Yes to Bridal Registries; No to Hints for Cash: Wedding Etiquette
Here are four wedding traditions that are still worth upholding.
Thoughtfully registering for presents
Many say that signing up for a wedding registry is one of the few pre-wedding tasks the groom will enjoy as much as the bride. With the more creative alternatives that are now on offer, it is possible to register for appliances, luggage, and even furniture along with more traditional items such as china and silverware. That being said, there is still a proper way to handle a wedding registry.
Requests for gifts of cash should never appear on the invitation, even if the request is stated in the form of a funny poem or a haiku. For this, couples should again rely on their wedding website, or on word-of-mouth dissemination.
First, it is best to register at two or three establishments, as this makes shopping more convenient for your guests. (Take note: Registering at more than four stores may come off as overly indulgent.) Aside from this, consider registering for a variety of items, including a mix of classic pieces, as older guests are usually more accustomed to purchasing these types of presents. The registry should also reflect a range of price points, including reasonably priced selections, and not just big-ticket items. And last but not the least, no mention of gifts or the registry should appear or be included with your invitation. This seems to be a common practice in the Philippines, but it should actually be avoided, as it is equivalent to asking for gifts outright.
How then, should your guests find out about your registries? The traditional way is still the most proper one, and it can be done—delicately—via word-of-mouth. You may rely on your close family and friends, and the wedding entourage to help spread the word. It is also considered proper to share the information on your wedding website, and to include the link to your website on your invitation.
On a similar note, requests for gifts of cash should never appear on the invitation, even if the request is stated in the form of a funny poem or a haiku. For this, couples should again rely on their wedding website, or on word-of-mouth dissemination. And even in cases where cash is preferred, it is still advisable to have at least one registry for those guests who feel more comfortable giving actual presents.
Make sure your guests feel comfortable and well attended to. Consider shortening the length of the cocktail period and prioritize the prompt serving of a delicious meal.
Streamlining your wedding
With all the options available to couples these days, it is no wonder the adage “less is more” has fallen by the wayside. And while add-ons such as the lengthy cocktail service, multiple video presentations, unique games, and even literal (and not just figurative) fireworks can indeed make your big day more memorable, it might be a good idea to pause, take stock, and ask yourself if more can actually be too much.
According to Lia Bernardo, one of the founding members of Bridesmaids & Co., (the first wedding coordinators in the country), wedding receptions in the 1990s used to run for about two- and-a- half hours. This was enough time for a wonderful meal, a few toasts, niceties like the cutting of the cake, and even some dancing. These days, guests can spend up to two hours standing during cocktails while nibbling on a few snacks. If you factor in the time spent preparing, traveling, and attending the wedding ceremony, it is easy to see how they may feel exhausted by the time dinner starts—no matter how happy they are for the couple.
And while there is no need to eschew the full event styling if you feel it is important, do keep in mind that these trimmings should not supersede the simple basics of hospitality. Make sure your guests feel comfortable and well attended to. Consider shortening the length of the cocktail period and prioritize the prompt serving of a delicious meal. Try keeping any speeches, presentations, and performances to a minimum. For in the end, it is these considerations that will make your attendees feel like welcome guests—instead of mere spectators—at your wedding.
Receiving your guests
The practice of the receiving line, where the couple greets their guests in an organized line along with their parents, is no longer as fashionable as it once was. But it is still the most acceptable, formal, and efficient way for couples to welcome their guests and receive their well wishes. As Penny Lopez Katigbak, who wed her husband Anton in 1997, relates, “I still remember each and every person who came to our wedding, and it felt so personal to be able to greet everyone in the receiving line.”
In the Philippines, the receiving line usually starts at the entrance of the reception venue, but in other countries, it is often held immediately after the ceremony—even before any official photo sessions are held. As such, you may have to work out the timing of when to hold your receiving line. But as Anna Bunag Chan recalls, the effort will be well worth it. “It was the first time my husband, Joe, was able to introduce me to his relatives who flew in for the wedding. But more than that, it was a lovely tradition that allowed the reception to start right after the ceremony. It also made as feel that we were, as hosts, able to properly welcome our guests instead of making them wait for our grand entrance.”
Sending out thank-you cards
When it comes to modern-day wedding planning, details are hardly left to chance. Pinterest boards, spreadsheets, and supplier meetings abound. And bridal showers, gown fittings, and registry planning are all a big to-do. It’s as if everything builds up to the excitement of wedding day, and that is all that matters.
Unfortunately, one casualty of this mindset is the practice of sending out thank-you cards. But sending out hand-written, personal thank-you notes is still the most thoughtful and proper way of expressing your appreciation to all those who were kind enough to extend their time, effort, and generosity toward you on your wedding day.
Ideally, thank-you cards should be sent out between two weeks (for gifts received before the wedding) to three months after returning from the honeymoon (but only if you left for your honeymoon right way, otherwise, it’s best to count from the wedding day itself ). This task may seem overwhelming, but staying organized will help you sort matters out in no time. And if you think of it as a way to extend the high of your wedding day, you may enjoy it even more.