We want to start by introducing Lisa Lyons, our brand new Wedding Venue Map modern wedding etiquette expert. Lisa has almost 20 years of experience planning and executing weddings.
With a niche for sophisticated and refined events, Lisa is striving to raise the standards of events by teaching contemporary wedding etiquette for both engaged couples as well as wedding guests.
This is the first article in our series sharing about wedding protocols and etiquette.
Modern “Wed-iquette”: Covid-19 and beyond
She stared at her wedding planning checklist with tears rolling down her cheeks, and in disbelief. She deeply sighs, and wonders, “Do I reschedule, or worse, cancel my wedding?!”
Together, a couple opens an envelope to find a beautiful and classically designed wedding invitation that is to take place in eight weeks, they look at each other in disbelief, both wondering, “Should we even attend?”
March 2021, officially marks twelve months since life as we all knew it drastically changed in every single facet of our lives. Most especially notable is the hosting and attendance of weddings.
It is very likely that you also had a wedding that you were or are to be a part of, whether as the couple or as an invited guest.
These are most unprecedented circumstances and yet we need guidance to help navigate our way though hosting and attending a wedding. Between Covid-19 in 2020, now into 2021, and modern etiquette, many are curious as to what the rules are now.
I’ve got you covered darlings, whether you are the planning couple or the guest!
Modern Wedding Etiquette for Engaged Couples:
Respect > Neglect
Communication is key, and (gentle) transparency is paramount.
Previously, it was an added bit of productive and practical planning by sending out save the dates. This is so important, now more so than ever, as additional planning and precautionary measures are now in place to travel and celebrate.
Swiftly, stationery and invitation studios as well as online invitation resources have cleverly composed “postponement cards” which are similar to save the dates while communicating your new message.
As well, if you have decided to move forward with a scaled-back version of your wedding, or a “micro wedding”, ease your guests’ potential concerns about safety. Clearly convey the measures you will take in order to ensure their well-being such as providing masks, hand sanitizer, hosting the ceremony and reception outdoors, and even a virtual celebration as options.
The Guest List:
Determining who is invited to the wedding has undoubtedly always been one of the most burdensome of the wedding planning tasks. Currently, the challenge of this exercise is more daunting than ever as couples are faced with very real circumstances in which they have to moderate the original guest list to accommodate a smaller, safer wedding.
You may have found yourself in a position where you have already sent out save the dates for your originally planned wedding and are now faced with down-sizing. Taking proactive measures to ensure the safety and good health of your friends and loved ones is completely understandable during these unprecedented times. There are certainly elegant ways to convey your message through phone calls or your wedding website. It’s best to avoid email so as not to strike an unintended and unwelcome tone.
An example to phrase this may include, “We have worked thoughtfully to design a meaningful and intimate celebration featuring the most important people to us. We ask that you respect our request to personally celebrate with our immediate family only. Thank you for your understanding and the support you have shown, as it is not lost on us.”
Your Wedding Registry:
Because the scale of your wedding has changed, it does not mean you have to forego your registry and it is not insensitive for you to do so.
Wedding registries have been very amenable to simply adjusting the date. Just remember that listing your registry on your wedding invitation (pre-Covid included!) is considered an etiquette faux pas. Guests typically find out about wedding registries through word of mouth or from a host/hostess of a bridal shower on that (separate) invitation.
Modern Wedding Etiquette for Wedding Guests:
Courtesy > Criticism
Comfort levels are relative and individual. Communicate yours and stay informed!
Understandably, while persevering through wedding planning, the couple has been faced with the minutia of details and questions. Acknowledging and responding to guests’ questions and concerns should be expected and gracefully answered by them to you.
The Guest List:
If you find yourself on the receiving end of a “Dear John” directive, I encourage you to tap into your sensitivity and understanding.
Similarly, consider your relationship to the couple and distinguish if:
- You are still on the guestlist – Is the decision to attend an advantageous one for you? Will you feel comfortable and confident enough with the provisions in place and are you healthy enough to attend?
- You are not still on the guestlist – Share in their disappointment and shift onward.
An example to phrase this may include, “We understand this isn’t something that you had originally planned, but we are overjoyed to share in your joy and raise a glass to you both from here!”
Wedding Registry and Gift-Giving:
Even though original plans may have changed, if you have been invited to a wedding, regardless of the parameters and capacity, you should send a gift. This does include if the wedding has been shifted to a more intimate celebration, a virtual celebration, and even if you cannot attend.
As always, the value of the gift should be solely determined by your budget, and your gift-giving gesture demonstrates your support of the couple.
Different, strange, and challenging. Planning a wedding during the COVID-19 pandemic can be very demanding, but always look for the silver lining on the life-changing occasion that you can truly revere.
Since exercising time-honored etiquette in the current global conditions would be impractical, the number one rule for modern wedding etiquette is to lead with respect and kindness. When exercising these sensibilities, we also lead with love.
And so with formalities and frivolity, I sign off to you with a wink and a smile.
Meet Lisa Lyons
The Mary Poppins of weddings & etiquette. Style Maverick & Arbiter of Good Taste. Luxury Wedding Planner & Etiquette Coach.
Learn More at www.lisalyonsevents.com