Planning a Wine Country Wedding: Etiquette

(This is Part 14 in a series.  Did you miss Part 13?  View the post here!) 

One of the biggest things that I’ve tried to follow while planning a wedding is advice on etiquette.  It’s important to me to remain gracious and welcoming to everyone who wants to participate in our day, and showing our gratitude is a necessity.

Here are some of the biggest challenges I’ve found so far:

Who to Invite

A big issue that we’ve been struggling with is including children and plus ones.  Every guest who’s included will increase your cost, and you will need to decide how important it is to you that each person is included as well as to weigh the cost of possible hurt feelings.


For us, plus ones are not only an added cost, but also an unknown guest to an intimate part of our lives that we hope to share with those closest to us.  Ultimately, the decision is yours, but I’ve generally found that the plus one rule is to include anyone who’s at minimum been in a long term or serious relationship.  To help, give yourself a rule; include anyone who has been in a relationship for at least a year or is currently living with your guest.  Anyone who doesn’t fit this rule is excluded.

While it seems to be totally acceptable and even common now to exclude children entirely, our struggle is with inviting some children while excluding others.  We are finding that it’s easier for us to just include everyone’s children rather than picking and choosing, and we know that some of our guests will leave them behind for a childless night out anyway.  If you do exclude children, leave their names off of the invitation; anyone not included on the written invite is traditionally excluded.

Here is some advice from Martha Stewart on guest list etiquette.

Who Pays

It seems more and more couples now are paying for most, if not all, of their own wedding costs, and financial responsibilities between families are always so variable.  Traditionally, it seems as though most of the cost is paid for by the bride’s family, but there are certain costs that should be taken on by others.  The groom’s family, for example, typically hosts and covers the cost of the rehearsal dinner.  They can also pick up the tab for corsages and boutonnieres for family members and lodging for the groomsmen and groom’s immediate family.  The groom and the wedding party also have their own set of expenses.

Check out Emily Post’s advice for a detailed list of how wedding expenses are traditionally divided.

wedding-1249096_1280The Uninvited Plus One

One thing that every couple must deal with when planning a wedding is guests inviting plus ones who weren’t actually invited.  While this is aggravating, especially after paying such close attention to how to properly address your invitations, keep in mind that not everyone knows the etiquette of addressing invitations!  To help curb this problem, consider adding a line on each RSVP card that indicates specifically how many seats are reserved for the guest you’re inviting.  If you still get uninvited plus ones, you will have to decide if it’s worth it to you to reach out to the guest directly.  If so, don’t worry about feeling rude; ultimately, it’s your day.

Here’s more advice from Emily Post, by way of the Huffington Post, on how to handle the uninvited guest.

Saying Thank You

Saying thank you and showing gratitude is extremely important to me.  I want everyone to feel appreciated and know how meaningful their presence is to us and how treasured their gift is (if one is given).  Especially if you’re expecting a large number of guests or sending out a large number of announcements, you could be receiving a deluge of gifts.  To keep on top of it, make sure to send out your thank you notes as you receive them.  Taking the time to handwrite a card over sending a quick email or text is always a nicer touch.

Quick Tips:
–          When in doubt, consult Martha Stewart or Emily Post!

Happy Planning!

Next post: Wedding Shower Trends

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