Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. (Note: Questions may be edited for clarity and brevity.)


Question: My fiancé and I are paying for our wedding without assistance from family. We are doing this in part because we are financially able and don’t want to burden our parents. The other reason is because we are both very independent with well-defined tastes and plans for the occasion and don’t want have to deal with other people’s ideas of what we should or shouldn’t do. For example, we’d rather encourage guests to give to our favorite charity in lieu of gifts. Also, we think it would be more fun and festive to do family style dining, rather than a buffet or single entrees. Finally, we don’t want to do a receiving line and would rather mix and mingle with our guests at the party. If we are paying for our wedding, do we have to worry about the usual etiquette?

Answer: It’s lovely that you are in the position to shoulder the costs and happy to do it. I’m sure your respective families appreciate the savings to their savings accounts. Obviously this does give you more control over the festivities and while this is an opportunity to celebrate your union the way you envision it, it’s important to always keep in mind that it’s simultaneously a way to thank your friends and family for their support both in the past, during the wedding and in the future during your marriage. Etiquette is simply a roadmap to help you navigate the tricky territory of

obligations and differing personalities, as well as those the often heightened expectations and emotions surrounding a wedding. You’ll be happy to know that while not “traditional” a charity registry; family style dining; and foregoing the receiving line are all 100 percent acceptable and are in no way a breach of etiquette. As long as you are keeping in mind the comfort and care of your guests, as well as operating with kindness and consideration, hurt feelings and drama are generally kept at bay and your wedding is sure to be filled with happy memories for you and your fiancé for years to come.


Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.