I tried to look at it as what would effect my guest experience vs what wouldn’t. So like wedding flowers or what shoes I wear, do what I want! Writing prompt thank you cards or having enough seating or food for everyone was a follow good etiquette thing.
Ie if you like a certain color combination or type of flowers that other people don’t like, that’s when you do what you want. But if you are going to try to get people to pay for their own food, invite people without their SOs, etc. that’s when you have to maintain good etiquette and think about other people.
To me, what you're asking might be the difference between "etiquette" and "tradition." Etiquette are things you do because it is generally agreed it is the polite approach...so doesn't fall under the category of "do whatever you want" because that implies it's okay to do things that are impolite. Examples might be you should not invite guests to only the reception, you should always invite couples as a social unit, you shouldn't put registry or gift information on an invitation, etc.
Tradition is wide-open in my opinion, and for things like that you can do whatever you want...keep traditions that feel meaningful to you and leave the rest. Examples might be the size of your bridal party (or if you even have one), doing traditional dances, wearing white, etc.
Maybe that isn't really the question, but that's sort of how I evaluate the difference.
I guess it depends on what the subject is. There are so many things that can vary. I try to weigh it out by will it effect my & FH's enjoyment of our own wedding and will it negatively impact or "isolate" any of my guests. For example, etiquette has always been a paper RSVP card, but times are changing and a lot of people are going to online platforms for all things regarding their wedding. In my case, my siblings and FH's siblings and our friends would probably have no problem with that, but our parents are not particularly savvy, so I stuck to tradition. On the other hand, this will be a 2nd wedding for each of us and we already have everything we need - so we both felt guilty at the idea of a bridal shower or a registry. We do not want anyone spending money on us when it isn't necessary, so we broke tradition and bypassed the shower thing and are including a note that reads "your presence is your present" with our invitations. We're doing the traditional dances for FH and I, father daughter, and mother son, but we're skipping the bridal party dances.
So what things in particular are weighing on your mind, hun?
I think this is a great way of thinking about things!! Old Emily Post advice will say it's best etiquette to hand address your wedding invitations - but how you address your envelopes won't really impact the experience for your guests. But things like providing a full meal, having seats for every person, and sending prompt thank yous will always be good hosting! (Here's a good read on that subject:Here’s What Your Wedding Guests REALLY Care About)
I also love how Stacey differentiated between traditions and etiquette! That's another great point! 🌟
It’s hard to judge without a specific scenario but I would say to keep these 2 things in mind:
1. Never expect anyone to pay for your wedding except for you and your fiancé, and yes that includes feeding your guests. 2. Never expect your guests to feel uncomfortable for the sake of saving money or your own personal gain or happiness. I feel like for the most part if you follow these two rules, you will never cross that line.
I agree with others that as long as it does not offend others. For example I am having a bridal brunch (not shower where I am requesting gifts) because I am having an intimate ceremony with only my maid of honor and her husband but I still wanted to celebrate with my girls and my friends have said they want to celebrate my upcoming day even knowing how we are doing it. That to me is breaking etiquette and I am sure many ladies here would turn their noses up but I am not personally hurting anyone....in fact if they felt my celebration was rude then I would not be offended if they choose not to come. I mean yes it is okay to have things your way as long as you are not being rude or hurtful towards anyone or it includes your fiance. I think that it depends on exactly what you mean.
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I've posted a discussion about "plus ones" (technically they're not plus ones, they're a social unit if they are bf/gf) but I just don't like the idea of having strangers at the ceremony that I have never met and witness our marriage. I know people will probably come at me for thinking about inviting guests' boyfriends/girlfriends to just the reception, but thats what I'm thinking. I know a lot of people will say its bad etiquette (pretty sure) but for such an intimate event in me and my fiance's life, I don't want strangers at the ceromony. I don't see how the ceremony would make our guests' more comfortable to have their gf/bf there!
Now that you have given a specific example, I can see how you are confused. Inviting couples together IS proper etiquette not because someone wrote it in a book a 100 years ago, but because it is respectful and considerate of other people. Why should they celebrate your relationship when you discount theirs? If you are inviting people you care about, it's irrelevant whether or not you have met their significant others.
Sure, "it's your [and your future spouse's] day" and you can do what you want. But what you want to do is unkind. Make your decision and accept the consequences (possible declines, hurt feelings, etc.).
Editing to add: Re-reading your other post, you are talking about your best friend/your officiant and his girlfriend. You can complain about "etiquette" all day long but it will never be the right thing to do to tell your best friend (who is also your officiant) that he can't bring his girlfriend to your wedding.
You know, it may be an unpopular opinion, but you could use this covid mess to your advantage in that regard. I couldn't begin to tell you how to word it, but keeping the ceremony a more private event and the reception a more social one isn't the end of the world.
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To me, this falls more under the realm of being inconvenienced as a guest. If I’m invited to the ceremony but my SO isn’t, that means in order for them to attend the reception, we’d each have to take our own car. This also means that neither one of us would be drinking at the reception because we’d both be driving.
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I love this!!!! Lol! I mean if you’re actually going to not give a plus 1 this would be the BEST excuse! Covid for some is the new get out of jail free card and its definitely the best excuse right now.
I guess it's just a "know your friends" type of situation. For me, I can't dream of not including a girlfriend/boyfriend of a friend of mine and we pretty much went with all etiquette. If I personally was invited to a wedding and my husband/fiance/boyfriend wasn't included, I wouldn't go. I wouldn't want to drive separate to the ceremony then arrive separate at the reception from my significant other. I'd either skip the entire wedding or skip the ceremony. But that's just me. Is this common in your friend group? Have you talked to them about it?
It's pretty much the only positive spin I can put on this pandemic! well, that and people like me who don't really "like people" LOL - I love MY people (FH, kids, besties, etc) I am just not super jazzed to go out and make friends of random strangers except on this site!
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As far as +ones go, this is a situation where you can most certainly invite whoever you want! HOWEVER, would you be OK if you weren’t able to attend a wedding that your FH got invited to?
Also there may be consequences. keep in mind that some of the people that you want there, might not go to your wedding if they can’t bring their SO. Keep in mind, things like slow dances will have very few people, also there’s a lot of couples that put their finances together and budget jointly if they live together even if they’re not married. They may view it as your wedding, vs a date night with their SO. As far as socializing goes, some people don’t socialize well and sometimes having your SO there by your side helps break the ice a little. There are only two people on my guest list that will not be getting +ones, however they already know that they are not getting +ones. That being said, if it’s only specific people that you truly don’t want there as long as you’re OK with running the risk of having them not show up then I’d say just invite whoever you want.