Zarife Hardy from the Australian School of Etiquette says the biggest change to traditional wedding etiquette is via social media.
He pops the questions and you simply cannot contain your excitement. Instead of rushing to blast the good news of your engagement online minutes after the proposal, Zarife suggests ensuring the people you are closest to hear the news in person or over the phone first. Table etiquette in the Digital Age also includes asking the bride and groom before posting photos of their special day on social media.
Extravagant, lavish weddings and surplus guests are no longer necessary requirements for a beautiful wedding. More and more couples are opting to celebrate their love in an intimate setting. Quaint backyard weddings and contemporary alfresco restaurant and event spaces are trending more than ever. “Casual weddings are increasingly popular,” Zarife says.
Which means good news for you. “The days of feeling obligated to invite everyone you (and your parents) know are over.” However, just because the wedding doesn’t demand for black tie doesn’t mean you can be completely slack when putting together an outfit. “Manners are still compulsory in casual environments.”
Here’s your most frequently asked wedding etiquette questions answered:
Can you decline an invitation to become a bridesmaid?
If you are declining a bridesmaid invitation it is best to chat with the bride straight away. The truth is always the best option, by being honest and authentic you can avoid making this a bigger deal than it needs to be. Reinforce the friendship tell her how honoured you were to be asked. Be gracious, be genuine and be happy for her.
How do you tell a coworker they’re not invited to your wedding?
If you have decided to not invite work colleagues then it is again best to be honest. Gently explain that you have decided to limit your list to immediate family and close friends only. Be sure to emphasize that the exclusion is not a choice that reflects your opinion of them but rather a decision to leave work out of your family affair.
What happens if you don’t like the ring your man has picked out for you?
It is a very tricky situation as this is a ring that you will potentially wear forever. Firstly, remember the wedding ring has been purchased with a lot of love and thought. If you really don’t like it then it’s best to have a gentle and gracious conversation about potentially having a look at a couple of other styles. Some say to just keep it and upgrade as time passes e.g. 10th year wedding anniversary. If you both decide to look at another style always stay within the price range the original ring was purchased for.
Can you say no to your mother in-law?
Rather than blatantly saying no to your mother-in-law’s suggestions, tell her your plans, listen to her ideas and then figure out if there’s anything that you both agree on that you could involve her in. Your mother in law will be around for a long time, you are marrying her son so be respectful and find something that makes you and her happy.
How do you ask for money on your wedding day?
It is now quite ok to ask for money as a wedding gift, however the way you word the request is most important. Be gracious in how your phrase your wish and be prepared for people to still buy you a traditional gift. Traditionally you would never write a “gift request” on your wedding invite, it should be written on a separate card or told to your parents/bridesmaids to inform your invited guest.
How do you say no to a friend that has offered to sing/DJ at your wedding?
If your friend has an amazing voice then accept the offer to sing at your wedding, make sure you give her/him a few song titles that would be appropriate. If you don’t want her to sing at the wedding then be very gracious and appreciative but let her know that you have the music booked and would love her to sing at another event.
Can you un-invite someone from your guest list?
Dis-inviting someone from a wedding should never happen. However, if you need to downsize the event then a phone call to the person/people being dis-invited is absolutely necessary.
According to Zarife, there are even do’s and dont’s when it comes to posing for your wedding photography. “Keep your arms and legs in a tidy position that compliment your body and your dress. Always maintain perfect posture and a beautiful smile.”
A girl can only try!
Want to learn more about the power of presence and style? Visit the Australian School of Etiquette to register for the Bride / Bridesmaid Workshop.