The flexibility and creativity of a modern wedding, plus the complexity of family life throws up a lot of dilemmas for a couple planning their wedding. In this second blog on wedding dilemmas, we seek to address several more potential tricky areas of wedding etiquette.
Do we need an order of the day?
Many couples may ask this question if they are either on a budget or if they are not getting married in church. Our response would be that you do need something that sets out the timetable for the ceremony.
The reason for this is twofold: firstly the order of the day lets guests know what to expect from the ceremony – many may be unfamiliar with the type of service you have selected; secondly the order of the day is a memento of the day.
If you are on a budget you only need to print a limited number – one per couple for instance, and they can be very simple.
If you need advice on wording an order of the day, I am currently preparing a more detailed blog on the subject, due for posting in the next couple of weeks.
How do we deal with dietary requirements of guests?
Asking for guests’ dietary requirements can open a real can of worms. What you need to find out is what is a requirement and not preferences. With food you can never please everyone, but you would expect guests who are on diets or who are merely choosy to be flexible for the day.
However if guests are vegetarian/vegan, have allergies or have religious dietary requirements you should be able to cater for them. The best way to approach this is to discuss with your caterers what they can do for you; they may well offer many options you had not even considered, such as gluten-free and diabetic as a matter of course.
Because my daughter has a nut allergy, I would never choose a menu that has nuts in every dessert selection for instance.
If you are having a buffet to give options, make sure each dish is clearly marked with what it is, nuts, fish and sea food are common ingredients in buffet dishes and are relatively common allergens, so you need to help your guests make the choice
You should ask for dietary requirements as part of your RSVP as this gives you plenty of time to work through the responses and discuss options with your caterer.
How do we organise the seating arrangements?
Unless you are having a very small wedding we would always recommend a seating plan. This makes it easier for the guests to feel comfortable as they don’t have to make a mad dash to save seats with (or away from) certain members of the party. It means that you can manage where people sit, which can be particularly important if you have divorced parents.
The table plan means that you will need table numbers or names. Make sure they are big enough to see from a distance, for elderly relatives and people like me who don’t like to admit to wearing glasses, this is a real help.
You may also want specific place cards too: these can really help if there are a number of menu options or dietary requirements – the veggies can have a different coloured place card for instance to make it easier for the waiting staff. If your guests have had to order a menu choice in advance, chances are they’ll have forgotten what they ordered, so the place card can remind them.
Weddings are generally becoming more informal and more inventive, so a lot of etiquette that has developed over the years is being thrown out of the window. In planning a wedding you need to remember that the day is for you and a huge part of that is your guests’ enjoyment. By keeping them well informed throughout the day and showing consideration towards them, you will help them do this.