Before the dress, the cake and the kiss, but after the proposal, comes the announcement or invitation. No matter the season you plan to exchange your I dos, the first order of business is to make it official by inviting your family and friends to join you.
From the very beginning of my career, I understood that the way a couple communicates is as individualistic and stylish as every other element of their lives together. For today's modern brides, proper etiquette need not be governed by what's espoused in an outdated book of manners, but rather -- and quite simply -- by the qualities that will make guests feel welcomed and special.
Since every romance has its own story, the invitation itself is the most ideal way to capture that quintessential story -- whether through prose, poetry, color, style, shape, or each of the elements working together to inform and create a signature style. After all, it's the first sweet moment of making the marriage ceremony "official." And while many of the traditional customs in invitation etiquette remain, today we're living in a world of pixels, bringing with it an expanded palette of options.
Many about-to-be June brides are beginning to send out those save-the-
dates and are looking for modern etiquette and style thoughts. Following find some lessons I've learned from years of successful melding of style and etiquette:
Pixels or Paper
So much of our connection lives in the ether now. So much so that the old "stamp and send" can seem archaic. Know that it's still very much in vogue, especially for formal events that require an RSVP. A paper invitation allows you to set the tone, style, color palette and formality of your wedding in advance. It's also a keepsake for what will surely be a deeply moving and important day for you and your guests.
And finally, great aunt Appolonia from the old country might not be e-savvy, but certainly she represents our older or less webby invitees that shouldn't be neglected.
In preparing to print your invitation, have a few sets of eyes graze your proof. No matter how pretty it may look, if you're at First Presbyterian and your friends are holding bags of rice at St. John's, you're in trouble-land.
That said, if you can't get a paper invite out because of time or cost concerns, sumptuous digital options abound at Evite Postmark that you can personalize to fit the occasion. And as with any invitation -- if you do use a non-postal platform -- keep it consistent. For example, don't use email for some and Facebook for others. In fact, refrain from using Facebook and social media in general to invite people to your wedding. A no-no, never, never faux pas!
I would also steer you away from a public guest list or RSVP. I don't love them for a Super Bowl party, but for a wedding, argh! Do you get that I'm dead-set against them?! Your community should be there for you -- not the other guests. As we all well know, there exists enough family politics involved in many weddings without posting a bulletin board for e-feuds!
My paper predilection aside, much of the other nuptial news can be transmitted electronically. A save-the-date via email is still classy and a wedding site makes absolute sense. A web page that can't get lost in a stack of coupons is a great place to share photos, travel information, event details and a link to your e-registry. Yet the most important point is that your guests arrive feeling completely prepared to share the day with you.
Such aspects as timing, flow of events and dress code become magnified on a day of such solemnity as a wedding. If guests can't easily access the necessary information, they feel nervous. We surely don't promote that. In fact, we leave the knocking-knees to lovebirds on their big day. In truth, everyone else should feel relaxed enough to make an inappropriate toast!
All to say that netiquette and modern manners are about creating as much space for joyful connection as possible. Reducing confusion and missed opportunities makes it easier to have a grand time when the day finally comes, which inevitably arrives faster than you can imagine!
With these thoughts, I hope they help to set the tone for a life of true togetherness, with your beloved, your loved and those you really, really like.
Follow Marc Friedland on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Marc_Friedland