Your wedding is a very important time for you. Of course, it is also one of the most costly events that will happen in your life as well.
Therefore, a big old thank you is appropriate for everyone that does anything for your wedding, little or small, to make it a memorable one.
The list goes on and on and while most people will say that they just want you to be happy, you should provide them all with appreciation in one form or another for what they are doing for you. This goes doubly for parents that are paying for the wedding (and all your desires and quirks!)
There are several important things to remember when it comes to saying thanks. You should be giving these throughout the next year or so in big ways to those that help you through this very stressful time.
Thank You Notes
The first thing that is a big thank you to provide is that of the bridal shower. If you have any type of celebration before this in which you are given gifts or special treatment, thank you notes should also be applied here.
In fact, head to the local stationery store and pick up a lot of thank you notes. You’ll need most of them! Pick out ones that match your wedding invitations or pick out something else. Just have them on hand to send out quickly.
The bridal shower is a very important part of the entire wedding planning session. Wedding etiquette has some pretty strong advice for those that are having one as well.
There are several key elements to remember here.
- You do not want to sound like you are having a shower to get gifts.
- You do not want to throw your own shower as a method of getting funds either.
- You do want to celebrate your engagement and upcoming life together.
So, how do we do it?
There are several ways to look at wedding shower etiquette. Let’s break it down here.
Who’s Throwing It?
The first important aspect of the wedding shower is who will actually throw it. You should not throw your own shower, regardless. This is impolite and seems to say that everyone should give you gifts.
It is also impolite in most cultures throughout the United States for your mother to throw your shower as well. In fact, another close family member including your sister should not throw the shower for you.
But, if your sister is your maid of honor, it is acceptable for her to do this.
Who should do it then? Your maid of honor is responsible for hosting a wedding shower for you. It may be a surprise or it may be a large, formal get together.
As the bride, you really should not play a role in its planning other than offering opinions as suggested. This is a way for those that love you to show you so. In fact, it is often something they should plan from start to finish on their own.
More Etiquette To Consider
There are many more little things that factor into the wedding shower’s etiquette rules. Consider each one of these if you are to have a proper shower!
- Only people that are invited to your actual wedding or reception should be invited to the wedding shower. For this reason, the maid of honor or whoever is hosting the shower may need to contact the mother of the bride for planning.
The only exception to this is when you are throwing an office wedding shower. These are generally given to you by friends in the office; on their own. The wedding party does not need to play a role in the wedding shower here.
- It is acceptable for you to have several wedding showers. If you have one on each side of the family, that is fine as long as you stick to the rules here. But, it is much more commonly accepted that a family wedding shower will include both the bride and the groom’s family. It is a time to get to know each other as well.
- The mother of the bride, as well as the maid of honor, should try to attend all wedding showers. They do not and should not bring a gift to all of them though. It is acceptable if they do not make it to an office wedding shower.
- Men can be invited to a wedding shower. Generally, men that will be there include fathers of the bride and groom, the best man and the groom himself. But, in some cultures, it is acceptable to have a larger shower that incorporates others as well.
- Only invite a guest to one shower. They should not be asked to come to more than one because they may feel obligated to bring two gifts.
- Those that have been married before can have a second wedding shower. There are no restrictions to this, but they may want to request no gifts if they already have most of what they need to start their new life. Often, the host can request donations for a trip or simpler items instead.
- Most wedding showers should be a surprise to the bride and the groom. While this is not necessary all the time, most brides and grooms do expect to have a wedding shower thrown for them.
Where’s It Going To Be?
The next big question is where to host the wedding shower. The good news is that there are no guidelines here. You can throw a wedding shower that is over the top formal with live entertainment and lots of food. Or, you can throw an informal get together.
The location of the wedding shower should be depicted by the style of the wedding shower, from informal to extravagant.
Ensure that there is enough seating for all the guests. There should be enough room for gifts to be opened including tables for them to be stacked on.
The host of the wedding shower should provide for the means to record what is being given to the bride and groom in a notebook. It is also necessary for the host to welcome guests and greet them at the door.
A Wedding Shower Generally Entails:
- A greeting by the maid of honor, host and the mother of the bride.
- A wedding shower should include a meal of some sort. It can be as simple as a buffet or cold cuts or as complex as a formal dinner.
- The shower should provide comfortable tables for the guests to relax on. Assigned seating is generally not necessary for an informal wedding shower but can be used in a formal.
- The shower should provide for refreshments including a cake or other desserts.
- Most of the time there is some form of music, but generally, it is not live entertainment.
- The opening of the presents is generally held after a meal is provided to the guests.
- The bride and the groom should walk around and talk to everyone, thanking them for coming and chatting with guests.
- The wedding party should be thanked by the bride and the groom before or after dinner is served.
- Afternoon wedding showers are the most popular, although they can be held at any time of the day. Weekends are the most common.
The wedding shower is a wonderful tradition. It is designed to help the new couple to get started on the journey of their lives. The gifts that are given are symbolic of providing the things they will need to have a good start.
Another customary thing that can be done at a wedding shower is for the bridesmaids to collect the ribbons from all presents that are open. These are placed together to create a bouquet that the bride will use in place of the real thing at her wedding rehearsal.
One of the other bridesmaids should take diligent notes about what has been given and who gave it. This will allow the bride to write thank you notes later.
Finally, the planning of a wedding shower should be done well in advance. The more formal that it is the more planning will be needed. Most of the time the shower will happen about one month before the actual wedding takes place. If this is not possible, a wedding shower can occur days before the wedding or even after the honeymoon.
The first thing that needs to be figured out is who will be handling what aspects of your wedding day.
This is often a difficult situation because people will go one of two ways.
- They may want to do anything and everything for you. They may want to pay for everything, spoil you rotten and make sure that everything is perfect for you. They often want a controlling hand in the wedding planning to go along with this, though.
- They may instead want to play a minimal role in your wedding, making sure that you pay for and lead the way in your wedding decisions.
Of course, you are looking for the happy medium here. To make sure that this happens, the first thing that you need to do is to get together those that will play a large role in your wedding celebration and planning including those that do want to play a role and those that are a close family.
This would include:
- Parents, step-parents, and grandparents.
- Godparents or mentors within the family or friend structure.
- Close friends.
- The wedding party.
When everyone can come together, they can make decisions as a whole or at least find out what role they will play in this very important day for you and for them. Now, who’s doing what?
The Wedding Etiquette Breakdown Of Who’s Who
Here’s a breakdown of some of the most important players and what they are traditionally supposed to do on your wedding day.
Mother Of The Bride
#1 goal is to make sure that the bride’s wishes are carried out the way that she wants them to be. The mother of the bride is there to help her to make sure that what she wants and what she needs happens.
It is very important that the mother of the bride allows for the bride’s tastes, desires and needs to be provided for. This does not mean that they can dictate what happens, but rather should ensure that what does is what the bride wants.
As one of the largest role players, here are her responsibilities:
- The Wedding Attire. The mother of the bride should help to find the perfect dress for the wedding, including undergarments and accessories. Not your tastes, but hers should come through.
- Guest Lists. The mother of the bride should help to organize guest lists, coordinating with the mother of the groom. If the mother of the groom does not contact her, she should make the first attempt.
- Help the bride and groom determine their wedding budget. While she should not do all the work, she should help them allocate where money is going and what are the important aspects to consider.
- Out Of Town Guests. Those guests that are coming from out of town on the bride’s side of the family should be well taken care of by the mother of the bride.
Arranging accommodations and transportation for them is her responsibility. Often this can be minimized if a block of rooms is available to guests at the local hotels as needed by the mother of the bride.
- Wedding Gowns. You will select your wedding dress first, but you need to immediately tell the mother of the groom what style and color it is so that she can match or coordinate hers with yours.
- Wedding Ceremony. The mother of the bride will need to ensure that all the direction for the wedding is given and understood. Where will people stand, sit and how it all will happen are just a few of these concerns. Ensure that the receiving line is set up properly as well.
- As the mother of the bride, you are the hostess of the reception. Have someone help you to plan and execute it.
Mother Of The Groom
The mother of the groom has a fine line when it comes to the planning and executing of the wedding. There are some very important things that she should do, but her role is largely dictated by the role that her son and her soon to be daughter in law encourage her to play.
Here are some of her responsibilities according to etiquette.
- The most important role is to congratulate. The mother of the groom should call the bride’s parents and congratulate and introduce herself to them.
Announcing how happy she is for the couple, she may want to invite them to dinner at her home or out to a special dinner. A formal get together or an informal one, it is important to get together with them.
- The Guest List. The mother of the groom should work with the bride and groom to determine what the right amount of guests should be. Should there be a limit; the groom’s mother should insure that she meets this limit. Providing a complete and accurate guest list quickly is essential.
- The Dress. The mother of the bride should select her gown first. The mother of the groom should match hers in style and in color. While it does not have to be exactly the same, it should coordinate. It should not match the bride or the bridesmaids.
- Out Of Town Guests. The mother of the groom should provide for out of town guests that are on the groom’s side. Making accommodations and transportation available to them is her job.
- The Rehearsal Dinner. The mother of the groom is responsible for the hosting of the rehearsal dinner. She should invite everyone that plays a role in the ceremony and should at least include his or her significant other. Children may also be invited. As for the type of dinner that it is, this is up to her. She can select an informal get together or a more elaborate dinner.
- Introduce the family and friends on the groom’s side to the bride and her mother. This is usually done in the reception line.
The Maid Of Honor
As maid of honor, you have a special role and place in the wedding. You will insure that the bridesmaids are doing what they should and you set the tone for them. You also should insure that the wedding fits the bride’s plans.
Here are some of the tasks that proper wedding etiquette says that the maid of honor should perform.
- Wedding invitations. The maid of honor should help to address and send the invitations as well as any announcements.
- Host the shower. The maid of honor should throw a party in honor of the couple. This may be the bridal shower. They should work with others in the family for planning and executing this very important event.
- Attend all parties and other pre nuptial events.
- Help the bride throughout the ceremony including help with her train, the receiving line, holding the bride’s bouquet during the ceremony, witness the ceremony and sign the marriage certificate, and to carry the groom’s ring until needed, unless best man does this.
- Help the bride to dress. Assist in her dressing as well as with the other bridesmaids. Help her to undress after the wedding.
- Assist the flower girl with directions and insure she performs her role effectively.
- Help the bride to leave the reception and to have her luggage packed for going away plans.
- Have her wedding dress taken care of including cleaning and preserving as per the wishes of the bride.
The best man plays a large role in the wedding as well. Here are some of his responsibilities.
- Provide for the marriage license. He needs to make sure the groom has it!
- Provide the minister’s fee to the minister. The groom should give it to him.
- Travel arrangements. The best man should provide for travel arrangements to each destination. He should also provide all the necessary help for planning a honeymoon too.
- Gets the groom to the church.
- Helps the groom to dress for the wedding. He should also help the ring bearer and other groomsmen do the same. The best man should help to insure the ring bearer is taken care of.
- Organize and monitor groomsmen. Insure they are where they are supposed to be on time.
- Provide for any errands that need to be done. The best man should coordinate with the bride’s mother and the couple to make sure that they have all that is needed.
- Makes the first toast at the wedding reception. He should also be the first to arrive at the reception and greets guests and the bride and groom when they arrive.
- Acts as a host throughout the day, helping anyone that needs it.
- Helps the groom and bride to leave with the maid of honor’s help.
- The best man should also take the tux for himself and the groom back to the rental location. He should take care of the cleaners if the tux is to stay with the groom.
- Has flowers delivered for the bride and the groom on their honeymoon.
- He also signs the marriage certificate as a witness.
These are the main players in the wedding. It is necessary to insure that anyone that wants to be included do so as long as the bride and groom agree to it. Following these wedding etiquette steps will help to keep things organized and keep people from having feelings hurt.