, you can choose to walk with your partner down the aisle or to go solo. A lot of couples are finding creative ways to avoid an aisle altogether, such as having the ceremony set up in a circle or having all of the guests walk into the ceremony with the couple already waiting for them at the end of the aisle!
Who pays for the bridal shower/hens?
Traditionally the bridesmaids foot the bill for the bridal shower, but when they are putting on something more elaborate or there will be transport, accommodation or event expenses involved, they may ask their fellow hens to help out by splitting the cost among those coming along.
Do you need to invite everyone who was invited to the hens to the wedding?
There is an expectation that the people you invite to the hen’s party have an automatic ticket to the main event. So, if you have decided to have a more intimate wedding with a fewer number of guests, a destination wedding, or are planning to elope, it’s best to be upfront with your ladies and let them know not everyone will be coming along to the wedding.
This can be upsetting for those who don’t get an invite to the wedding, so be delicate in how you deliver the news.
What do I say to people who ask for a plus one or try to RSVP for an extra person?
It’s a miracle that this guest has returned their RSVP on time, but they have taken it upon themselves to invite a new love or to bring a child along as well.
While you’d love to them to come, it puts everyone in an awkward position, especially if you don’t know this plus-one from a bar of soap.
All you have to do is politely explain the need for a strict guest list and most guests will understand. You can always fall back on the no-ring, no-bring motto, which has become popular of late!
Do I have to invite everyone to both the ceremony and reception?
It can be difficult territory to negotiate, but the truth is that you don’t have to invite everyone to both the ceremony and reception.
If the budget is tight, you can always consider hosting a more intimate affair with fewer guests, but if you cannot bring yourself to exclude some people, you can resort to offering them the chance to attend the ceremony only.
At the end of the day, honesty is the best policy, explain that you can only afford (or fit at your chosen venue) a certain number of guests, but you would love for them to attend the ceremony to witness your marriage.
Who pays for the bridesmaids’ dresses, hair, make-up etc?
This is different in every situation and is going to be largely dictated by your budget. First things first, you need to have this discussion with your bridesmaids fairly promptly after asking them to stand by your side on your wedding day.
Being upfront will allow them to know what you are hoping they can contribute and save any potential for conflict further down the track if you keep asking them to pay for things they weren’t expecting to pay for.
There is no right or wrong answer here. If your budget allows, you can pay for dresses, accessories, hair, and makeup for your bridesmaids if you wish.
You might choose to pay for their dresses and accessories and ask them to pay for their hair and makeup on the wedding day.
If money is super-tight and you cannot afford to put much towards kitting out your bridesmaids, be upfront about this at the start and allow them to make the decision to commit to the role and the financial obligations it will come with. Also, bear in mind that you might like to allow them to have more input into their dresses and styling if they are paying for it all themselves.
Is there a polite way to ask for a wishing well contribution?
Some of your guests may be familiar with wishing wells and will immediately know that it is intended for cash gifts. However, it might be new territory for other guests so it is best to include an explanation of the wishing well in your invitation.
You would do this by placing a card in the invitation that explains your wishing well, much like placing a card in the invitation that lists at which stores the bride and groom have registered. As you would expect there are some etiquette rules you should follow when including information about your wedding wishing well in the invitation.
You can come up with a cute poem or phrase to explain your request for money instead of gifts, just make sure it is clear enough that all of your guests will understand.
Wedding guests are usually not comfortable with the idea that they are giving you money to help pay for the wedding itself, so it can be a good idea to explain what you intend to use the money for – your honeymoon, a piece of art, or a house deposit…
How do I ask someone to help us pay for the wedding?
Talking about money is never fun, and asking someone for money is just downright hard! But sometimes the budget simply won’t stretch far enough to pull off a wedding without financial help, and usually this comes from the ‘Bank of Parentals’.
No matter how close you are to your parents, it can still be hard to approach them, or other family members, to ask for help to pay for your wedding. You can try and indirect approach, where you show them your budget and ask them for their ideas on how you can save money and this opens the door to the possibility of them offering to help you out.
Otherwise, you can go for the direct approach and just ask them outright if they might be in a position to help you. Rather than gunning for “half the wedding”, which can be a daunting prospect for anyone to take on, ask them if there is a component or two of the wedding they might be able to help out with. It could be they want to buy the wedding cake, or pay for the bridal gown, or pick up the bar tab for the reception. This gives them a chance to choose something that is within their budget. And let’s face it, every little bit will help you out!
Do we have to invite kids?
No, there is no rule that states you have to allow guests to bring their children along. In fact, kid-free weddings are a hugely popular way to go.
If you decide to go down this path, you will need to make it clear to your guests who have children, either by addressing the invitation directly to the parents and not the children, or by giving them a courtesy call after sending out the invitations to ensure they understand the invite is just for them and not the children. This can give you an opportunity to explain why if you wish to.
If you are making this rule, you will need to stick to it and not allow some children to come, while excluding others. The only exception would be if you have little ones in the wedding party.