Ask Ann: Wedding Q & A

We are having a hard time with our guest list. There are many we want to invite, but we know they may be away or may live far away and we don’t want to imply that we are “looking for a gift.” How do we approach this?

It is best to not try to second guess your guests’ responses. Send invitations to all whom you would like to invite. They will be flattered you included them. Etiquette about gifts remains the same as ever. You are “obligated” to send a gift, only if you accept the invitation. Those who send regrets usually send a card or note with good wishes. They may send a small token gift if they so choose. Generally, you might expect about 75 percent of your local invitees to accept and about 35 percent of the non-locals to accept a wedding invitation.

My fiancé and I do not want to be “announced” or introduced at our wedding ceremony or reception. Yet, our clergyman and our band say it is customarily what they do. Is it necessary?

No. Simply tell your clergy you prefer to not have applause during a worship service, and ask him not to “introduce” you. (Your guests already know who you are!) Some couples have put this in their programmes as well, with such phrasing as “In order to preserve the sanctity of our wedding service, we respectfully request that there be no applause in the sanctuary.” As for the band, simply tell them you do not want introductions and do not fill out the part of the band questionnaire that asks for the names of the members of your bridal party.

As the groom, I would like traditional formal wedding attire for my groomsmen and myself. Would this mean tuxedos?

Yes, if the wedding were to be held after six o’clock in the evening, you would all wear black tie. Traditionally, the groom dresses like the other men in the wedding party and is distinguished only by his boutonnière, which is a flower that is the same as one the bride has in her bouquet. If it were to be an ultra-formal evening wedding, the men would all wear white tie and tails. If it were a formal daytime wedding, the wedding party men would all wear morning coats, sometimes known as cutaways.

What is the basic cost of a wedding today?

I have always maintained that a wedding, a year of college and a car have all cost about the same amount of money for about the past 40 years. Of course, it depends if one wants a formal country-club wedding versus a rented hall wedding, a year at an Ivy League school or a year at a state school, a Mercedes or a Hyundai. There are all kinds of levels in between. Thus the price can range from $15,000 to $40,000, and up from there, and down from there depending on many factors such as size, etc.

What are some ways to save costs?

Get married the week after Christmas or the week after Easter if you want to save money on flowers. Get married off-season at a resort area to save money on reception costs. Since it is the financial responsibility of the bride and groom and/or their families to lodge their attendants, ask friends to host them in their homes. That is the way it was done traditionally up until hotels and motels grew in popularity over the past 30 years. Ask a friend or relative with a nice automobile to serve as your limousine driver for the day. Get married at one o’clock (too late for lunch; too early for dinner) and have a light-fare reception. If you don’t want dancing, and wish to save money on a band, hire a classical guitarist or flutist to provide music.

On what side of her father does the bride walk down the aisle?

Keep in mind that traditionally the bride’s family sits on the left side of the ceremonial site. Traditionally she walks down on her father’s, or escort’s right arm. Thus when she reaches the altar, the escort or father of the bride does not have to risk stepping over her veil and train, possibly ripping it, in order to slide into his assigned pew on the left. He’s already on the left!

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