Modern wedding etiquette: dos and don’ts for your child’s wedding day
Once upon a time, people rarely strayed from tradition when it came to weddings. The bride’s parents paid for the ceremony and the mother of the bride was the most important guest.
But things have changed – and today, anything goes. With couples tending to get married later in life, they’re more self-sufficient and financially sound, enjoying greater independence with their wedding planning.
It’s important to recognise that some wedding etiquette is likely to have changed since your big day, so ensure you’re supporting your child as best you can with these wedding dos and don’ts.
DO work on your speech. Traditionally, the father of the bride would formally address the wedding guests, welcoming them to the reception and accepting the groom into the family. Things can be a lot less formal nowadays, but preparing what to say is always time well spent. Remember to throw in an embarrassing anecdote or two for good measure – it wouldn’t be a wedding speech without a cringing bride and groom!
DO help out with funds if you can. Whether it’s a little money you’ve saved up, or you’re considering using your credit card to help out, your child will be eternally grateful…
BUT DON’T feel pressured to help out financially just to follow tradition – it’s no longer a given that the parents of the bride pay for the wedding. Helping out by giving your time, support and creativity can be just as special. If you’re a baker, offer to make the wedding cake. If you’re crafty, help out with the invitations. Just don’t promise more than you can deliver – you don’t want to be up at 2am the night before hemming the bride’s wedding dress.
DO give the couple a sentimental gift. Whether it’s something traditional like a family heirloom, or a photo album from their childhood, they’ll appreciate the personal touch and treasure it for years to come.
DO get to know the in-laws – the big day will be even more significant if you’ve already struck up a friendship. Your child is likely to initiate this, but feel free to bring it up if they don’t. Suggest arranging a relaxed dinner to make the in-laws feel welcome and part of the family.
DON’T obstruct your child’s visions by being a stickler for tradition. If they want a cheese tower rather than a wedding cake, let it be. Remember that many marriages today take place outside of the church, and the happy couple may even opt for a wedding theme such as Woodland Wonderland or Festival Chic. This can mean outdoor ceremonies, photo booths and a buffet-style dinner – probably quite different to your wedding day.
DO express any desires you have as requests and recommendations, rather than orders. Be sure to explain why it’s important to you – is it a family tradition, or something that just means a lot?
DO offer your emotional support. Planning a wedding can be very stressful, so let the couple know that you’re there for them, no matter what they need. Chances are you’ve been through it yourself, and a little friendly advice is always welcome.
Please drink responsibly.