Your loved ones have just gotten engaged! While you’re beyond thrilled, you know there are stressful things waiting on the road ahead for both them and you. Weddings are wonderful events, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re close to the bride and groom. Perhaps the happy couple is hoping you’ll help plan (or pay for) the wedding, or perhaps you’re just worried about what to wear to the big event and how much to spend on a gift. Here are a few tips to help you through your loved ones’ wedding.
The number-one rule: it’s their day
Weddings are big and complicated events. There are a lot of people with a lot of different interests at stake. Everyone will want the wedding to be perfect, but that may mean something different to the bride than it does to her parents. Knowing the etiquette, planning properly, and making the right decisions about your outfit and gift will help, but remember: while you should strive to stick to the rules and guidelines, your role is not to police the way the bride and groom do things. As much as possible, give them the leeway to plan their big day the way they want to. After all, it’s their day, not yours.
Know the etiquette
Etiquette is something that many of us consider a bit archaic. And, of course, much of it is: who goes up or down the stairs first doesn’t really matter in everyday life. (In case you care, though, it’s ladies first up the stairs and men first down it.)
But etiquette has a purpose: it codifies politeness so that, in theory, everyone knows how to behave properly. We’ve moved past etiquette rules in many areas of everyday life because we’re perfectly capable of relying on instinct and common sense. We see these situations every day, so we have a sense of what is polite (a sense that may also be more up-to-date than the stuff found in etiquette guides). But weddings are not, for most of us, everyday events. And that makes etiquette important.
So brush up on wedding etiquette. It may not be super-strict these days, but it will help you avoid making an ugly mistake on a beautiful day. It will help you feel better as you navigate things. For instance, did you know that you have a year from the date of the wedding to send a gift?
If you’re involved in planning and paying for the wedding, balancing the first two rules can be tough — and it can be tougher still to not get caught up in your own preferences and feelings. If you are contributing to the wedding, it’s best to consider your investment a gift and to resist the urge to use your financing as a reason to strong-arm the bride and groom into doing things your way. Remember that number-one rule: it’s their day!
But you will have a lot of concerns and a lot of discussions, so start early. Make a huge list of everything you have to do. Think about what you’ll have to supply yourself: table and chair rentals, for instance, can be made in advance if such things aren’t handled by the venue. If you are helping to pay for all of this, make it clear what sort of budget you have so that planning is simpler for the bride and groom.
Dress for success
Once the wedding is planned, it’s time to attend it, so it pays to have planned your own part in things, too! Don’t wait until the last minute to pick your outfit. Ladies, especially, will want to look carefully at wedding guest dresses, as well as at etiquette rules related to dressing for a wedding.
Your gift, too, is something to consider ahead of the big day. Follow guidelines and etiquette. Weigh how much to spend and check out the registry, if there is one. Remember that you may also have to prepare to give a gift at the wedding shower.
Weddings can be wonderful, but they sure aren’t simple. Follow our tips and advice and you’ll get through the tough parts with a smile on your face.