I know this topic is going to upset some people but we need to discuss the obligations of the guests once they receive a wedding invitations. Most brides, mothers of the rides, wedding planners, caterers or anyone involved in a wedding will tell you there has been a serious breakdown in the appropriate etiquette of the invitee's role in a wedding. So hang on, after extensive research, I am going to set the record straight.
1. When you receive a wedding invitation, you are obligated to follow the proper etiquette of a wedding guest, whether you attend the wedding or stay home.
2. Within one week of receiving a wedding invitation, you are to RSVP. This means you!!!! Sit down and put pen to paper. Typically, the bride includes a response card in the invitation with a stamp. Walk the response card to the mailbox and stick it in.
A clear 40 percent of wedding invitations go unanswered. Shameful, And we aren't talking about strictly young people. All generations are part of that percentage.
We sent Save the Dates to most of the invitees... so the wedding invitation wasn't a surprise.
The poor mother of the bride has to make the embarrassing email, phone call or worse Facebook message to find out if dear friends and even relatives are coming to her daughter's wedding.
3. If you have RSVPed to a wedding and find you are unable to attend, you are responsible to let the bride's mother know as soon as possible by telephone or note card. You also need to explain your absence.
4. It is unacceptable to skip the wedding ceremony and simply attend the reception. The ceremony is the reason you are invited. Don't be tacky.
5. Once you are sent a wedding invitation, you are obligated to give a wedding gift. A wedding announcement does not require the obligatory wedding gift but the invitation does require a gift but you should send a card or note to congratulate the couple.
6. If you are invited to a wedding, you may be invited to a bridal shower. Again, RSVP to the shower invitation. If you attend a bridal shower, you are obligated to bring a small gift, 25 to 50 dollars. If you do not attend the bridal shower, you are not obligated to bring a gift. We had people that attended bridal showers and never brought a gift. While the guests are fun to spend time with, the purpose of the bridal shower is to shower the bride with love and gifts.
7. A bridal shower gift is not in place of the wedding gift. Clearly these are two seperate events. Do not confuse the two.
8. There is a popular misconception that you have one year to give the newlyweds a wedding gift. Not true. You have two months to give the gift. Proper wedding ettiquette would have you send the gift to the bride or the bride's mother ahead of the ceremony.... I will get to this point next.
9. Do not bring your wedding gift to the ceremony. Send it or drop it off ahead of time. The poor mother of the bride has to gather all the presents at the end of the ceremony or the end of the reception.
10. If you are an out of town guest, you are responsible for your own accommodations. Now the bride will help by blocking rooms at local hotels and negotiate a lower group rate, but you are responsible to find your own rooms.
11. Arrive at the ceremony, fifteen minutes before the beginning of the ceremony. The bride wants to make a grand entrance and a late guest will make this more stressful.
12. Do not take pictures during the wedding ceremony. The ceremony is a special time between the couple and typically, making a covenant to each other either before their Lord or whatever. The sound of cameras detracts from the solemnest of this special time. Trust me, the bride has paid enough for a wedding photographer. She does not need your cell phone pictures.
13. Send the mother of the bride a note about the highlights of the ceremony. I have never done this step before but I will from now on. As a newly minted wedding veteran, any note after my daughter's wedding would have been greatly appreciated. Most weddings take a year to plan and the mother wants to know that the guests felt the effort the families, bride and groom took to plan this special event.
Okay, if you happened to make it through all my research , the sources are Amy Vanderbilt and Emily Post.
Most people think they know etiquette but few people actually look in the book to do the research. Well, if you are invited to a wedding... make sure you refer to this post... and you will be the perfect wedding guest.