Wedding Etiquette for the Parents of the Bride and Groom

Two words: In-laws; for both the bride and groom. As you plan to tie the knot and share your entire lives with one another, keep in mind that your families will be intertwining, which means you both will be having a new set of parents (sometimes two new sets)!  InsideWeddings gave great advice on how to approach and include your parents and new in-laws up to big day! Reaching each other: Woohoo! You’ve announced your engagement to your families and friends, but now what?  Traditionally, the groom’s mother would call the bride’s family to arrange a get together and celebrate.  Nowadays, your announcement is much more important that who does what; you’re getting married!  So it could be the groom’s family, the bride’s family, or as a couple you and your groom can invite both side’s of the family to a gathering where everyone can meet, congratulate, and welcome you and yours to the family!

Money Matters:  Financials are always a very personal and sensitive subject, so proceed with caution. Traditionally the bride’s parents paid for  majority if not all of the day of wedding day arrangements and the décor as well as the engagement party.  Traditionally the groom’s parent’s paid for everything that leads to the wedding day with a few additional décor costs "(the rehearsal dinner, the bride’s engagement and wedding rings, the marriage license, and officiant fee, and the flowers)."

Today, wedding expenses and finances are divided up in any way that best fits everyone’s budget. It important though to give everyone notice prior to discussing the finances of your wedding. As the bride, who wants only the best for your big day, keep in mind that they are supporting you and you may need to compromise with some of their wishes.  Never expect someone to financially support your big day, be grateful for those who can and those who can't, either way you will be with the ones you love.

Lines of Communication: After your parents meet your future in-laws, encourage them to communicate directly with one another! This will make planning and coordinating with both sides of the family much more simple and fewer questions for you to answer!

Proper Attire: Your mom and mother in law will of course want to look fabulous on your big day. Traditionally the mother of the groom will ask the mother of the bride what she plans to wear, giving her the option to choose first. Regardless, your mothers should wear their personal preferences; but colors and styles that complement one another, and the wedding colors are always a plus!

Roles on the Big Day: On the day of the wedding, your parent's and the groom's parents should act as hosts throughout the day. They should all be included within the procession at the ceremony and greet guests at the reception. Your parents and in laws should also prepare to give a toast as well (usually father of the groom at the rehearsal dinner and father of the bride at the reception).  This will be a very happy day for them as well, so be sure they enjoy, have some bubbly, and celebrate with all the guests.

Wedding Tip Tuesday: Invitation Etiquette - Plus Ones

The topic of plus ones comes up so often, I decided to explain the major rules when inviting guests to your wedding. When are you required to allow a guest to bring a plus one? How do you address the invitation for plus ones? Are you supposed to allow guests to bring a date? These are the questions that brides ask all the time, and I have the answers for you.

Who should I allow a plus one? Etiquette states that you must let your guest bring their significant other if they are married, engaged, or living together. Not only is it proper etiquette, but it is common courtesy to want your guest to feel comfortable on your special day, celebrating with you and the one they love.

What if a guest isn't married, engaged, or living with someone? As a couple, you and your groom can decide where you want to draw the line in the sand, when deciding who will be given a plus one.  Examples of some rules could be:

  • Only allow guests to bring their significant other if you have met him or her
  • Allow dates if they have been together for a set number of years (choose a number and stick to it)
  • Allow anyone who has a significant other to bring him or her

Whatever rule you decide on, make sure you stick to it. Bending the rule for some guests can cause more problems than it's worth and hurt the feelings of others.

How should I address the invitation to whom I am inviting? If you intend to allow your guest to bring a date, make sure to have your guest's name first, and their date's name should go next. If you know their name, it is expected to write it on the invitation. It is always preferred to write the name of their plus one, rather than write "and guest".

The invitation dictates who is invited. The way the invitation is addressed tells the guest who is invited. For instance, if you address the invitation "Mr. and Mrs. Jackson" you intend on inviting two people, whereas if you address the invitation "The Jackson Family" you intend to invite  their entire immediate family. It is important to remember, however, that whoever is omitted from the invitation is assumed to be not invited. For example, "Ms. Sarah Jackson" would mean only Sarah is invited, whereas "Ms. Sarah Jackson and guest" would clearly let Sarah know she is welcome to invite a date.

When you and your groom are going through your guest list, remember these helpful etiquette tips to help keep the decision making easy and stress-free. You have to remember that this wedding is about the two of you. In the end, a plus one shouldn't be taking the place of a guest that does mean something to you, and wants to be there to celebrate your special day.

Also, I wanted to point out that if you are looking to get invitations or any stationery made, one of my favorite vendors is Jen Simpson of Jen Simpson Design. She is the designer of all gorgeous invitations you saw on this post! Be sure to check her out on Facebook and Etsy as well!