Bridal Rant #2: Wedding Etiquette for the “Well-Meaning” Family – or – The Amount of Your Gift Should be Directly Proportional to my Therapy Bills


From Cris: Raise your hand if you LOVED real bride-to-be Liz Lewis's first bridal rant? Well, brace yourself, y'all – She's baaack!

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From Liz: Ahh, nothing has the capacity to throw me into a 50-minute wedding planning rant like family.

Everyone says to keep in mind that your family REALLY means well, they just have issues cutting the cord/never got their dream wedding/really hate chiffon/whatever. However, as a fellow bride, I'm on YOUR side. So, I'm writing this rant for them. Feel free to send them the link (or if you're into a more passive/aggressive approach) post it on your FB page and hope they understand that it's directed at them (hint: they NEVER do).

And now – wedding etiquette suggestions for families and families-to-be:

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Image Courtesy of: Marie Claire

1. Don't announce major engagement/wedding milestones via social media unless the couple has already done so. It's easy – just check if they've said something on Facebook, their blog, etc. It's their news to share and while you might think you're only sharing the exciting news to your immediate friends and family – word travels quickly [Cris’s Note: This is SO true. The Boy and I phoned a handful of people to inform them of our quickie Alaska civil ceremony and the next day, there was a HUGE spike in visits to our wedding website]. No one wants to be the friend or family member who found out about the impending nuptials via Facebook… and it's certainly not going to build a lot of goodwill in your relationship with the couple if they have to scramble and notify people because you spilled the beans.

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Image Courtesy of: Canadian Listed

2. Remember that not everything MEANS SOMETHING. Your daughter doesn't want the porcelain bride dolls you've secretly been collecting? The couple isn't doing parent/child dances? Your third-cousin-twice-removed didn't make the final cut on the guest list? None of these mean that your child or child-in-law is trying to crap on your feelings (or said third-cousin). None of these are a personal attack. These don't mean that you've raised an ungrateful heathen.

Couples have to make a billion decisions during the wedding planning process and have to consider a wide variety of things – budget, venue capacity, timelines, trunk space, to name a few – that you probably haven't even thought about. Also, they're under a bunch of stress. So, cut them some slack. And regarding the bridal dolls, maybe they've been watching Hoarders and don't want to turn into that creepy chick with the doll hospital where her bedroom used to be (SERIOUSLY).

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Image Courtesy of: Design Babylon Interiors

3. Try to actually help when they ask for help. This is not your opportunity to steer the couple in the direction you want them to go. If they ask for help finding the right venue and have said they're on a tight budget, don't give them a list of places that charge $100+ per person. If they ask for help with the guest list because they're trying to include a few of your friends, don't send a 90-person list of everyone you've ever met [Editor’s note: Oh my God. Did you meet my mother?]. If they ask you to call and check on missing RSVPs, don't use that as your chance to add to the guest list because so-and-so won't make it. They'll end up having to shoot you down… and then we'll have to tackle issue #2 all over again.

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Image Courtesy of: Wedding by Color

5. When they're not asking for help, keep the suggestions to a minimum. Even the most anti-wedding couple has SOME sort of idea how they'd like their day to go. If your family member is a competent adult who has made at least a few important life decisions, they can probably handle thinking about things like room blocks, memorial flowers, and dollar dances all by themselves. And – I'm talking to you, moms – if your child has NEVER done exactly what you wanted them to do, are you REALLY surprised they're not happily taking all of your suggestions for their wedding? [Editor’s Note: Heh.]

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6. We would like to talk about things other than our weddings, including (but not limited to) our jobs, travel plans, home remodeling projects, other family members, the cats, current events, and so on. Everyone in our lives is likely asking about the wedding all the time. It gets old. Trust us, we will tell you if there's something exciting to share. If we don't, it's not personal. If you think so, go back to #2.

In the end, what matters is that two individuals are exiting some venue as a family. The rest? Just fluff. So, help when you're asked, and don't add to the craziness – because we might just have to pick your nursing home someday…