Your Etiquette Questions Answered! Part 3

Posted by Kim on Apr 04, 2013

Photo by Christina Watkins Photography

Today, we’re discussing bridal showers, cash gifts, a break between the ceremony and reception, and more…

Sarah asks (via Facebook): I have an etiquette question for bridal showers. I have family members who live out of state and do not expect to travel for my shower (especially some older family members) and I do not want them to feel obligated to send a gift. However, I want them to know that I am thinking about them and would love them to be included. Do I include them on the guest list I’m sending my bridesmaids who are hosting the shower?

Yes! Like we mentioned yesterday, an invitation isn’t just a material item – it’s a symbol of the fact that you want your family and friends to attend and are thinking of them – regardless of if they can actually make it. And if they do choose to send you a gift, just be sure to show your appreciation with a warm, handwritten thank-you note. You never know, some of them may end up attending!

Melissa asks (via Facebook): We are having a small wedding with just close family members, and I was wondering if I could invite people to the bridal shower who are not invited to the wedding, rather than not include them in the celebrations at all. Is that considered inappropriate?

Under most circumstances, the rule of thumb is that anyone who is invited to a bridal shower must be invited to the wedding. If you wedding is truly small (we’re thinking 30 people or fewer), there can be an exception to this rule. Just be sure that your bridal shower guests are aware that the wedding is going to be extremely intimate, so that no one feels insulted or disappointed.

Elisabeth asks (via comments): In my family, traditionally guests give a bridal/wedding shower gift off the registry then give money to cover their plate at the wedding. I have been talking to some of my friends who have never heard of this, but rather give one bridal shower gift and a wedding gift off the register and am starting to get nervous that we won’t be getting as much as we expected to cover the wedding expenses but rather a whole lot of blenders! Is there a polite way to handle this?

Whether it’s cash or a gift, there’s a fine line between letting guests know what you want and sounding greedy. You could let your close family and wedding party know that you’re hoping to receive cash gifts at the wedding, in case they are asked. There are also cash registries that you might be interested in signing up for. But other than those options, you’ll have to gratefully accept whatever gifts you receive – and follow up with a handwritten thank-you note.

Samantha asks (via email): Our ceremony and reception locations are a 20 minute drive apart. The ceremony should end at 5:00pm but our reception doesn’t begin until 6:00pm. How should I let guests know to take their time after our garden ceremony before heading off to the reception location? We’re not sure if we should have the officiant make an announcement before the ceremony begins or if we should include this somehow on our formal invitation reception card. 

You should certainly note the ceremony and reception times on your invitation, but we think your ceremony program is the best place to ask guests to linger. Something like: “The reception doesn’t start until 6pm – so feel free to mix and mingle after the ceremony!” You can also offer some light refreshments (we’re thinking lemonade and sparkling water) after the ceremony so that guests can have a quick drink before hitting the road.

We’re accepting etiquette through tomorrow, so ask away via FacebookTwitteremail, or the comments below.