Despite the fact that, in most ways, I’m actually quite old fashioned, I’ve had a hard time swallowing the majority of the wedding etiquette I’ve encountered. “I have to do what?? I don’t think so.” For me, the wedding is a very personal occasion, and if something doesn’t ring true or doesn’t seem like it will add to the day, I’m cutting it. Or… pleading to cut it, and then leaving it in only as an act of love for my fiance because it means something to him. Maybe it’s that I’ve spent too much time on Offbeat Bride, but I don’t adhere to traditional ceremony just for tradition’s sake. It has to mean something.
Now that the save the dates are in the mail, I am trying to get materials and final plans together for the invitations, and found it’s just not proper to include RSVP cards without postage. Inside, I was sputtering in protest. But… why? A good 3/4 or more of those people probably won’t mail them back anyhow! And we’re including an online RSVP option– which we’d prefer guests choose as it simplifies our lives too. The only reason we are including cards at all is for those relatives eligible for senior-citizen discounts who currently don’t own or even know how to use a computer. And yes, I have some. I have great grandmothers already well into their 90s, and short of unexpected illnesses, they will be coming. In fact, they might even come anyhow.
After some agonizing, I decided “so what if it’s ‘proper?'”It’s a waste to buy 100 stamps that will likely end up in the garbage. Either I can include the RSVP cards sans postage (assuming most will choose the online option anyhow) or I can include postage for the few I’m convinced will actually use the cards (the aforementioned great grandmothers, chiefly. Perhaps an eccentric uncle on my fiance’s side.) Or, perhaps even better, I can eliminate both postage and bitty little envelopes and provide a phone alternative. My fiance can easily set up a phone number just for that purpose through his company. So there– silly etiquette circumvented.
Some other traditions and etiquette I’ve cut or intend to cut:
- Option of bringing a guest: “And Guests” are limited to spouses and engaged couples. Those we personally know are invited by name, but there’s no need to have complete strangers present on such a personal occasion. This is more for my sanity and preserving the meaning of the day than for expense, but I’ve heard of this being a common choice in order to limit cost too. It might seem snooty and exclusive, but it’s really not about that. It’s just what’s best for the emotional tenor of the day.
- Flower girls and ring bearers: Rather than desperately search for small children to employ, we decided to just cut this one. There is one adorable girl at church that we’ve recently grown close to, but she’s very young, and sometimes very shy, and would likely have a hard time day-of. Not to mention the wedding is in January– it could be cold.
- No children: For some of the above reasons, we also decided not to have children present. We both love kids, but kids typically get bored at weddings, and their parents oftentimes are unable to enjoy the wedding themselves. If we had enough prospective child guests, we would just have a kids table and it would be fine, but we don’t. For whatever reason, there are only like… 5 children in the families we have invited. All others are teens or grown. The facility itself wouldn’t really work to hire a babysitter. In the end, it’s just easier to have the little ones stay home. They’ll likely have a better time.
- Dancing: Only one dance, and that only because I love my fiance. I do NOT like people watching me, and even less so when I have to “perform.” We aren’t really including dancing as an activity, I don’t enjoy dancing (unless we are all waltzing or some such, but I don’t think I can convince all my guests to take lessons) and I don’t approve of most modern dancing– or of the music that often accompanies. And the father daughter dance– sorry, but no. I conceded to my soon-to-be husband because it’s his wedding day too, and I love him, but I’m not terribly close with my father, and being that I hate dancing in general, it’s not happening.
- Walking down the aisle with my father: Altered “walking down the aisle” plans. Rather than having my father walk me all the way down the aisle and leave my mother to walk in with…someone (I don’t even know who she’s supposed to walk with) I plan to have both parents walk me down the stairs along with bridesmaids, then proceed to their seats together before the rest of the bridal party. Let’s hope my father doesn’t have a conniption fit over this. He’s not always open to alternatives.
- Isolation of bride and groom prior to the ceremony: Both for my sanity and for the sake of photo expediency, we are throwing this one out the window. Not terribly uncommon in the present day, but yet another change. Besides, have you seen some of the “first look” photos? So sweet.
- Highly formal listing of parents names in invitations: Our invitations are being handmade to fit our theme (yes– by me, once again. I know, I’m crazy) and the traditional wording of invitations just isn’t going to work. We will honor parents in the invitations, and I promise, they’ll be tasteful and classy, because I wouldn’t stand for anything less, but I am doing things just a little different. You’ll see.
Listing all those (and knowing there are likely to be others) really makes me feel like I am trying to overturn weddings in general, but I’m really not. I’m just trying to make choices true to our relationship and our needs, and leave out anything that doesn’t fit or that detracts from the day. I believe, as odd as my choices might seem to some of my more traditional family members, the day will be a good one in the end.