#178 Wedding Etiquette and Protocol


January 15th, 2020

1 hr 16 mins 18 secs

Your Hosts
Special Guest

About this Episode

Julian Leaver joins us today to talk wedding etiquette and answer some burning questions about the best way to plan, budget, and more.
Wedding couples usually face their biggest challenge immediately after the excitement of their actual engagement wears off. They now know what needs to be done, but the how is not as certain. Julian Leaver’s expertise is in applying practical techniques to the basic tasks laid out for most couples on their standard wedding checklist.

Julian’s background in the wedding world gives him the perfect breadth of experience.

Hosted by The Dapper Diplomat is Julian’s medium for providing the skills that wedding couples need in-between the checklist and the chapel. He also speaks to the event community and conducts workshops for some of the nation’s finest brands to elevate communication, dining, business and social skills.

Big Takeaways
Most of the time, people overthink the guest list! There are so many factors that play into the guest list, there is no 100% right answer. When things are getting crazy and confusing, return to the two of you (couple). It is your wedding, no one else’s.

You should tip. Julian’s advice is you should only tip vendors who are present on the day and remain the entire time. The drivers should be tipped if they are not already tipped. Hair and make-up should be tipped. You can use tipping to be proactive. Tipping the wait staff on the front side can be quite a different experience than tipping them at the end. For the hotel staff, gratuity is typically already included.

To invite children or to not invite them? This is a spot where everyone has an opinion. The standard, with children vs none, is the invitation. If you are planning to not invite children, you should preemptively tell your guests so they understand where you’re coming from. You’ll have an opportunity to explain the factors to them. Always do this in person!

Don’t overthink the registry. It’s your wedding. Make the decision, move on, and don’t worry.

When it comes to seating charts with divorced parents, complicated situations, have an in person conversation. It’s hard, but it will relieve the stress that can easily build when it goes untouched. Remember your guests are adults. Your parents are grown adults. It’s easy to revert to the role of child parent. But remember it is an adult to adult conversation.

Make sure that you build in buffer time. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the timeline, and then you can miss the real magical moments in the in betweens.

Q: How bad does it look to show up with pre-cut cake and disposable plates/forks, if bad at all?

A: It comes back to communication. Let your venue know you are bringing cake, ahead of time! Get clarity. If you have to pay a little extra to have them cut and plate it in the back, it is totally worth it! If you want it served, you will get charged for it. Which is also okay. Ultimately you are saving money. Just make sure you are clear about what the policy is, who is going to cut the cake, where it will be plated, etc.

Q: Can you touch on dress codes? No tuxes, but we would love dark suits and long/fancy cocktail dresses?

A: Highest level of etiquette says there are two levels of dress code for the evening. Black tie, and cocktail. This one is cocktail. The only dress code that should really go on an official invite is black tie. But, you can absolutely put this on the website. A separate card in the envelope with the invitation can also state that its cocktail.

Q: Two of my friends who were dating for several years recently split up. Though I was HIS friend first, she became someone I ended up even closer with. However the bulk of my pals are “team him” and I don’t think I can invite her without a HUGE pile of drama. Any advice on how to tell her she’s important to me but I don’t want to rock the entire cruise line for the night by inviting them both?

A: This is hard! This is, yet again, an IN-PERSON conversation. You are going to need to make it up to her if you choose not to invite her and she is that close to you. Also, remember these are adults. They should be able to act like that. Julian recommends not inviting either of them, if they truly can’t be mature for a few hours for YOUR wedding.

Q: What is the best way to maneuver plus ones?

A: If you know the couple and they’re coming, but both their names. Just because you invite people this way, you don’t have to give your single friends a plus one. Invite who you would invite to your house to dinner.

Q: What if you start receiving gifts from the registry before the wedding? When do I send Thank You notes?

A: Start writing the thank you notes immediately. But don’t send them until after the wedding. They are necessary. Don’t put them off!

Q: I have both my sisters as my bridesmaids and couldn’t choose a matron of honor between the two of them. How do I make them both feel involved. Do I flip a coin for who gets to stand next to me to fix my dress? I love them both and I don’t want either one of them to feel hurt or feel I’m favoring one over the other.

A: There are two different ways to sort this out. One is by age. So the oldest should stand next you, and goes down from there. The other way to do it is by height. Neither is personal. There might be hurt feelings, but it is logical. Other option: One fixes your dress, one holds your bouquet

Links we referenced
zola.com/bigwedding and promo code SAVE50

“The guiding principle here is if you would have them to your house for dinner, they can be invited to the wedding. If you wouldn’t host them at your house, then why are they on the list?” - Julian

“I am a huge advocate for not writing on anything, ‘adult only reception.’” - Julian

“As much as Michelle and I are always preaching that it’s about you, do you, throw out the rules, turn things on the side, it’s your wedding, we do recognize that this is different than any other event you will plan.” - Christy

“Keep in mind that there is life after your wedding.” - Christy

“These conversations never go away, the only thing that happens is that you get better at them.” - Julian

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