You have both learned so much during the engagement and wedding planning process about proper etiquette that your heads are swimming in do’s and do nots. Here are a few more for the newlyweds.
Save the dates and wedding invitations tell a specific group of people about your marriage: mainly those who you wish to invite to the event and share in the joy. However, budgets usually prohibits inviting all your family and acquaintances. So how do you share the good news with the rest? Through announcements posted in the newspaper or sent in the mail.
Newspaper society pages may print a blurb about your upcoming nuptials and may add a submitted photo as well as long as they are given enough lead time and the proper forms are filled out. Make sure you check well in advance of the actual wedding date and fill out all the forms properly. If they do not add it in prior to the event they may do so just after the actual date. Either way, more people know that were not invited to the wedding. That usually means notes of congratulations and well wishes will start to arrive as well as possibly a few gifts. Keep the addresses and catalogue in a consistent manner who sent what. This will make the thank you notes easier to send out.
Announcements that are mailed must be written as a proper invitation. The rsvp information must be sent out immediately after the wedding announcement. They can be pre-addressed and sent by the best man and brides maid or by the parents of bride and groom. Business associates, acquaintances or friends and family who for whatever reason were not invited to the wedding are the only recipients of these types of announcements. They are not obligated to send gifts or cards but if they do, keep addresses and catalogue gifts.
Thank you notes
Probably the hardest part of the whole process for newlyweds is staying on top of the thank you notes. There are no shortcuts, no form letters, no substitutions for handwritten personalized thank you notes. In this technological age of social media and emails, the handwritten thank you note holds court and while the immediate thank you response is best, there is no time limit on when you can send a note. BOTH husband and wife should tackle this task. Keep the notes personal, sincere and make sure to mention the actual gift and where you intend to place or use it. These small notes will hint at the love and sophistication of your new marriage.
In an era of “glass half full” vs. “glass half empty” there are still those that believe the glass is still worth lifting in a toast to love. Many people are embracing love over statistics, bad experiences, past faux pas, and friendly naysayers and following their heart and remarrying. This profusion of second, or third or even fourth marriages, popularly termed ‘encore weddings’, become the joining of not only two people but possibly two families. Because both parties are wiser and hopefully more confident in their choices their perspectives differ to that of first time couples. Age, family ties and a more appreciation of the budget may hold a pervasive weight on wedding decisions.
Different personal past experiences mean different wedding etiquette comes into play and should be looked at. For example the hierarchy for announcing the joyful event follows a very different order:
1. Tell the children first (if there are any from the previous marriage).
2. Then the ex-spouse (regardless of the quality of the relationship and especially if there’s children from that marriage).
3. Next is family and siblings. If you are in good standing with ex-in-laws or a widow/widower, including the in-laws is appropriate.
4. Finally your friends and co-workers.
The focus should be on the family from the previous marriage which is a shift from just the newly engaged couple.
Some changes in typical first time wedding etiquette may also include:
1. Wording invitations to include children as the ones making the announcement and giving the bride or groom away.
2. Forgoing the larger ostentatious wedding for a more intimate one and eschewing a formal registry for an informal one. Register for specific hobbies or events because most likely you already have what you need to start a household. Even if you do not wish for anyone to give gifts, a registry helps those who feel happy to do so and will prevent duplicate gifts or unusable ones. (Never put “No gifts please” on your invitations; this is a huge etiquette error.)
3. Do not expect parents to pay for the event but if they offer you can graciously accept.
4. Specialty showers are a better option and friends who gave gifts at your last wedding are not obligated to give another gift.
5. The bride may wear white or any color she chooses. Do not be tied to traditions this time around.
6. Finally, make sure you put closure to your first marriage on all levels: legally, financially and emotionally. This helps make a fresh start for your new life together.