Ask Ann: Bride Etiquette

Dear Ann,
We have set our date for our wedding for 9/10/05 and I have a question. Is it necessary (or just a good idea) to send “save the date” cards or should we just send them for people coming from out of the state? Is it OK to do by e-mail?

Ann: Yes, do it immediately (yesterday!), for everyone, not just out of staters. With only six months to go, do it by e-mail if possible and send notices by U.S. Mail to those not online. It can be as simple as a postcard or a phone call. Blut these days, with everyone booking up so rapidly, a “save the date” notice is a must. All you need to put on it is:

Save the Date!
The wedding of
Jane Smith and Jon Doe
September 10, 2005
A formal invitation will follow in the summer.

Dear Ann,
We want to do a simple ceremony and are not having a large wedding party. Does the maid of honor walk down the aisle alone because the best man is standing with the groom?

Ann: Yes, for the processional, traditionally, any and all of the women in the wedding party walk down the aisle alone (or in pairs with other bridesmaids if you are having, says, 20 bridesmaids). The bride is usually escorted by her father or close male family member.

Traditionally, the women are never paired up with the men during the processional. However, after the ceremony, then comes the recessional and that is when the women pair up with the men and walk back down the aisle, symbolizing the marriage that has just taken place.

Dear Ann,
My 13-year-old niece will be my junior bridesmaid and the groom doesn’t have anyone for a junior groomsman, so does she walk by herself?

Ann: Yes, it is fine for her to walk alone during the recessional. Yet, she may also walk back in the recessional with an usher/groomsman if you have an “extra man” who is not paired up with a bridesmaid, even if he is older than she.

I also have two nieces who I want to include in the wedding. Can they both be flower girls?

Ann: Yes, just be wary of their ages. If they are between age 5 and 9, they should be OK. But, if much younger, it can be hard on some kids and they may “react.” Also, ask them ASAP, as you have only six months to go!

Dear Ann,
I am thinking of having my mother as my maid of honor because I do not have a sister of close cousin, and did not want to choose between my two very good friends. Also, my mother is my best friend.

Ann: You have another option. You could have two maids of honor so you would not have to choose between your two good friends, and then your mother could retain her role as hostess and mother of the brides, which is a very important role that only she can fill.

Ultimately it is a decision between you and her. Having your mother as matron of honor may also mean making decisions about her attire. Many women don’t feel comfortable in bridesmaid-dress styles that are suited to younger women.

Dear Ann,

Our wedding reception will be over at 5 p.m., so what do we do to entertain our guest after?

Ann: Having nothing afterwards is fine. However, here are some options if your parents want to host a gathering while you two newlyweds take off for some alone time:

1. Each set of parents could have their own party. Your parents would have the guests from your side and the groom’s parents would have the guests from their side back to their respective houses for light fare.
2. The parents can all get together and arrange a simple post-reception party for all guests at some nearby location or at one of their homes.
3. Find a local pub that is open, but will not be terribly crowded at 5 p.m.-6 p.m., and tell everyone to meet there. This usually draws the younger crowd. People order snacks, food and drink, just as they would if they were meeting up for a night of fun, so no organization is involved except to perhaps give the pub owner a heads up that there might be a large group showing up around 6 p.m.

Dear Ann,
What are some of the considerations or details I should check out regarding limousines beyond what is on the contract?

Ann: Check on the color of your vehicles. The traditional limo is black, not white. (You wouldn’t see a president of the United States is a white limousine.) White became popular in the 1980s, but if one is a purist, one may prefer black.

Ask if the chauffeur is attired in livery (traditional) or in a tux (modern).

Be sure to get protective child car seats if any young children are in the wedding party.

Make sure you want their offerings. Most limo companies offer champagne when the couple reaches the vehicle after the ceremony, but many question that for two reasons:
1. It is awkward for the couple to drink in front of guests in the parking lots, as those guests cannot join them in a drink. (The chauffeur only brings enough champagne for the couple.)
2. If a church is involved, many question the appropriateness of imbibing alcohol in front of a house of worship.