Gifts and registry
Many couples prefer cash as wedding gifts, but some question whether it’s appropriate to ask for money. Experts say such requests can be tastefully done.
“While I don’t think there are strict rules anymore for registries, I also don’t think it is appropriate to ask for cash only without providing a reason,” says Christina Sorrells, sales coordinator with the Millhouse Group bridal registry. “Guests still want to know what they are contributing to. If the bride and groom want cash because they are saving for a down payment on a home, that’s something guests can relate to.”
Bringing a beautifully wrapped gift is preferable for some guests. Sorrells says to remember that an established and/or older couple have no need for the stereotypical toaster and likely prefer something with sentiment.
“Must-haves make me think of staple items that are heirloom quality – a quality set of knives or a set of pots and pans,” Sorrells says. “Our products actually have a lifetime warranty and some have a double lifetime warranty. Something that couples can use forever and not have to replace is important. I have seen online registries that you are able to link your product wants and travel wants all into one site.”
As for “going rogue” as a gift-giver, Sorrells says, “if they have a registry, unless you are handmaking a gift or passing down a family heirloom, it’s best to stick to the registry or give cash.”
Wedding party duties
The challenges of a long-planned celebration are often eased by wedding party friends, but don’t overwork them, says Ashley Farthing-Porto, owner of Farthing Events in Tulsa.
Most people assume when they are asked to be in a wedding that it comes with a hefty price tag. That can be true for some, but etiquette says otherwise, she says. A wedding party is made up of close family and friends, and it is important to be considerate. It’s appropriate to ask for help stuffing and stamping invitations, preparing welcome bags and decorations, and attending a dress fitting. Give wedding party members specifics about attire and state clearly who will pay for it.
It is not appropriate to ask wedding party members to attend every single shower and party or to expect them to throw those parities … unless they specifically volunteer. It’s never OK to ask them to write thank you notes or act as your staff on the big day.
Thank these special people with personalized gifts, Farthing-Porto says. Thoughtful touches, like a set of monogrammed coasters or custom stationary, can express your gratitude.
Common sense applies for both the couple sending invitations and the potential guests. Etiquette experts agree that timely consideration is ideal because RSVPs help with budget planning.
Email, digital and social media options exist, but use technology as additions to, not in lieu of, traditional invitations sent via conventional mail.
To optimize results, send invitations eight weeks before the big day with an RSVP date three to four weeks before the wedding. Send “Save the Date” notices for a destination wedding nine months in advance with an RSVP date two months ahead of the day.
For all invitations, consider clarifying RSVP with a sentence such as, “The favor of a reply is requested by …” and the specific date prominently displayed.
More information can be found at thespruce.com.
Indoor and outdoor venues
Timing is everything, so book your event space at least a year in advance, says Catina Johnson, sales manager for Salt and Surrey Catering, the catering partner at the OKC Zoo, which has year-round indoor and outdoor flexibility.
Claremore’s Pecandarosa Ranch is another facility with indoor and outdoor options. Head coordinator Savannah Riley and staff have contingency expertise with tents, space heaters, fans, backup canopies and other fickle weather needs. Pecandarosa’s event center has oversized doors around the building that open onto spacious patios. This type of multipurpose facility accommodates both indoor and outdoor experiences.
Dress to impress
Putting the best foot forward is always in style for wedding guests’ wardrobe. Here are some suggestions to match the type of expected clothing.
“Cocktail” implies well-dressed, often in darker colors, like the proverbial little black dress for women and dress pants, dress shirt, sport coat and optional tie for men. “Garden party” or “beach formal” is a signal for women to accommodate outdoor surfaces with wedges or flats and consider summer dresses and light hues. “Black tie optional” lets a man know that a tuxedo or a dark suit with tie is appropriate. “Black tie” means a tuxedo with a cummerbund for men and ladies in evening gowns and cocktail dresses.
Guests show respect by considering the couple’s color scheme and the weather, and, most of all, not wearing shades of white. Jeans, T-shirts and shorts should only be worn if they’re explicitly stated as acceptable.
Go to weddingshoppeinc.com or theknot.com for more information.
Proposing at someone else’s wedding
Love is in the air at a wedding … but it’s not OK to propose to one’s beloved at the event, even with the bride and groom’s permission. Most experts, including Ryan Dubree of Complete Weddings and Events in Tulsa, advise against it.
“There is a wedding taboo about this primarily because that takes attention away from why you are attending the wedding in the first place,” Dubree says. “Even as traditions start to fade from our modern sense of what a wedding should look like, this is still a hot subject, so even with permission, I wouldn’t personally do that. And a large number of people will share a similar discomfort watching someone propose to their lover at a friend’s wedding.”
Thank you notes
Writing thank you notes is expected for presents and experts advise writing them within two weeks of receiving gifts. It’s fine to send them before the wedding if gifts are received then.
Multiple-event attendance also requires separate thank you notes to guests, regardless of whether there were multiple gifts. The adage of having a year after the wedding to send notes isn’t advised; three months after the wedding day is the latest acceptable response.
Speeches and vows
Memorable marital vows take planning. Joe Mathis, a partner at RumbleDrum, an event planner in Tulsa, encourages couples to venture beyond traditional vows with original pledges of troth by seeing themselves after 25 years of marriage. Avoid clichés and craft meaningful phrases for long-lasting impact.
The movies make wedding speeches look effortless, but these toasts and testimonials require dedication and consideration. Mathis says etiquette varies but advises some traditional guidelines: the parents speak during the rehearsal dinner; the rehearsal dinner or wedding party luncheon is appropriate for the bride and groom to express gratitude; and the best man and maid of honor toast the couple at the wedding reception.
Some couples prefer all speeches in an intimate setting, such as a rehearsal dinner, while others invite other family or friends to speak – perhaps even every member of the wedding party. Each speech should be clear, no longer than three minutes and void of inside jokes, embarrassment or risqué behavior. In general, prepare, rehearse and aim for authentic warmth and brevity.
For those lucky enough to have a honeymoon, duration is a consideration. Tamara Horrell, honeymoon and destination wedding specialist for Warren Place Travel, says a short honeymoon or “mini-moon” is an alternative for couples without time or funds.
Still, weeklong honeymoons are what most couples choose and they tend to want a full immersion in local culture and amenities. The destination wedding trend continues and many couples elect to combine their wedding with a honeymoon, especially at resorts such as Sandals that offer complimentary weddings.
Recent national honeymoon trends are exotic, less-traveled tropical destinations while favored hotspots for Oklahoma couples are Caribbean beaches, with relatively easy air travel from Tulsa or Oklahoma City.