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Etiquette: Be a great bride, groom, attendant or guest

February 24, 2013
By KIM LOCCISANO - Staff Writer ( , Times Leader

Etiquette is something we have all been introduced to, yet as do many things in today's world, the once clear patterns of proper behavior for certain special events is often much less clear at a quick glance than it might have been even as recently as just a few years ago.

One aspect of good manners shown when invited to a wedding is to respond to the written or printed invitation immediately and appropriately, according to a number of wedding etiquette experts.

Do not send an email as a response to a printed invitation, and forego the phone call or voicemail: they are just not the right way to respond.

If an invitation is addressed to you and a guest, you should indicate the exact number that will attend: one or two.

If the invitation does not say anything about inviting you to bring a guest then it is in bad taste to invite someone to accompany you to the event.

Also, do not feel free to bring your children to a wedding ceremony or reception if they are not specifically invited by being named on the envelope.

Friends eloped and have decided to hold a reception - should you expect it to be along the lines of the traditional event or subdued?

If it was within a year of the actual wedding, they could easily plan to have a traditional style reception, and guests should be comfortable bringing gifts and expecting activities very much along the lines of what would routinely be expected to happen if they had been married in a traditional ceremony and scenario.

If a celebration is held more than a year after a couple marry, it should be looked at as an anniversary event, not a wedding reception, which seems to be the general thinking of available experts.

Not so sure the information your great aunt offered over dinner a week ago was 100 percent current or correct? Wondering where to turn for quality, readily available advice? Unclear about what clothing is correct for a wedding at 10 a.m. on a Wednesday in downtown Dallas, or something similar?

So, the question is often as straightforward as, where should a person expect to be able to look for up-to-date, reliable guidance, and trustworthy advice?

The answer should hardly surprise anyone: the internet, a favorite book store or a local library.

When heading to the internet or the library, authors of quality etiquette information for things like weddings, showers, engagement parties and the like can be sought through authorities such as "The," The New York Times, Good or even Reader's Digest .com.

And yes, if you happen to be the proud owner of a smartphone, there are already several "apps for that" you can easily locate and purchase or download for free.

Thanks to the reach of the internet, there is a respected and solid source for answers to just about any possible question pending for anyone planning a wedding, a wedding guest or someone simply not sure how to respond to wedding related issues and questions, common or uncommon in nature.

What are you expected to do if friends elope and then decide they want to hold a wedding ceremony and reception with friends and family in attendance?

Who is expected to pay for what if you are invited to be a member of a wedding party for an exotic destination wedding, or for one which is asked to travel only as far as Cleveland or New York City?

Not sure how to answer your friend's invitation to be a part of her wedding party because you will still be pregnant at the time of the wedding? Pregnant bridesmaids, men as maids of honor, and whether or not it is ok to include your terrier as a part of the bridal party are all the type of questions posed to generations of the family who first came to national attention via the wise words of etiquette maven Emily Post.

Her expertise is still available, though in an updated format through the works of her great-great-granddaughter Anna Post. She continues her family recommendation of making sure to communicate the good news of an engagement to family members before making public announcements.

And no - she does not expect wedding invitations to take a virtual form anytime soon. Email is alright for a save the date sort of heads up message to those who routinely use the technology, but not to those who do not find it something they are routinely comfortable using.

Two small but important points: be cautious when sending out save the date notes via email or otherwise - make sure of your budget and plans before expanding the guest list too far. A person who received a save the date notice will expect an actual invitation.

Additionally, never list your wedding registration information on your actual paper invitations.

However, it is acceptable to list your registry information on wedding websites, even according to the Post Family etiquette experts.

But caution is continued to be the recommended track when considering listing information with honeymoon or mortgage down payment registrations.

Ms. Post's explanation: it's long been fine for couples to receive gifts of cash, but such registries seem too much like they are asking for it, which is not in good taste.



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