Modern Proper Wedding Etiquette

In this age of high tech communications, a modern wedding can make use of modern proper wedding etiquette. Just don't forget your old-fashioned manners!

"Email is a terrific tool for reaching lots of people quickly," says Anna Post, great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post and a spokeswoman for the Emily Post Institute. "But if the wedding is formal, it deserves paper invitations. Even with the movement toward green weddings, there are terrific options for using recycled paper and soy inks to create a wonderful keepsake of the wedding."

With modern proper wedding etiquette using e-mail can be appropriate for "save the date" notices and invitations to informal gatherings such as showers and bachelor parties, or for sending messages to acknowledge the delivery of gifts. However, you must always follow up with handwritten thank you notes.

Technology is also useful in modern proper wedding etiquette for informing guests about lodging and restaurants. You may put an email address on your invitations as an easy way to get RSVPs, but remember that some guests may not use computers (yes, those people do still exist).

Of course you will want your guests to turn off cell phones during the ceremony. You might print an advisory in your wedding program or post a sign at your guest book. If you want to put some authority behind that request, have your officiant make the announcement before the ceremony begins.

A wedding website is a good way to keep distant friends and relatives involved. Keep the site simple and tasteful and don't attempt to chronicle every moment of your relationship. You may post a link to your gift registry, but make it small and discreet. You don't want to be screaming "I want...."

Divorce can bring many problems into the mix. If the parents of either the bride or groom are divorced and don't get along, make sure they know that you are counting on them not to spoil your important day. Hopefully their concern for your happiness will trump their negative feelings toward each other. If one of them has a new spouse that might cause stress, you might want to consider asking that person not to come. Tough situation, but it might be necessary.

You may seat both parents in the front row with siblings or other relatives or friends between them or seat your mom on the front row and your dad on the row behind her. They should be separated during the receiving line also and seated at different tables during the reception.

If you have been raised by a step father it is permissable to have him walk you down the aisle. Or you can be escorted and given away by both your father and step father. I recently attended a wedding where the bride had her mother give her away because she didn't want to hurt either father or step father.

If it is a second marriage for either the bride or groom, it is permissible to include your children in the ceremony. In fact it is a very good idea to let the children know that they are a big part of this new relationship. If possible all of the children's grandparents should be invited. However, it is not usually a good idea to invite ex-spouses. If you choose to do that, however, invite them to bring a guest and seat them with people they know. Do NOT dance with the ex! That's just a little over the top!

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