Ask Gabby:Wedding Etiquette for the Contemporary Bride 2

rsvp2Dear Gabby,

I recently moved to Denver from a small town, where a couple invites close friends and family, not friend+date. Here, it is different. People who attend weddings are assumed to need the security of a partner in order to comfortably celebrate the event. And this person is often a stranger to the bride and groom. My fiancee and I just got engaged but are in a disagreement about this – I do NOT want strangers at my wedding, and he is perfectly okay with it. I consider a wedding as something intimate and private and also very special. How can I get around this trend without seeming rude?

Sincerely, Frustrated Bride

Dear Frustrated Bride,

I understand the desire to keep such a special day close to your heart (and family/friend circle!) My general suggestion is to ask yourself if you know the surname of the individual that your guest wants to bring as a date. If the pair have been dating and you have formed a relationship with the other person, it would be considerate to invite them on behalf of your guest. However, guests who are reading this should never assume that a wedding invitation addressed to you as an individual is actually a ticket-for-two unless specifically spelled out that way. Lastly, for any guests who inquire about bringing an unknown date, you may say “We are only inviting people we know to the wedding, but would love to meet her another time…” Sincere. To the point.

Ask Gabby: Wedding Etiquette for the Contemporary Bride


Brides and grooms often find themselves, during the planning of their own wedding and the attending of friends’ weddings, in a limbo between the traditions of etiquette and the customs of today’s modern society. Well ladies and gentlemen, I am here to solve your etiquette riddles and answer your questions on good taste and manners!

Do you think it is appropriate to have a full or partial cash bar at a wedding reception? Some coworkers and I were wondering whether it would be rude to ask your guests to pay for a drink, or whether today’s economy warrants such actions.

Sincerely, Cash-Strapped Bride

Dear Cash-Strapped Bride,

This is a an etiquette no-no. You must always remember that you are, in essence, throwing a party and inviting guests who are not obligated to attend. Their very presence honors you and your spouse and the celebration of your love. Some other cash-saving alternatives are to limit the alcohol options, such as serving beer and wine only. If you must turn the bar into a cash bar, be sure to make that change happen late in the evening, after cocktails and dinner service, where it will not affect the bulk of your guests. I promise you, they will be much happier to drink only water than to be hit up to cover the tab for your wedding.

Please submit your questions to the blog or email them to me directly at and I will answer them in this ongoing etiquette Q&A series.

Monogram Wedding Etiquette


Q: Whose name/initial goes first?

A: The bride’s name is first. The woman’s name/initial always comes first on a monogram because the man’s first name/initial should never be separated from his last name/initial.

Q: When can we start using our married monogram?
A: Follow these simple rules:

Before the wedding ceremony: It is not appropriate to use your married monogram before you’re actually married. So that means using a monogram with your new last name or initial on save-the-dates, invitations, thank you notes, etc. is taboo. Instead, use a monogram that has just your first initials or first names.

During the wedding ceremony: This is still a gray area for some, but I say if you want to use your married monogram, go for it. The wedding ceremony is a perfect time to begin using your new monogram on anything from aisle runners, unity candles, programs, etc.

After the wedding ceremony: Use your married monogram on anything you wish. The reception is a complete green light to display your new married monogram proudly whether it is on the table runner, menus, cake or on the dance floor.

Ten Questions from Guests You Don’t Need to Answer

1. How much is the wedding reception costing you?

2. Can you make sure not to set your date for [insert date here] — I have a vacation already planned!

3. What table am I sitting at?

4. Why didn’t you invite [insert name here]?

5. Is this really a “white wedding”?

6. How many carats is that ring anyway?

7. Who’s your favorite bridesmaid?

8. Did you get that idea from my wedding?

9. Are you paying for any of this?

10. Don’t you think the six-tiered wedding cake is a bit much?

Thanks to the Knot for this entertaining post.

Getting Remarried – Planning Tips

Colorado wedding couples who are getting married for the second time have to consider details that first-timers do not. Here are a few Q&A tips for second (or third) weddings:

1. Can the bride wear white again? Absolutely. The wedding is all about what the bride and groom want. There are no set etiquette rules for what the bride wears for her second wedding.

2. Should the ex-spouse be notified? Yes, it is common courtesy to let him or her know as soon as possible, especially if children are involved.

3. Is it okay to register for gifts? Yes. Every new marriage represents a fresh start and guests will want to give the couple a proper gift.

4. Should children be involved in the wedding planning process? Yes, if possible. Involving the children will allow them a chance to speak up about aspects of the ceremony or reception that may make them feel uncomfortable. It also allows them to warm up to the situation over time.