Dealing with Sensitive Wedding Issues, Part One

One could almost say that a wedding is an emotional battlefield. What should be filled with joy and happily ever after can also be one fine day for skeletons coming out of the closet. Weddings have a way of bringing out a lot of different family and friend dynamics, good and bad. But despite all of that, you are marrying the one person who makes your heart sing. So it's worth it.

Now how do you deal with certain sensitive wedding issues so you can still enjoy the engagement period? You are getting hitched to your best friend, so as your first task of almost-married teamwork, there are some things you can do to help keep it smooth sailing ahead, and Emily Post is helping us structure that with some tried-and-true wedding etiquette tips!

How to tell guests that the wedding is "adults only"...

Whatever the reason, sometimes a couple decides their wedding isn't kid-friendly, and that's okay! Having children at a ceremony or reception will change the dynamic, and so it's all a matter of preference. The best way to communicate that you and your to-be are having a grown ups only shindig is to first let your bridal party and your immediate family know so they can be your megaphone to others.

What happens if some still RSVP with their children? Emily Post advises:
Some parents do this in error, and others decide that you couldn’t possibly have meant to exclude their offspring. Either way, you’ll need to call to correct the situation. “Lisa, we are so happy that you and Alex are able to attend, but we’ve decided not to have kids at the wedding. We hope you both can still make it.”

Stick to your guns -- making exceptions for one couple is insulting to other guests who respected your decision. If there are couples you suspect may get upset or have trouble finding a sitter, call them as soon as you know that children won’t be invited -- even before the invitations have been sent -- to alert them. By doing this you leave no room for doubt when their invitation arrives, and you also give them as much time as possible to make arrangements.

If you have a lot of out-of-town families attending your wedding, consider renting a hotel room where your room block is and hiring a wedding day babysitter as a courtesy (and let your guests know that gratuity for that hardworking sitter is their responsibility!). You can relay this information on your wedding website or via the good ole family tree.

How to address divorced parents on stationery...

Depending if you are having a formal or more informal wedding will depend on the wording of your wedding invitations, but the key is who is hosting (or chipping in for the wedding). Emily Post comes to the rescue with both formal wedding wording and informal wedding wording, but Bellafigura breaks it down even further with specific invitation wording examples for divorced parents.

For more advice for planning out the wedding day with divorced parents, you can look at this quick advice on receiving lines and walking down the aisle.

How to delegate financial contributions for the wedding...

The modern wedding landscape is a diverse and tricky one depending on your family dynamics, your cultural traditions, and your current life situation. Many couples are paying for the wedding themselves, but there are many who have family who expect to be part of your wedding day.

Between you and your love, discuss where you stand financially with the wedding. Money isn't easy to talk about, especially when it comes to asking for it, so you both need to be on the same page. After that, gather up your closest loved ones for dinner and have an open conversation to gain insight into their thoughts. It helps to have a list prepared of things you need for the wedding; that will be a starting point for your wedding budget planning. If you are more traditional, things are laid out a bit more clearly, and so you will want to read Emily Post's breakdown of the traditional wedding expenses by person.

How to communicate and manage the +1 requests...

The wedding invitation is the ultimate in who's invited, and it's why that the addressing on the envelope is so key! But it really couldn't be better said than by Ms. Post herself:
Wedding invitations are not negotiations; the inner envelope is the final word on who exactly is being invited, and the names listed there are the only guests included in the invitation. (The one exception is when the phrase “and family” or “and children” appears, implying that any and all family members residing under the same roof are included.) If you run into this problem, it’s completely acceptable to contact the overzealous respondents and explain that the size of your venue (or spending limit) won’t allow you to add extra people to the guest list. It’s not okay for guests to ask you to make exceptions, so it won’t be rude in the least to stand by your guest list.

Remember at the end of the day, people still will be people. Do the best to your ability and act in kindness. Keep your priorities at the top and keep smiling at the thought of seeing you two at the altar. And food always brings people together. :)

We will see you again next month for Part Two of "Dealing with Sensitive Wedding Issues!" If you have a question or need advice on an issue you're dealing with, please drop us a line, and we will include it our next edition!

Photos are by Sarah Street Photography. To see the entire feature and full vendor credits, head over to our farm-to-table wedding brunch inspiration.