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Sticky Situations: Four Common Wedding Issues and How to Solve Them

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Modern wedding etiquette is no longer simply about when to send the invitations, what side to wear the boutonnière on, or whose hand should go on the wedding cake knife first.

Today's brides and grooms are faced with heart wrenching challenges for probably their biggest and most formal celebration to date. The solutions to these modern wedding woes include diplomacy, realistic expectations and tradition.

Although it is the couple's day, it is not just about personalizing or controlling everything. There are still important rites in this celebration of a union and guests are not marionettes.

Yes, etiquette has evolved but it still includes respect for others and their circumstances. That is the essence of etiquette.

In this blog, I will offer contemporary and correct etiquette solutions to today's wedding woes.

Sticky Situation:
I am very close to three of my first cousins, and the other two I have not spoken to in a year. Do I have to invite all five of them? And what about their mates and children?

Solution(s):
When inviting guests you should invite all members of a category, including those in your extended family.

The spouses, fiancés and live-in partners of all guests should also be on your guest list.

The decision of inviting children has to be respected at all levels and on both sides of the family. If you decide that you only wish to have children that are 12 or older, you will write the invitations accordingly by writing only the names of the children that are 12 and over in each family. In this case, the exception to having children under the age of 12 will be in the presence of younger children attendants. Also, on your guest list should be the parents of child attendants.

Sticky Situation:
We sent a save-the-date card to our right-side neighbours with whom we have since had a sort of falling out. Their handy man accidentally broke two side panels on our chimney, and they have not yet arranged for the repair. Do we still have to invite them?

Solution(s):
Since you originally wished for that couple to witness your wedding, you must have considered their presence enjoyable and important. Not following through with a wedding invitation after announcing the celebration is an etiquette no-no but, there are exceptions.

Exceptions would include not inviting people with whom you never again want to have contact. It would have to be a pretty serious incident. Also, could it be that the couple is having financial difficulties? By following through on the invitation you will be sending out the message that you believe that harmony will once again resume in your relationship; this may even hasten the repair.

Before you make your decision, think of its long-term effects as you regularly cross paths with your neightbours.

Sticky Situation:
My future husband's parents are not contributing to the wedding but my future mother-in-law insists on making decisions. Do I have to include her?

Solution(s):
Considering that this woman will be in your life forever going forth, it is best to include her in your wedding plans. You may want to assign her tasks such as the seating arrangements for her side of the family.

Should your in-laws be contributing some money, it is important to have an open discussion with them about their budget and their expectations. It is imperative that this be done before you make your choices and start giving deposits.

This honest money conversation should be had with all that share in the cost of your wedding, especially with those hosting your celebration. Should you not be able to come to a compromise, be prepared to contribute or take on the bill yourselves. The first step with all contributions is to acknowledge their generosity by expressing your gratitude.

Sticky Situation:
We have been living together for two years and so have everything we need. We do not want to have a wedding registry, but would love to receive cash to go on a Caribbean cruise. How should we word this politely in our wedding invitation?

Solution(s):
Times have changed and contemporary couples receive everything from designer housewares to money for a down payment on a house. Not matter what is on your wish list there should never be the mention of gifts on the wedding invitation. Not even the clever phrase: "Your presence is present enough." This is quite funny, even for an etiquette expert, because the mere receipt of a wedding invitation does dictate the offering of a gift, whether you are attending or not. Hence, you will inform close family members and wedding attendants of your hopes and they will spread the news through word of mouth.

Another modern option is to include gift information on the wedding website which includes everything complementary to the celebration such as directions and accommodations. If you are directly asked about a wedding gift, you could say something like: "We are saving for our first home, so a contribution would definitely help. We really appreciate anything you wish to give us."

One important tip is to write "Thank You" notes as you receive gifts. On a good note, today's brides and grooms both share this duty which was once left to the future Mrs.

If you are going through a Sticky Wedding Situation yourself, write to julie@etiquettejulie.com and Julie will reply promptly. You can also ask your questions on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/EtiquetteJulieCanada?ref=tn_tnmn.