Saturday, February 22, 2014

Informal weddings should follow certain etiquette just as formal weddings do. Usually there aren't so many "rules" to abide by and the atmosphere is more relaxed, but respectful and polite etiquette helps make the day special.

Planning Informal Weddings

    Many people associate informal weddings with small, intimate gatherings. This may be the case for you, however the two don't always go hand-in-hand. For example, some couples may wish to include all their friends and family for a beach wedding. Adventurous couples may opt to exchange vows in the bowling alley where they met, on their favorite ski slope or in the middle of their favorite camping grounds. These weddings would typically be informal, but can include everyone the couple knows, or just the two of them, the officiant and a couple of witnesses. Either way, the bride and groom should hold the type of wedding they want.
    Planning an informal wedding isn't always less work or stress than a formal one, and the need for proper etiquette remains the same. For instance, officiants should always be held with respect, and should always receive a "tip" even if they say their service is free of charge. If you are hosting your wedding in the backyard of the home of a friend or relative, you should be grateful and respectful of their home. Include your parents and the parents of your soon-to-be spouse whenever possible.

Invitations and Guest List

    Invitations should be printed on less formal, thinner card stock. The wording of your invitations should be less formal as well. For example, "(host's names) wish to invite you to celebrate the marriage of (bride and groom's names)" or something along those lines. Leave out the Mr. and Mrs. titles as well. Your invitation is the first clue for your guests as to the formality of your wedding, which they will use to plan their attire for the big day.
    Invite everyone who is near and dear to both of you. If your mother and stepmother don't get along, but you are close to both of them, make sure they are both in attendance. Perhaps you could give your mother a "special" honor or recognition, and you might also consider entrusting someone such as the maid of honor or best man to keep an eye out for potential trouble. It's your day, so invite everyone you wish to have there. Proper etiquette would be to calmly sit down with your mother before the wedding and explain that it is your day and the guest list is up to you.

Reception and Food

    A receiving line is not necessary at an informal wedding. In fact, it would probably be out of place. Keep the atmosphere more like a social party and encourage guests to chat and get to know one another. Music can come from a compilations CD with your favorite music, instead of a DJ or band. Forgo expensive flowers, and decorate in homemade arrangements or less expensive lanterns and candles. The food can be as simple or lavish as you want, although you should probably avoid multi-course sit-down meals since they are more formal. Offer a buffet or barbecue for a "full" meal, or serve hors d'oeuvres instead. Candy bars or dessert buffets are perfectly acceptable for informal weddings. As a matter of fact, cake and punch work, too. You can serve any drinks you'd like, such as limiting it to lemonade, punch and soft drinks, or supply a keg if you desire. Having a bartender on hand is likely overkill for an informal wedding.

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