Invitations

Brides and Grooms

Regardless of your social or environmental consciousness, it’s important to send a paper invitation for the actual wedding and reception. For other events, such as the rehearsal dinner, invitations can be sent via email. And no matter how much you might want to get the word out for where you’ve registered, don’t list this information on the invitation.

If a potential guest is married or engaged, invite her/his significant other; otherwise, it is a kind gesture to include “plus one” on the invitation, but it isn’t required.

Guests

If you receive an invitation, respond by the due date (regardless of your attendance or absence) and in the same manner as the invitation was sent. (If you received a paper invitation, return the reply card in the envelope. It helps the bride and groom keep track of their guest list. No texting.) If you are not engaged or married and “plus one” is not on your invitation, don’t bring a guest.

Gifts

Guests

If you receive an invitation to a wedding, even if you can’t attend, get the couple a gift – at least the price of your plate at the dinner (barring financial limitations). It should go without saying that “re-gifting” for a bride and groom is never a good idea.

If your finances are tight, you can take up to a year after the wedding to buy a present, but it’s nice to give it by the wedding date or shortly after.

In choosing a gift, you may be tempted to go “out of the box” and get the couple something off the registry, but they created the list for a reason; it’s almost always better to buy them something you know they want.

Brides and Grooms

No matter what gift you receive, be gracious about it – and send a written thank-you note within three months of receiving it.

Wedding Party

Brides and Grooms

Your bridesmaids and groomsmen will do a lot for you. Show your appreciation with gifts. For the bridesmaids, this could include paying for the cost of professional hair and makeup on the big day.

And be sure to feed them. The wedding day itself is strenuous, so consider catering a meal to keep everyone’s energy levels up, especially with an evening ceremony.

Attire

Brides and Grooms

If possible, the bride and groom should help to pay for the clothing worn by the party on the big day. If the bridesmaids buy their own dresses, give them some freedom in the choice of color and style. The cost should be reasonable, regardless of socioeconomic status. The last burden anyone wants is for the attendants to be frustrated about shelling out a ton of cash for something they will never wear again.

Guests

The old rule about not wearing white to the wedding still holds true. The good news is that you can wear black – as long as it is fun, not funereal. If you’re not sure about how to dress, ask other guests about their outfits; you don’t want to wear a tuxedo to a brunch wedding or jeans to a black-tie affair.

Smartphones

Guests

Couples typically fall into one of two categories regarding smartphones at weddings: wholly for or wholly against. Make sure you know which it is.

By all means, silence your phone during the wedding.

Whatever photos you take, do not post them on social media before the couple does. When in doubt, don’t post anything until you have checked with them.

If you try to snap a great photo during the ceremony, watch what you’re doing. Don’t get in the way of professional photographers. They’re paid to shoot photos, not you.

The best advice is to ditch your phone throughout the event and be present in the moment.

Venues

Brides and Grooms

It’s your wedding – so make it a day to remember. If you want to have an outdoor wedding, be sure that you prepare for the changing Oklahoma weather. After all, it has snowed here in April, so, even in the spring, have a contingency plan such as outdoor heaters for your guests. If you want to have your reception in a ballroom or in a rustic setting, do it, even if it is miles away from where your ceremony is held. Your guests won’t mind traveling the distance for your special day.

Odds and Ends

Brides and Grooms

If you have guests from out of town, it remains a kind gesture to include them at the rehearsal dinner in addition to your close friends, family members and the wedding party.

Guests

Toasts are a fun way to allow friends and family members to share their thoughts and memories. Remember that it is customary for family members to give more intimate speeches at the rehearsal dinner, while at the reception, the wedding party toasts the happy couple.

You may be invited to a wedding ceremony conducted in a religion different from your own. You may be tempted to skip the ceremony and arrive at the reception. Don’t. Honor the traditions of the bride and groom by attending all events. Be on time and don’t leave early. In addition to your wedding present, the couple will cherish the gift of your time and respect.

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