The rules have been thrown out. You want what you want, and why not? But don’t forget everyone else. Herein, the new etiquette.
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“She firmly believes that is the proper color for a bridal bouquet,” Cui says. However, the bride has spent the past few years watching television shows such as “Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?” or “Platinum Weddings,” where brides show off their bouquet of green roses embellished with Swarovski crystals. Are the two generations going to clash? You bet. Does it have to get ugly? With a little understanding and tact, no.
The truth is that wedding traditions are highly influenced by trends, says Cui. Perhaps in another few decades, brides won’t feel they must wear white or ivory wedding gowns and paper invitations will be only a memory, she says.
What Would Emily Say?
Brides need to choose carefully when trying to accommodate family wishes. Compromising is a great solution, so it’s worth the effort, says Proud, who calls on Emily Post when she has etiquette questions. Family relationships will go on long after the reception is over.
Relationships with other wedding guests may or may not go on. Many guests are unaware of etiquette for behavior and dress, Proud says. “I don’t think they’re teaching etiquette in high school any more, and they really should.”
Considering how much work a bride puts into a wedding, deciding what’s appropriate for her event and keeping the families reasonably happy, being a guest is a piece of cake. And yet…
People do not know how to properly respond to wedding invitations, Proud says. They don’t realize they need to respond even if they aren’t attending or that they are only invited to bring whoever is listed on the invitation. That means no uninvited children or brand-new boyfriends.
Proper attire is another issue. “Showing up in jeans is a huge etiquette no-no,” says Proud. So are outfits that are too revealing or too casual.
Then there’s the wedding attendees’ behavior, which is often fueled by too much alcohol consumption. Fist-fights are not unheard of at receptions or after-parties. Some behavior is simply unexplainable, Proud says, recalling the time she witnessed a groomsman changing into his tux in the parking lot of the wedding ceremony venue.
It’s Your Day
So having all the have-to’s and must-do’s codified like they were in Emily Post’s day simply isn’t necessary anymore.
Etiquette is now a matter of convenience and clarity rather than mandates. Therefore, everyone involved in the wedding planning should be flexible when it comes to traditions. A bride with few single friends may opt to forego the bouquet and garter toss. The superstition that the groom should not see the bride before the ceremony may be ignored in favor of having more time for photos. Wedding coordinators often advise against receiving lines due to space and time considerations.
Little is set in stone, but a smart bride would do well to discuss her decisions with key wedding participants, not spring any surprises on anyone. The best etiquette of all: Be considerate of others’ feelings.