Post # 1
I was curious as to whether the rules of etiquette are more stringent in the USA than in the UK, whether our rules are different, or whether my circle just don’t follow them! Most of the wedding-related websites and forums I’ve come across are US-based, and I was really surprised to see some of the ‘rules’ which apparently must be followed, for fear of some kind of ostracism from your friends and family. Points in case:
Gift lists must never be sent with invitations. I’ve never been to a wedding where a registry card or just mention of the types of gifts which would be appreciated isn’t included with the invitation. Never once has anyone suggested it was rude. What was rude was my cousin only having stupidly expensive things in her registry.
Cash bars are apparently a massive no-no. It’s considered outrageous to expect your guests to pay for their own drinks. I’ve only ever been to one wedding with an open bar, where everyone was commenting about how generous it was as it must have cost a fortune! Every other one has had wine on the tables, maybe something fizzy before the main reception and something to toast with. Otherwise, it was never an issue that you’d pay for your own drinks the rest of the evening.
Am I alone here? Are there any other etiquette rules you had no idea your friends and family had breached before setting foot in the wedding blog world?
Post # 3
Well I’m UK based as well, I’m totally freaked out that all the etiquet books etc seem to be from the US as well. The exception to this rule (other than churh pamphlets etc) is the Dairy Book of Home Management.
This has become my etiquette bible!
In which they suggest you put a suggested gift list in with the invites (although having lived together for 7 years we did choose not too). However all of our friends did, and even my Aunt, who was marrying for the 3rd time and his a millionairess in her own right put a gift list in. In fact one of my H2B aunts phoned me up and shouted for a good ten minutes that I HADN’T put a gift list in…”How was she too know what to get?” You just have to look in Debehnams and John Lewis to see how kitted out they are for lists in invites.
Cash bars I think is an individual choice. I am having my reception at home, so we’ve done a massive booze cruise (also Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s and Morrisons have jubillee deals on champers, last night I spent 3k on Champagne in the local Tesco Extra , had to phone in advance but it was well worth it, the manager came down dressed as superman it was a wonderful experience). However my aforementioned Aunt’s wedding was 1/2 and 1/2, in a large society hotel she put a significant tab behind the bar, wine and champagne and OJ and Water free on tap. But when the bill at the bar was over, guests had to pay for themselves.
My H2B is a chef and used to arrange weddings. Most of the time it’s a free bar, but it depends on your guests, if you imagine you’re bar tab will reach epic proportions if you do this, put a bar limit. You can always extend the limit with the bar staff if you feel it’s run out too soon. The other option is what my Granfathers did at my parents wedding. My Maternal Grandfather, but a cheque behind the bar and told the staff to serve to that limit. My Paternal Grandfather, went to the staff behind the bar just before the reception, and put a cheque for 4x that amount next to it.
(They still over spent, but Paternal Grandfather covered it in the end)
Hope that helps
Post # 4
@Snoopadoop: The manager of Tesco dressed as superman? Was this to mark you buying 3K of plonk, or just because he was already in costume?!?
Post # 5
American Weddings are quite different to be honest- I got married in Ireland and there are a few differences-
We dont do save the dates
We dont do bridal showers (it would be considered rude to have a party just to receive gifts)
Cash Bars are the norm (dont try to have an open bar in Ireland- you’d be in Years of debt)
Weddings in Ireland can often run into the next morning (like 7am)
Cash Gifts are acceptable-many people dont have regestries- seems like gift-grabbing again
No rehersal dinner
No first looks/ engagement photoshoots
Couples are usually financially independent by the time they get married- would never usually expect a parent (either side) to pay for everything/anything- and never get married while still studying-
Diamonds definitely quality over size
erm- thats all I can think of for now
Thats all I can think of for now
Post # 6
100% with you on the whole ‘cash bar’ thing. I’ve never been to a wedding with an open bar, and it would strike me as extremely generous if there was one.
On the other hand it seems to be extremely bad form, to the point of being unheard of, in the UK (or maybe just in my circles) to make your bridesmaids pay for their own dresses, whereas on these boards in particular it seems pretty common.
Funny old world, isn’t it?
Post # 7
Phew, glad I’m not the only one!
@Snoopadoop: Your tesco shop sounds amazing! I’m also curious about the superman costume – I guess he thought it’d be cool because he was saving your day Unfortunately, our venue won’t allow us to bring in our own booze, or we’d have done the same. I think we’re just going to stick to having a few reception drinks and then a cash bar because it’s not really in our budget to do otherwise. I’m definitely planning to chat to the co-ordinator though, and see if we can come up with a couple of special cocktails and ciders (I’m a West country girl through and through!) on a special deal for our guests.
Post # 8
@bikukii: Yeah, I was shocked that it seems to be really common in the US for BMs to pay for their own dresses. Those things are not cheap! And the men’s suit hire too, and they don’t even get to keep those.
Post # 9
@cacamillis: Haha – love your ‘years of debt’ comment – couldn’t agree more! If there was an open bar for some of my uni friends, I don’t think I’d ever pay it off!
Post # 10
@bikukii: Oh yes thats true, may B/M offered to pay for her dress (we’re having a theme and she wants a dress she can use elsewhere) and I was What no it’s my job don’t be silly (then thought Wonderful great, thats saved me quite a lot, lol).
Button: I think he was already dressed as superman, I didn’t like to ask, it might be his normal Saturday outfit, lol
Post # 11
Also, I’d never heard of engagement photos before coming on here, and I had to Google ‘First Look’. Nor had I heard of Save The Dates before reading about them on this board.
Of course, as I’m Scottish, I can’t imgaine a wedding without kilts and a ceilidh.
Post # 12
Ah, I forgot, we also don’t traditionally have groomsmen. We do have ushers, though I’m not completely sure of the difference.
Post # 13
@bikukii: I’m going to a Scottish wedding this summer, and will experience my first ceilidh. No idea what to expect, so I’m looking forward to it!
Post # 14
@bikukii: Oh Engagment shots I think came from UK, certainly our family has always had engagement photos. We have them running back into the Victorian times. They are very very interesting.
Save the dates have also been popular for a while, my parents had the in 1981, and they were the norm then.
Post # 15
I am getting married in a few weeks and a friend kindly gave me an etiquette book on weedings which helped a lot.
We had a registry as all of the past weddings we had been to with the same guests/kind of guests had a registry included in the invitation.
I am not having a shower. It would be viewed as very very bad taste and I would feel completely uncomfortable asking people to “shower” me with gifts.
We are not having a pay bar. This would be hugely embarrassing for us, it would never be an option.
I think that the wedding process here is much less “bride”/”princess” centered, or maybe that is just our wedding. I would never dream of saying “It’s my day” or anything along these lines. I know my Fiance would be very hurt if I came out with something along these lines.
Interestingly I have a bridesmaid from the US who seems to think that I should be treating her like a slave up until the wedding?! She has been part of many weddings in the US and has even had to do a role called “Bride’s attendant”, so not a bridesmaid but someone who is supposed to follow the bride around and answer to her beck and call all day?! I was horrified when I heard about this. I would never, ever want someone in such a role. Or expect that my bridesmaids were supposed to help me with the wedding. I don’t want to impose on their already busy lives.
I also think that UK weddings are becoming much more like US weddings. You tend to see much more personalisation in UK weddings than in the past which kind of makes me cringe! Like “How we met” stories etc. (Each to their own).
We don’t send save the dates and the invitations are not styled and tend to be very traditional/standard. As in all the wedding invitations we have ever recieved had exactly the same wordings and format.
Oh lastly *MONOGRAMS* ?! This seems to be very common in the US and becoming more common here. Its not in our taste and I don’t think it would be viewed well by our guests.
Post # 16
Heh, maybe it’s just my mates then – we’re not massive traditionalists.
You’ll love it. There’s usually a dance caller in the band to tell those who aren’t familiar with the dances what to do. In my experience, any dance that requires the male to spin the female (which tbh is most of them) ends up as a competition to see how fast they can go and who can get the most spins in in the allocated time, so you can imagine it gets pretty messy. It’s great fun, though, and a good way to meet people as an icebreaker, as many of the dances are ‘progressive’, so you switch partners, or like ‘Strip The Willow’ where you work your way up a ladder of dancers, dancing with each in turn.
As I said – great fun!