In the South, good manners are passed down like a treasured family recipe for pecan pie. However, unlike the formula for a favorite after-dinner treat, guidelines to being well-mannered are changing with the times. With the approaching wedding season—that brings an abundance of gatherings—many of our etiquette conundrums surface, and we are left feeling confused about social protocol. Every other week throughout wedding season, Erika Preval of Charm Etiquette school in Atlanta, will answer a question that helps us navigate the grey area of modern etiquette.
Q: I’m the maid of honor in my best friend’s wedding. She’s having two other showers, and the bridesmaids and I want to host a monogram bridal shower at her favorite restaurant. Should the guests pay for their meals and how do we decide who’s invited? We’d appreciate any suggestions.
A: This shower’s monogram theme is perfect since hers will be changing soon – how thoughtful. Here are a few tips to get you on your way. Enjoy yourselves!
Tally it up - As with any event, the host covers all costs, including food and beverage. If they’ve agreed to host, share the budget with the bridesmaids to clarify how things will be paid for. Should costs be a challenge, scale the event back to something that is a bit more budget-friendly but still reflects the bride’s style.
Double check - Guests of the shower must also be invited to the wedding, so use the wedding guest list as your guide. Finalize your guest list by checking for duplicate invitees to the other showers, and discussing those with their hosts. While bridesmaids are typically invited to all bridal showers, wedding guests should only be invited to one.
Give thanks - Ensure that the bride is equipped to be a gracious one by designating someone to record the particulars (who gave what) of gifts, as they are opened. Also, make sure stationery and postage are at the ready. Ask if she’s ordered her own. If not, you can add matching thank you notes to your invitation order.
Tip: Don’t forget to save the bows and ribbons from opened gifts. They’re traditionally fashioned into a bouquet, of sorts, for the bride’s use during the wedding rehearsal.