Saturday (June 25) was the final day of the Clymer wedding celebrations. As many of you know from my wedding series on the blog, David and I were married in Hawaii on April 29. Obviously, we understood that not every person was able to make the trip to Oahu for a wedding celebration. Given that, we decided to throw a party in Maryland for those who were unable to join us at our special destination.
Some couples who choose a destination wedding prefer to give their family and friends two options for celebrating. In our case, we wanted to celebrate with as many people as we could. Thankfully, a larger than expected group did join us in Hawaii, so we were incredibly blessed. A second celebration back home was a must, even if we had a big group travel with us! David and I chose to throw a casual, “I Do BBQ” in a park near our home town. The park was right on the river, which was another must for us. (We love water… can you tell?)
David and I are SO fortunate to be surrounded by the most loving family and friends. Our parents, siblings, and wedding party stepped up and made this day just as special as April 29. To keep this event casual and fun, we went with a picnic/BBQ theme with lawn games, drinks, and lots of love from everyone. We learned a lot from our wedding experiences in the past year, so I wanted to share some wedding rules/etiquette that I learned with you all!
*These rules are in no particular order and are, in no way, mandatory. Remember, you are in charge of your own wedding. If you want to change the rules… I say do it! The wedding etiquette I learned/researched below were preferred by David and me. Again, you have the luxury of designing your own wedding the way you and your future person desire.
For the wedding guest:
- RSVP!!! This one is huge. I totally understand that, especially for destination weddings, sending a RSVP can be tough. Schedules change all the time and most people are hip to that. However, if you cannot make a 100% commitment (with an exception to unexpected plan changes like illness or a death in the family), just state your regrets. If more than one person in your household was invited to an event, make sure you tell them. One of our wedding guests sent in their RSVP without consulting their household. I was embarrassed when a member of that household asked me why they never received a wedding invite. It was awkward for me to say, “Uh… you did receive one. *Name* sent in the RSVP saying your household could not attend.” One more thing about sending in an RSVP…. do it for every event. If you are invited to the bridal shower, let the hosts know if you can make it. Just showing up (or not showing up without contacting the hosts) is rude and completely unacceptable.
- DO NOT contact the bride (sometimes not even the groom) on the day of the wedding. Listen, the bride and groom are most likely the best people to go to with wedding questions, I get that. The thing is… they are busy. Any questions you may have should be brought to the parents or even better, the wedding party. For our wedding, I provided a contact list for guests. It said, “Call anyone BUT THE BRIDE!” David was listed on there because he was comfortable taking calls throughout the day. I couldn’t tell you where my phone was on the day of the wedding. When I needed to talk to David, I borrowed my sister’s phone or my mom’s phone. I had many texts to read the night of the wedding from friends and family wishing me well, but I wished those were emails or Facebook messages. Personally, I wanted to stay off my phone as much as possible the weekend of the wedding. I still have unanswered texts in my phone from the day of the wedding. I was too busy and the time difference totally threw me off.
- “Unplug” your electronic devices. We did not have many guests who abused their phones during our wedding, but I have been to weddings where people were more interested in watching the wedding through their phone’s screen than their actual eyes. Put down your phone and enjoy the moment. I promise that the bride and groom will share images later. Live in the moment.
- Sharing photos is lovely… but, make sure the bride and groom give you the okay. We welcomed photo sharing! It was something we encouraged actually. Like the third rule listed states, though, enjoy the moment. Snapping photos is quick and easy, but the bride and groom may want to share photos from their special day online before anyone else. Ask them a few days before the wedding what they prefer if they did not clearly state their wishes ahead of time.
- Don’t wear white. I shouldn’t have to explain this. Don’t be Kelly Kapoor in the office as a guest at Phyllis and Bob Vance’s wedding. However, if you discuss with the Bride prior and she gives the approval… go for it.
For the happy couple:
- Don’t stress on the big day! I know… easier said than done. But seriously, what’s done is done. If something doesn’t go as planned, what can you do? Remember why you are getting married! For the love, not the party.
- Take mental snapshots. Many people told me this and I knew it was something that I couldn’t forget. I stepped back several times throughout the day and just took it all in. Something so simple… and it is the best advice I can share.
- Tip your wedding vendors. This is one that I didn’t understand, but apparently it is a thing. Why should I tip a vendor I paid for to do their job lol? I kind of still don’t understand to be honest. It is important and falls under “wedding etiquette.” According to Brides.com, tipping is “supposed to be expressions of thanks for especially good service.” That said, check out the article to learn more about tipping.
- Choose vendors you adore! If you have a family connection, but the vendor isn’t reliable, friendly, or the person you envisioned… say no. It is YOUR day. I know budget is important. That is a given. Don’t settle, though. David and I made this mistake, unfortunately. The good thing is… a hiccup in Hawaii isn’t really a hiccup at all. I’d rather a few stressful/bad moments in paradise than back home lol!
- Destination wedding? Prepare for rejection. Obvious, yeah… sure. There are several guests David and I were certain would attend our big day. Unfortunately, they sent their regrets. Totally okay and understandable! Just be ready for rejection, especially if the destination is far. The group that joined us in Hawaii was better than we could have ever imagined. I wouldn’t change a single thing about that. If people do not join you, do not get upset. Choosing to throw a second party back home can help put your mind at ease when dealing with the guest list.
Okay, that is enough for today. I could write tip after tip if I had the time (and the space). If you haven’t checked out the podcast David and I did about our destination wedding, check it out. We chat about our experience in a bit more detail. Happy wedding planning, everyone!
Completely unwarranted life lesson from a married woman #10: Make wedding decisions together! This is a day to celebrate you and your person. If he/she does not express interest in a particular aspect to the wedding, find one they will enjoy!