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Etiquette Is Our Guide But Do We Follow It To The Letter?

Posted By on June 13, 2012



Did you just crinkle up your nose when you read that? Did you sigh? Are you frustrated over all the etiquette required for planning your wedding or for conducting business? I am. Don’t get me wrong: I am in TOTAL support for having the proper etiquette for formal occasions such as weddings and in doing business with others – even having proper manners in social media. Etiquette is our guide and it should be consulted and considered carefully. But are we obligated to following it to the letter? In all circumstances?

In a recent discussion with a bride in an online bridal forum, she was asking for advice on how to handle inviting guests after she had to postpone her wedding last November (2011) because of emergency surgery.  She is now planning her wedding in a new location on new date (a whole year later) but has a smaller budget. She was asking if it was okay to cut her guest list to support her smaller budget or if she was required to invite everyone who was invited to the first wedding. As with all online forums, you don’t always get the full details behind the requests so I don’t know how she handled postponing her wedding to begin with.

Etiquette says that when you postpone a wedding you notify the guests as soon as possible, either by phone or by sending out cards, telling them that the wedding is postponed and giving a brief reason as to why (death in the family or illness). If you know the future date or know what the new plan is you would also let the guests know this at the time of postponement. (Did she do that? I don’t know.) In essence, Etiquette says that all the invited guests are put on hold but are still invited to the wedding. You can’t un-invite them because that would be improper. Okay – so – a bride who had a serious illness happen is obligated to keep the same guest list from before which she now can’t afford? Is that proper – inviting guests that you can’t pay for? Etiquette guidelines would seem to make things go smoothly, but in many cases, they cause more stress. (If Etiquette were a person, I’d be giving her a piece of my mind for causing brides and planners so much stress. At times she seems downright insensitive.)

Therefore I ask, do we follow Etiquette to the letter or do we make exceptions? I suggested she look for things she could “do without” to have more people, but in the end…the bride will need to do what she needs to do. Cut her list. It’s a hard decision. How can she support her guest list if funds are not there?  There will be some who will be offended that they’re not invited this time. Though I have to think that those who know her and what she went through would understand that her finances have pushed her to a smaller wedding. That’s hard to deal with but as with all weddings, you can’t please everybody…including Etiquette.

I’ve been known to buck Etiquette here and there. Have you? Share your thoughts with me…Was this wrong advice to give to the bride? Why or why not?


Image via Wed Magazine UK

About The Author

Darlene is a homeschool mother to her 3 children, a music/voice teacher, coffee fanatic and owner/founder of TaylorMade Weddings. She has earned the title of Best Wedding Planner for Winchester, VA in 2013 from Virginia Wedding & Event Network. Her passion, commitment to excellence and attention to detail has allowed her to work alongside some of the most talented vendors in the event business all over the state of Virginia. Her clients are one of a kind and her service is tailored to meet their individual needs. Darlene is also on the panel of experts at "Pop the Question" where she mentors couples planning their own celebrations.


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