Wedding Etiquette - Beach Wedding Article

Wedding Etiquette

Wedding etiquette stems back through centuries of tradition, but much of it still holds today. Following the basic rules can really help keep eveything in order when making your plans.

Engagement

Engagement announcements should be sent out or posted in the local newspapers. Engagement parties parties are generally hosted and funded by the brides parents. Gifts are not traditionally given at the party, although close friends and family members can give gifts at another time/place.

Invitations and “Save a Date” cards

  • Timing: send out Save a Date cards to all guests 4 months prior to your island wedding to give them notice to make arrangements with work, family, schools etc. Follow up with formal invitations within 12 weeks of the actual wedding.
  • Wording: the wedding invitation will traditionally come from the brides parents since they would traditionally be the hosts of the wedding – island weddings are no different. However, modern times have changed the wording to adapt to times that see the grooms parents, or the engaged couple themselves hosting their own wedding. Full names should be used in the invitation, and dates should be written out in full. Hand written envelopes are considered to be more personal.
  • Kids – under no circumstances is it considered polite to state “NO CHILDREN” on your invitations. This is not the place for such a statement. Perhaps when you send “Save a Date” notices out to your guests you can also spread the word that your affair will be an “Adults only” one. Allow the spoken word to do the job for you but be prepared for the arrival of one or two little ‘uns, who’s parents just didn’t get it!
  • Registry notice – it is not considered good etiquette to add your registry details in with your invitations. An invitation to a wedding is not an invitation to buy the couple a gift, but an invitation to share in their ceremony of marriage, and of sacred vows. Spread the word of your registry to the most vocal in your wedding party, your more informed guests will do the work for you. Also spread the word for guests NOT to bring gifts to your island location in their luggage. This could incur additional costs to your guests if the gift is subject to importation duties in some islands.

Bridal Shower

Bridal showers are held by close friends or attendants of the bride. They can be informal parties or themed events and although traditionally are held for the bride to put her household together, men are invited to such events nowadays. Island Brides would be advised to hold their showers well in advance of departure for the wedding since you do not want guests to have to bring gifts into Island nations as part of luggage Not only is this cumbersome, but they might invoke duty payments to import the gift into the country!!!

Fun gifts are given at these parties, not too serious, and they are not mandatory. Your guests should be told this in advance so they don’t feel pressured into buying you gifts at every celebration for your wedding. A shower invitation should be very informal and addressed from the friends of the bride, maid of honour or bridesmaid – NEVER the mother. And remember that the tradition of the wedding shower is about an intimate gathering of friends, around a bride, to send her on her way into married life with love and gifts. To make her feel special.

Bear in mind that anyone invited to your bridal shower should also be invited to your wedding.

Rehearsal Dinners

Your invitations to rehearsal dinners should include all of the wedding party, all bridesmaids, groomsmen, spouses or fiancés of either, uncles and aunts, grandparents and whoever else is in your intimate group. Island weddings offer great locations for rehearsal dinners.

The Ceremony

The processional to the alter differs within each religion and obviously each ceremony site you choose. A typical Christian church processional is as follows: Groom and Best Man at altar – on the right. Processional Is: Ushers two-by-two Bridesmaids two-by-two Maid of Honor (centered) alone Ring Bearer (centered) alone Flower Girl (centered) alone (or with other flower girls) Father of the Bride and Bride (Bride on right arm of Dad) The bride's mother is always seated last and once she is seated no other guests should be seated using the center aisle. It is traditional to have equal number of bridesmaids as you would groomsmen lined up on either side of the alter.

Announcement Cards

Should be sent out the day of, or the day after the wedding ceremony by the Maid of Honour but addressed from the Bride and Groom. With Island weddings this could be tricky, we suggest waiting until you have returned home from your ceremony and honeymoon and sending your announcement cards out then.

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