Like ‘corset’ and ‘telegraph’, the word ‘etiquette’ is very old-fashioned, but good manners never go out of style. Some rules of conduct are simply using your common sense, and some are a little hazier or simply traditional. Here are some rules of wedding etiquette you may just need a little refresher on to avoid any embarrassment later on.
Wedding Invitations should include RSVP’s and also return postage. If you are inviting young people (or older people!) that live with their parents, than a guest over the age of 18 ought to receive their own invitation. Once you’ve sent out the invitations – at least 6-8 weeks before the date – then it’s time to get the replies together. As you will soon discover, planning a wedding pivots on the number of confirmed guests you have attending usually for the wedding reception, but it will help for your wedding ceremony setup as well.
It is certainly acceptable to word your RSVP as “kindly RSVP before April 30th”. Make the date for the last of the month, not “before May 1”, because some people will think “Oh, May, well that’s three months away” as opposed to “April, that’s next month”. If you do not receive an expected RSVP card by the date, then call and ask the invited person what their reply is.
It is considered poor etiquette to place the words “cash only gifts” on your invitations. As well, it’s bad form to include or even mention your gift registry in with the invitation. That information can be given over the phone or in a reply to an email asking about your registry. However, for your bridal shower invitations, etiquette grants that you can include gift registry info in that envelope.
When, where and with whom you and your new spouse open the gifts is another point of etiquette to consider. You have a few options, and you can decide depending on the size and style of your wedding. Guests do not expect you to open the gifts at the reception, but if you have time and the inclination, you certainly can. Be sure to have one of your bridesmaids sit next to you and write down the gift and giver for your ‘thank you card’ list. Some people have friends over the next day and open all the gifts together, and again it’s a personal choice, but you may just want to rest and relax, not make more lists on this day! The other option, and my personal favourite, is to have all the gifts waiting for you to open when you get back from honeymoon and start off this new chapter of your lives.
Good news…etiquette gives you six months to send a ‘thank you’ card for wedding gifts. No rush!