Wedding etiquette goes beyond invitation wording and seating.
You may be the savviest, smartest couple, yet even you can make wedding planning mistakes.
Accept the fact and use these 5 easy ways to troubleshoot any potential pesky day-of problems. You will save yourself from a premarital meltdown!
"You totally nailed that we wanted an air of tranquility to envelope our wedding ceremony and day. The tone of the vows you wrote for us were as elegant and graceful as we could ever have imagined." Elysse and Clive, Wilkes-Barre, PA
1. Blowing the Budget
Without a real budget you can blow through half of the money saved to produce your wedding, and still not have all the things you need and want for your signature style including alternative wedding rings. This common mistake causes sleepless nights, overwhelm, and visible corner cutting that can taint the thrill of your wedding ceremony and reception.
Do you really want to guarantee your wedding will not happen?
Then bounce checks to vendors, be unable to pay deposits, or do not make final payments on your wedding day -- woeful breaches of wedding etiquette.
No matter how likeable you are, if the band doesn't get paid they don't play.
2. Mucking Up the Marriage License
Pre-wedding paperwork may not be the sexiest task you do as a couple, but applying for your marriage license is all about rules and legalities. And these are different in most states. For example, there can be a time limit on the unsigned license. In Delaware it's only good for 30 days, so you can not apply for the license earlier than a month before the big day or you will not be able to legally marry on your wedding day. Waiting periods apply in most states. This means you have to wait several days after your application to get the license, or several days after receiving the license, to marry.
Most states require both people to apply for the license in person, together. And no, a live FaceTime video on your iPhone does not count as "in person".
The officiant sends the signed license to the proper government authority within a specified time. Then the city or state where your ceremony took place will issue a marriage certificate as the proof of marriage and send it to you.
3. Insufficient Postage
Don't heed the warning "extra postage required" at your peril. Whether you purchase invitations and a stationery suite or create them yourself, most require extra postage. Is it worth it to gamble a first-class postage stamp is sufficient and then weeks later have the invitations returned to you by the post office stamped in bold red-purple ink "insufficient postage"? Your timeline is kaput, envelopes are spoiled, and now you incur the additional cost and time to redo the mailing.
This entire scenario -- and wedding etiquette gaffe -- is avoidable by taking one complete invitation package to get weighed at the post office before purchasing your stamps. And by the way, square invitations require extra postage regardless of weight. Appreciate the post office as the final word on postage and let them help you.
4. Storyboard the Entire Wedding Day
A few weeks before the wedding think very carefully about the event day from the eye-view of your guests. Consider, for example, when they drive to the wedding ceremony site, where will they park? Where is the handicapped access? Is parking only on one side of the street? Do you need to shuttle guests from the wedding ceremony to the reception venue?
Where are the rings and who is responsible for them at the ceremony space? How will wedding programs find their way into the hands of guests? What will you do to make guests comfortable if there is a span of time between the ceremony and the reception? Who will be responsible for temperature control? Who will put up the adhesive-backed Velcro signs you slaved over, and who will check? Is there a trusted friend who will check to see that the escort cards are set out by the venue in alphabetical order by last name?
Appreciate that the sole reason for this great party is to celebrate the marriage - starting a life together. Without the wedding ceremony there is no reason for the gathering. Brides-to-be, grooms-to-be, couples-to-be, remember to be good to each other. Pay attention and listen to each other. Respect your differences. This is part of wedding etiquette, too!
It is, afterall, true love compelling you to wed and embark on planning and wedding etiquette. Not the other way round. Inevitably, tension results from sticky topics cropping up between the most committed-to-each-other couples. Take a breath - maybe two or three - and then talk it over in a calm, matter-of-fact way. Communicate. This is real world conflict resolution. Not quite up to doing it by yourself? Check out life coaching online.
Be grateful for the love you share, the celebration of joy, and the opportunity to choose happiness once again.
Instead of being whipsawed by wedding etiquette and planning, you can accept the realities of the process, appreciate the complexity of the event, and set in motion the actions essential to achieve a wedding day perfect for you.