Sunday, January 3, 2010

Wedding Questions - traditional and simple is better

A New Year and congratulations to all our new Brides! I have had quite a few phone calls regarding the reception, the rehearsal dinner and flowers. Where to spend the hard earned money, who pays for what and who should be invited to which.

My favorite reference book is: "The Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette." It is complete, covering all aspects of etiquette from weddings to family behavior to funerals and always verges towards the more formal. When in doubt, always verge toward the formal and more traditional because you will always be correct.

Answers to questions:

1. Question: Who pays for the Rehearsal Dinner and who is invited?

Answer: Traditionally, the Groom's parents pay for the Rehearsal dinner. To be very clear, the Rehearsal dinner is for out-of-town guests and the bridal party ONLY. The original purpose was to feed the out-of-town guests since they have traveled a long way to attend the wedding and to feed the bridal party after the Rehearsal at the Church.

In recent years, the Rehearsal Dinner has become a "Free-for-all" with slide show presentations and the entire wedding guest list. Not necessary.

2. Question: Should the Groom's Parents help pay for the flowers for the reception?

Answer: NO. The Bride's parents traditionally pay for the entire reception. Scale back on the flowers. No one will remember the flowers the next day. Try potted and hanging plants from a grocery store or big box retailer with some homemade bows that can be taken home or donated to a retirement home or hospital after the reception.
Home picked magnolia leaves (if available) are a nice alternative and a space filler. If one is lucky enough to have a few magnolia flowers, they are SO fragrant and can be placed in a simple bowl of water on a few tables. Flowers are a waste of money!
Spend the money instead on good liquor for the bar!! People remember and appreciate good liquor at the bar. Nothing worse than cheap bourbon at a reception! Receptions are also less expensive (and more fun) than sit down dinners. Freedom to mill around and speak to whomever one wishes as opposed to getting stuck at the "Singles" table. Freedom to nibble on whatever "heavy hors-d'oeuvres" one wants as opposed to getting stuck eating a heavy 3 or 4 course meal.

In this new economy and society, simpler is better. Simple, small, thoughtful and elegant, like Chanel.