Wedding Etiquette:Children at Weddings

Children at Weddings_jules Hirst

photo by David Murray

Kids and wed­dings.  Do you feel kids should be invited to wed­dings?  If you are a par­ent and your child is not invited do you attend the wed­ding?  Here is a great arti­cle from BlogHer  that dis­cuss chil­dren at wed­dings.  Enjoy!

Wed­ding sea­son is offi­cially upon us, and you know what that means. Drunk uncles try­ing to dance with your friends, the bar­tender say­ing clever things like “you again?” when you order another top-shelf cosmo, doing the Y.M.C.A. against your will and bet­ter judg­ment, wait­ing for grand­par­ents to go to bed so the DJ can play “On a Boat”. Sounds like a child-friendly scene, right?

[insert record scratch]

This sub­ject is a bit of a sticky wicket. Because although today’s wed­dings have mostly evolved (devolved?) into a vari­a­tion of the above scene, they started out much dif­fer­ently. Wed­dings used to be thought of sim­ply as a cel­e­bra­tion of two fam­i­lies com­ing together, and last I checked, there’s some­times kids in those. Tra­di­tional cer­e­monies include them in impor­tant roles like car­ry­ing an empty ring pil­low to the groom (every­one knows that los­ing the actual rings is the best man’s job) and dump­ing a full bas­ket of rose petals at the top of the aisle, fail­ing to scat­ter a sin­gle one along the way.

So how did this notion of specif­i­cally dis-inviting chil­dren to wed­dings become such a hot topic?

Some­where along the way, “wed­ding” became code for “most expen­sive and over­planned event of your life.” Ter­ri­fy­ing shows like Bridezil­las and Say Yes to the Dress have fed the mania machine. After watch­ing a few episodes, the thought creeps in that per­haps you too should be vig­i­lant about the font and paper­stock weight of your place­cards. That you too should plan to start your cer­e­mony at exactly 5:17, posi­tion the pho­tog­ra­pher at a 43 degree angle to catch the light just right, pay hun­dreds of dol­lars so your spray­paint foun­da­tion glows but doesn’t shine in the sun­set. And if some tod­dler should start yap­ping about Elmo at the top of his lungs, ruin­ing your per­fect moment? Well, it’s easy to see how a com­plete psy­cho­log­i­cal break might be on the way.

Does this mean all wed­dings should be child­free? Or maybe just that the bride-and-groomzillas should calm down? Each couple’s sit­u­a­tion is dif­fer­ent, but one thing’s for sure – every­one should be aware of a lit­tle child-related wed­ding eti­quette.

Here’s some for every­one involved:

Bride and groom, no one under­stands the value of an adults-only party bet­ter than me.

But if those clos­est to you have kids, is it really that big of a deal to you that your wed­ding be child­free? Keep in mind that peo­ple are uber-sensitive about per­ceived slights to their off­spring, and fam­ily rifts have started and car­ried on for decades for far more triv­ial offenses. You’ve got enough to worry about with­out mak­ing addi­tional prob­lems for your­self. Seri­ously. You’re about to offi­cially enter into some­one else’s fam­ily – if the kids in ques­tion are on that side of the fam­ily, think long and hard about whether this is how you want to make your entrance.

All that being said, when you’ve got twenty-five grand or more hang­ing on the biggest day of your life (for some peo­ple), it’s your pre­rog­a­tive. If it’s not going to cause drama, or you just don’t care enough, knock your socks off. It’s your damn day, as they say. You (or your par­ents) are the ones foot­ing the bill, you should have con­trol over who’s there. A nice “Adult Recep­tion” on the invites should do the trick. If some­one doesn’t like it, they need not attend.

If you’ve got the cash to do it, a nice com­pro­mise is offer­ing to hire a few babysit­ters to cor­ral the kids into a sep­a­rate room at the venue or leave them back at the hotel.

Par­ents, I’m going to implore you to use a lit­tle com­mon sense.

Are you part of the imme­di­ate fam­ily? If not, do the bride and groom love chil­dren, enough to want them there? Are your kids well-behaved, would you want them at your own wed­ding (no seri­ously, would you?)? Do you have any babysit­ting resources you can call upon so you don’t even have to worry about this, and can just have an awe­some night or week­end livin’ it up childfree?

Look care­fully at the invi­ta­tion and wed­ding web­site – are there any clues that there shouldn’t be chil­dren there? If the invite is addressed to just you and your spouse instead of the [insert name] Fam­ily, con­sider doing some research – talk to some­one close to the bride and groom and see if you can get a feel for what’s accept­able. If you’re still in doubt and can’t leave the kids behind, ask the bride. If you’re too much of a chicken to ask, at least have the decency to note it on the reply card so she’s not scram­bling on the day-of for addi­tional seats and kids’ meals.  It also gives her a chance to call you and end your friend­ship prior to the wedding.

If you’re get­ting haughty and think­ing things like babysit­ters are expen­sive…well yes, they are. You knew that when you had kids. You also knew you’d have to make sac­ri­fices. And if the bride and groom don’t want kids at their wed­ding and you can’t afford to leave them behind, then not going to this wed­ding is going to be one of those sacrifices.

Arti­cle writ­ten by: May­be­Baby­May­beNotLiz
Photo by: David Mur­ray

Wedding Etiquette: Diamonds and the Four C’s

Engagement RingWed­ding eti­quette says A bride-to-be does not need a ring to make her engage­ment offi­cial. Many cou­ples will go to the jew­eler together, this way the future groom can get an idea of what kind of ring his future bride would like.

If you will be mak­ing a trip to the jew­el­ers here are some things to keep in mind about Dia­monds and the Four C’s.

DIAMONDS are the emblems of love and engage­ment, and are the tra­di­tional gem­stones for engage­ment ring.
CARAT ~ Carat is the weight of a dia­mond.
CLARITY ~ Dia­monds are rated on the basis of blem­ishes that occur in nature, such as bub­bles, specks and inner cracks that are hard to see with the naked eye. The size and place­ment of the blem­ish deter­mines the clar­ity rat­ing. FL stands for flaw­less and is the high­est clar­ity rat­ing and the least desir­able rat­ing is imper­fect.
CUT ~ The way a dia­mond is cut deter­mines its bril­liance. It is the most impor­tant of the four C’s. This is what causes the stone to sparkle.
COLOR ~ If a dia­mond is clear and col­or­less it is rated a D, the high­est color rank­ing. The low­est is Z, yel­low. Some dia­monds nat­u­rally have some tint of color are in a spe­cial cat­e­gory called fan­cies[1]

Don’t for­get to get a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. This is writ­ten proof of a dia­monds weight, grade and iden­ti­fy­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics from the Inter­na­tional Gemo­log­i­cal Insti­tute. You will need this to insure your ring.

Jules Hirst is a sought after speaker and a rec­og­nized eti­quette coach.
She con­ducts lec­tures, work­shops, sem­i­nars and webi­na­rs  in busi­ness, social & wed­ding
eti­quette.  Jules co-author Power of Civil­ity where she shares strate­gies and
tools for build­ing an excep­tional pro­fes­sional image.
Jules can be reached at 310–425‑3160
[1] Post, Peggy. Emily Post’s Wed­ding Eti­quette. New York: Harper Collins, 2001.

Gay Marriage ~ Wedding Etiquette

Here is an arti­cle from Sunday’s New York Times sent to us by Michele Ondre.

If you find an arti­cle that you think should be posted, send us a link to   If we use your sub­mis­sion, we will send you a dig­i­tal copy of the book we co-authored, “The Power of Civil­ity.”

 Gifts for Every Occasion

Sev­eral years ago, I attended a les­bian friend’s com­mit­ment
cer­e­mony, and I gave the cou­ple a gift to mark the occa­sion. Now, she
and her part­ner are mar­ry­ing. Should I give them another gift?

Anony­mous, Vermont

Is it about the gift or about express­ing your hap­pi­ness for your friend,
now that she and her part­ner may marry? This isn’t a case of a
second-time around wed­ding, where one isn’t oblig­ated to give a gift,
espe­cially if a wed­ding gift was given for a first mar­riage. Even so, a
good friend often does give a gift out of affec­tion for a remar­ry­ing
friend and in honor of the occa­sion. To answer your ques­tion about your
friend’s com­ing wed­ding, I say, yes, do give a gift. It needn’t be
elab­o­rate or even expen­sive. And if they already have an estab­lished
house­hold, con­sider some­thing fun (tick­ets to an event), friv­o­lous
(Cham­pagne for after the wed­ding) or seri­ous (a dona­tion to a cause).
This is a very spe­cial cel­e­bra­tion for your friend, so join in the
spirit of the occasion.

Find­ing the Right Words

My part­ner and I plan to marry next spring, and we’re won­der­ing how
to word the invi­ta­tions. Do we use the same for­mat and lan­guage as for
straight couples?


Some cou­ples may wish to style their invi­ta­tion on the tried and true
tra­di­tional wed­ding invi­ta­tion, while oth­ers may take a dif­fer­ent tack.
There’s no rea­son you can’t be cre­ative with yours, as long as the
word­ing is respect­ful and reflec­tive of the occa­sion and con­veys the
infor­ma­tion a guest needs to know: who is doing the invit­ing, what is
the occa­sion, when and where will it take place, and how to respond.
Gay and les­bian cou­ples make many of the same choices as straight
cou­ples in word­ing their invi­ta­tions, with a few twists. Because there
are two brides or two bride­grooms, the ride’s fam­ily first con­ven­tion
doesn’t apply when list­ing the wed­ding hosts. The cou­ple, and their
par­ents if they are the hosts, will have to decide which names to list
first, with the sim­plest choices being alpha­bet­i­cal order or a coin
toss. The same is true if par­ents have divorced and per­haps remar­ried;
decide what makes the most sense in the sit­u­a­tion. Cre­ate the
invi­ta­tion, for­mal or infor­mal, that feels right to you and your part­ner
and informs your invi­tees of the nec­es­sary details.

A Tan­gled Wedding Web

I am hav­ing some trou­ble nav­i­gat­ing what to do about two guests I
have invited to my wed­ding.  They are both good friends whom I have
known for many years.  These two were roman­ti­cally involved for a while
after I left the city where we all lived.  I had always planned to
invite the woman to my wed­ding, as she is the closer friend. But
recently I have renewed my friend­ship with the man, who actu­ally doesn’t
know that I know he and my other friend were involved. They tried to
keep their rela­tion­ship a secret for rea­sons I won’t go into.

Recently, I have been see­ing more of my male friend, and with­out
think­ing of my female friend, I ver­bally invited him to the wed­ding, and
then fol­lowed up with a save-the-date e-mail.  When I did this, I
wasn’t think­ing about their his­tory together and that she still takes
pains to avoid see­ing him. Now I real­ize that if I tell her I invited
him, she very likely won’t come to my wed­ding because see­ing him is so
hard for her. Should I unin­vite him?  I would feel awful doing this. But
she is the closer friend, and it’s really impor­tant to me that she
attend my wed­ding. She and I live in the same city where the wed­ding
will hap­pen, and she has been help­ing me plan; he would be trav­el­ing
from a city sev­eral hours away. I have thought about approach­ing her
with the prob­lem, but then she might insist on not com­ing so that, in
the process of uninvit­ing him, I don’t reveal to him that I know about
their past.  Please help!

Anony­mous, Pennsylvania

Sounds like you need a GPS to nav­i­gate this tricky tri­an­gle. The short
answer: Do not unin­vite your male friend. It would be hurt­ful to retract
the invi­ta­tion, and there is no pos­si­ble way to give him an expla­na­tion
with­out reveal­ing what was told to you in con­fi­dence by your female

But per­haps you are antic­i­pat­ing trou­ble where there might not be any.
Plenty of wed­dings have occurred against the back­drop of dicey
under­cur­rents of exes. Think about divorced par­ents who attend their
children’s wed­dings. Poten­tial mine­fields often lurk right below the
sur­face, but some­how actu­ally on account of fore­sight  they get
through the big day. Since you are such good friends with both, it would
be nat­ural for you to invite both of them. So go ahead and do just
that. Give them each a heads up: Matt, I’m look­ing for­ward to see­ing
both you and Saman­tha at my wed­ding! Encour­age your female friend to
attend, and assure her you will do what you can to ease the awk­ward
inter­ac­tions. For exam­ple, if you have assigned seat­ing at the
recep­tion, seat them far from each other at sep­a­rate tables, just as you
would a divorced couple.

With care­ful plan­ning and a dose of civil behav­ior among those involved,
I’m sure you can help these two friends avoid any uncom­fort­able moments
or soap-opera drama while being with you at your wed­ding. One would
hope that they will join you and rec­og­nize that this occa­sion isn’t
about them, but about you, their good friend. Surely, they will be able
to share your joy while putting their secret past behind them.

Learn­ing to Love a Heartfelt Gift

My son and his wife recently mar­ried. My sis­ter and her fam­ily sent
them a wed­ding gift of a clock that plays music. My sis­ter indi­cated
that it was a costly gift (one I know they could ill afford). When my
son received it, he called me to say that he and his wife did not care
for it at all. They can­not return it as it was pur­chased at a store out
of town. I know they will write a gra­cious thank-you note. I have
offered for my son to send it to me, and I would take care of the
return. Unfor­tu­nately, it was bought at a store that sells only
time­pieces, and I’m not sure if they will find any­thing else to pur­chase
at that estab­lish­ment. Here is my ques­tion: Should I just return the
gift, get a store credit and not say any­thing to my sis­ter? Should I
tact­fully explain to my sis­ter that my son and his wife had no use for
the gift and ask her if she would want her account cred­ited? I don’t
want there to be any hard feel­ings.

Anony­mous, Maryland

The gra­cious thank-you note for the gift is a great start and a must.
There’s always some­thing pos­i­tive to say about a gift, even one that
doesn’t suit the recip­i­ent. Dear Aunt Sarah, Uncle Char­lie and Leah,
We’ve just opened your thought­ful gift. Every home needs a good clock,
but we never expected one so ele­gant or tune­ful. We both appre­ci­ate your
gen­eros­ity and the care you took to find some­thing spe­cial for us. Joe
joins me in send­ing our thanks. We’re glad you could join us at our
wed­ding. It meant so much to both of us to have our fam­i­lies with us.
Love, Jessica.

O.K., now what to do with the clock? Your son and his new wife should
keep this unique gift, even though it’s not some­thing they wish to use.
While it is gen­er­ally totally O.K. to exchange gifts when they are
dupli­cates or wrong sizes, or when the giver says, Please exchange it
if, that’s not the case here. It isn’t about the tan­gi­ble item itself,
but all about the effort and, as it seems in this case, the sac­ri­fice
made to show affec­tion to the new­ly­weds. Exchang­ing the clock for
another isn’t worth the chance of caus­ing hurt feel­ings or upset­ting
fam­ily rela­tion­ships. The cou­ple can keep the clock in a closet, or in a
room that is infre­quently used. They could make sure it’s in view and
in full chime when Aunt Sarah and Uncle Charlie visit.

Can I exchange it? lit­mus test says: Keep the gift when it is
one-of-a-kind (an heir­loom or a unique clock like this one), when it is
hand­made or if an exchange would cause hurt feelings.

Writ­ten by: Peggy Post
New York Times

Wedding Etiquette: Wedding Gift-Registry Etiquette

Bridal Registry Etiquette Los Angeles Wedding PlannerWhen it comes to the Wed­ding reg­istry wed­ding eti­quette states NEVER print where you are reg­is­tered on your wed­ding invitations.

Ask your atten­dants and fam­ily mem­bers to spread the word on where you are reg­is­tered.  You can also put it on your wed­ding web­site or who­ever is host­ing your bridal shower can put the printed reg­istry cards in you shower invites.

Royal Wedding Countdown ~ Receivng Line Etiquette

How to address memebers of the Royal FamilyWhen attend­ing a for­mal wed­ding cer­e­mony it is tra­di­tional for the wed­ding hosts, bride, groom, and brides­maids and maid of honor.  This is done because your guests are eager to con­grat­u­late you and a receiv­ing line is an effe­ciant way for you to give a warm wel­come to your fam­ily and friends.

The upcom­ing Royal Wed­ding  which will uphold many wed­ding eti­quette and pro­to­col prac­tices will have a tra­di­tional receiv­ing line with Prince William and Kate Mid­del­ton, Prince Charles, and Mr. and Mrs Middleton.

Here are a few tips on how to address some of the key play­ers and mem­bers of the Royal Family:

Princes & Princesses

Any­one who has a title should be addressed as “Your Royal High­ness” for the first time, and sub­se­quently “Sir” or “Ma’am” (to rhyme with Pam).


Arch­bishop of Canterbury

If you are intro­duced to the Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury address him as “Your Grace” or “Arch­bishop”, the Dean of West­min­ster is addressed sim­ply as “Dean”.


Intially your refer to her as “Your Majesty”  Then“Ma’am” (to rhyme with Pam)

And remem­ber do not speak to any mem­bers of the royal fam­ily unless spo­ken to first.  Now that you know how to address the meme­bers of the Royal fam­ily… How are your table man­ners?

Source:BBC News

Wedding Gift Etiquette: When the gifts last longer than the marriage


 Celebrity wed­dings rarely last and the lat­est attempt has come to an abrupt end. It is sad to say that Kim Kar­dashian has filed for divorce from her hus­band, Kris Humphries, after only 72 days of mar­riage. With a wed­ding that was reported to cost $10 mil­lion and had a two-night cable spe­cial, it has lead many peo­ple to won­der if this was a cha­rade for rat­ings and money. Whether it was or not, 72 days of mar­riage is not a long time and it leads to another ques­tion. What hap­pens to the wedding gifts?

Many guests will feel upset or cheated if the gifts are not returned because they spent their hard earned money to buy the gift and the wed­ding was short-lived. Com­mon eti­quette says that any wed­ding gifts should be returned if the wed­ding is called off prior to the cer­e­mony or if the mar­riage ends shortly there­after. There are a few sit­u­a­tions to deal with. All unused gifts should be returned. Any gifts that were mono­grammed or per­son­al­ized should not be returned because it is almost impos­si­ble for the giver to return them. Also, used gifts like bed­ding should not be returned. Com­mon eti­quette says in the case of a non­re­turn­able gift, it is proper to ask the giver if they would like the item back or offer to reim­burse them for the cost. With any gift that is returned, a note should be enclosed thank­ing the per­son for their gen­eros­ity but they regret­fully can­not keep it because the mar­riage did not work out.


Kim Kar­dashian has announced that she will not be return­ing the gifts because they were given out of love. How­ever, she has offered to make a $200k dona­tion to her favorite char­ity. So now she gets to keep the gifts and receives a tax write-off. Appar­ently celebrity wed­dings end bet­ter as well.

Who Needs A Wedding Planner — I Do!



Wedding Planner and BrideEvery lit­tle girl dreams about their wed­ding day. They spend time plan­ning all the details and act­ing it out. Is a fun time. How­ever, plan­ning the real thing isn’t always that fun. Most brides have to jug­gle the demands of their work and their rela­tion­ship at the same time as plan­ning the wed­ding. There are only so many hours in a day and the stress from all of this can be too much for some cou­ples. To help resolve this issue, why not hire a wed­ding plan­ner? A wed­ding plan­ner is an addi­tional cost that you prob­a­bly weren’t€™t plan­ning on, but weigh the cost against the ben­e­fits described herein and see if it might be some­thing that could benefit you.


The wed­ding plan­ner can help you with the design of your wed­ding, the style of the wed­ding and, most impor­tantly, the bud­get for the wed­ding. The wed­ding plan­ner also has a net­work of venders who they have worked with in the past and con­sider reli­able. These ven­dors can help bring to life the style you want and work within your bud­get. They will also save you the time of search­ing all over town for reli­able ven­dors and you will have to sched­ule less meet­ings to pick your vendors.


Plan­ning a wed­ding involves a great deal of logis­tics. There are the events of the cer­e­mony. There are the events of the recep­tion. There are seat­ing charts. Don's stress out on your wedding dayThere are save the date cards and invi­ta­tions and know­ing when to mail all of these. There are wed­ding favors that need to be designed and ordered and picked up. There are also all of the con­tracts from your ven­dors and mak­ing sure they know the time­lines and you know when the money is due. It is the job of your wed­ding plan­ner to han­dle all of these details for you. The wed­ding plan­ner won’t make the deci­sions for you  that’s your job. How­ever, once you’ve made the deci­sion it is the wed­ding plan­ners job to make sure it gets done and done correctly.


Finally, when fam­i­lies get together for the big day there are bound to be some issues that arise. Your wed­ding plan­ner gets to deal with these. The wed­ding plan­ner gets to be the bad guy and you get to enjoy your day.


Most wed­ding plan­ners have dif­fer­ent pack­ages that you can select from, includ­ing a day off pack­age where they will only be avail­able for the rehearsal and wed­ding day events. If the cost of a full pack­age is pro­hib­i­tive to your bud­get, con­sider a day off pack­age. It is your wed­ding day and you should be able to enjoy every minute of it with­out aggravation.

Is Black the new White in Wedding Gowns?



After Vera Wang’s fall 2012 Bridal Show she will have us won­der­ing “is Black the new White ” in wed­ding gowns.  Here is what the New York Times said.….

AFTER a sea­son of high-profile wed­dings, begin­ning with Kate Middleton’s royal affair and cul­mi­nat­ing with Kim Kardashian’s blowout, could bridal design­ers be expe­ri­enc­ing white-dress fatigue?


For her fall 2012 bridal show this month, Vera Wang, who designed Ms. Kardashian’s wed­ding dress and those of count­less other famous brides, sent a flock of black wed­ding dresses down the run­way. I found black to be fresh and tongue-in-cheek, Ms. Wang said in a tele­phone inter­view. With all the big wed­dings that hap­pened this year, it was fun to step out of the box.

 Ms. Wang, who has been in the bridal busi­ness for nearly 22 years, has dab­bled in pur­ple, pale green and dusky neu­trals in past bridal col­lec­tions, but never in a palette this out. In an indus­try that is as tradition-bound as this one, and given Ms. Wang’s rep­u­ta­tion as a set­ter of trends” wed­ding attire as ready-to-wear; gowns with swirls of ruf­fles (see Chelsea Clin­ton) ” the col­lec­tion caused quite a front-row stir.

It was shock­ing and out­ra­geous, but it was also fab­u­lous, said Mark Ingram, the owner of the Mark Ingram Bridal Ate­lier in Man­hat­tan. It was bold, but it also made me pay atten­tion to the details all that more carefully.

Ms. Wang bal­anced her inky palette with sheer lay­er­ing on bodices and skirts. She drew on lin­gerie motifs with exposed corsets, and added insets of frothy gray tulle. Even so, the looks were far from sweet and vir­ginal; they were almost gothic.

I did take it to a witchy kind of place, she admit­ted. For me, it helped build a sense of mys­tery that I was hun­gry for. And it added this sen­su­al­ity and sex­u­al­ity, and a lit­tle bit of severity, too.

Ms. Wang, who has the safety net of a more tra­di­tional and acces­si­ble line for the David’s Bridal chain, designed the col­lec­tion while she was in Los Ange­les, far from her New York head­quar­ters. The dis­tance, she said, had freed up her per­spec­tive, allow­ing her to explore novel ways for black to read wed­ding day. Not that the noirish hue would be all that strange at her home base. (No mat­ter what peo­ple say, black is very asso­ci­ated with New York, she said.) But the col­lec­tion had per­sonal res­o­nance as well.

I wore white on my wed­ding day, Ms. Wang said. I was very frus­trated, it being so tra­di­tional at the time, but the bridal indus­try wasn’t so evolved back then.

Con­ven­tional eti­quette would still say that a bride (and no one else) should be in white at a wedding.

The bride who chooses the black dress does not care about eti­quette, said Jung Lee, a founder of, an event-planning com­pany in Man­hat­tan. Ms. Lee advises brides on the intri­ca­cies of every­thing from invi­ta­tions to attire. That’s not to say she doesn’t have man­ners, she said, but it’s cer­tainly not eti­quette. My advice is that she really think about it, and not just in the short term. Think how the pic­tures would look 10, 20 years from now. A bride in black will draw more atten­tion than one in white or ivory. You have to be pre­pared for that.

In the celebrity-saturated con­text of the times, the black wed­ding dress may her­ald a new phe­nom­e­non: the wed­ding aisle as red car­pet. Ms. Wang’s darkly roman­tic wed­ding gowns would be equally at home at an impor­tant awards show. And for many brides, the wed­ding day (the expen­sive gown, makeup and acces­sories) is the clos­est thing to a red-carpet rit­ual. Is it that much of a stretch to say that the celebrity expe­ri­ence has become the modern-day fairy tale?

Source: The New York Times
Writ­ten By: Bee-Shyuan Chang