Manner Monday®: Wedding Etiquette Q&A

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Q:  “When you have the head table with the bride / groom and wedding party – is it expected that the dates of the wedding party would also sit at that table or at another table? Also, what is the role and responsibility of the Maid of Honor versus a Bridesmaid? And, what is an acceptable amount to ask your wedding party to spend on dress / tux / shoes? My fiancé and I are in a wedding party together. We will be spending about $500.00 to be a part of this wedding not including gift / parties and extra things they will want / expect us to do. I am wondering if that is the norm or not.” Thanks – Kiley

A: Back in the day, the wedding party sat at a head table while their spouses and plus one’s were relegated to a different table. With modern times come modern takes on the ‘rules’, and many brides are seating the wedding party and their guests together. I think it will depend on the size of the wedding party, the formality of the reception, and ultimately – the bride’s preference.

As to the responsibilities of the wedding party: the Maid of Honor (MOH) most importantly needs to be a good listener and have a strong shoulder for the bride to lean on. The MOH will need to be prepared to act as a sounding board for planning the wedding and dealing with any family difficulties or other stresses. The MOH is also responsible for keeping the bridesmaids organized and leads them in planning a bridal shower and bachelorette party.  A Bridesmaid should be prepared to offer assistance in planning the wedding or helping with any other decision making, only when asked. All members of the wedding party should plan on being useful at both the wedding and the reception. You may need to offer assistance with the guest book, helping vendors (photographer, dj, caterer) as they arrive. Being social during the day and talking to guests, making them feel welcomed. If there’s a dance floor, help get the party started! And offer to stick around and clean up after the party is over.

The amount a bride expects her bridal party to spend will vary greatly for each individual and will depend on the circumstances for each wedding – there are so many variables. Keeping in mind that with a role in the wedding party, you are responsible for expenses that will arise: dresses, travel, parties, gifts, etc. My advice is to know what your budget is and figure out how you can participate in the wedding without getting yourself into financial trouble. One way you can save money is by giving the bride your gift of ‘time’. Explain to the bride that you are on a budget and you would love to be her MOH, and you would like to gift her your time by offering to address the wedding invitations or some other task that she is planning to outsource.

Make sure to keep the lines of communication open so there are no surprises and let your friend know that you are there to support her and everyone will have a great time. Have fun and enjoy the wedding!

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Thanks for reading!
Carey Sue


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