Being from the South, I grew up sitting at the breakfast table watching my grandmother do her crossword puzzle, while I read the “funnies” and the etiquette column.
Fast forward to my late 20s and I was engaged. What an amazing chance to put all of those lovely etiquette lessons I read over sugared cereal with my Gran to the test. There was only one problem—we only had 5 months to plan our wedding. Our international/destination/fiancé’s working 15 hours a day/living in a random city with no family or bridal party/holy-cow, how-in-the-heck am I going to pull this off wedding?!?
With such a short time frame to plan, we had to make this wedding work for us, regardless of what etiquette or tradition deemed as acceptable. After all, it was our wedding. Here’s a few of the biggies where we threw “what you should do” out the window:
Emailed Save the Dates
We got engaged at the end of April and wanted to plan an October wedding. By the time we found a venue, it was about 4 1/2 months until our wedding day. Etiquette says for an international or destination wedding…ours was both…to send your save the dates about a year in advance. Ha! That clearly wasn’t happening. Rather than mailing our save the dates, which could take a month or so to reach our guests, we decided to email them. Being the southern girl that I am, I didn’t want to just send a plain-jane-normal email to everyone. Luckily we found Paperless Post. What a find! This website has gorgeous online stationary to cover just about any occasion—weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Although etiquette “says” you should mail your save the dates by such-and-such date, that just didn’t work for us. Emailing a beautiful save the date did, so we ran with it!
Email / Web RSVP
As our wedding was on such a tight time frame, and we had invitations going to 10 different countries, it made no sense to provide traditional RSVP cards and pre-stamped envelops. I hemmed-and-hawed over this once the whole time we were designing our invitations, as it is definitely considered bad form to not have RSVP cards. At the end of the day, it just wasn’t going to work on our time frame or with our guest list. We had set up a wedding website, which although I find pretty cheesy, with a destination wedding, it was uber-useful for getting information to our guests. (And as a huge plus, www.wedding.com offers an UH-MAZING photo app that allows all of your guests to upload photos from your wedding to your website…and, they all go up in chronological order. So cool!) Again, we bucked etiquette and provided our guests with a url where they could RSVP, make their meal choice and even make song requests for the night of the wedding. In the end, it worked beautifully!
There is a fine line between tacky and tasteful when it comes wedding registries. Our inter-continental relationship and the logistics of the wedding posed a challenge for any wedding gifts that we’d receive. We wouldn’t be able to bring them back to New Zealand, and due to cost, it would be impractical for our non-Kiwi guests to mail gifts to NZ. After reading through countless discussion board about registries vs. asking for money vs. setting up an account for a big gift, and seeing many opinionated posts, we decided to heck with it, a traditional registry would not work for us, at all.
Saying we love to travel is an understatement. We fell in love while abroad and since then have taken every opportunity to wander and see the world. Honeymoon registries kept popping up in our radar, and if we were being honest, we couldn’t think of a better way to start our marriage than taking a trip together, relaxing and making more memories. After a bit more research, we settled on Honey Fund, as it allowed our guests, regardless of their country of residence to make a donation. Plus, we were able to itemize the different activities we hoped to do on our trip and present them in a familiar gift registry sort of way.
Being from the South, I am a huge believer of etiquette and tradition, often finding myself cringing at some of the choices couples make regarding their big day. When all is said and done, this is your wedding, and you have to do what works for you and for your relationship. Respect traditional etiquette, but think of it as your mum or your best friend making a recommendation with all of the best intentions. If it doesn’t work for you, be creative and find something that does! How have you pushed the boundaries of etiquette and tradition with your wedding plans?