Photography by Samuel Lippke

How to Make Modern Etiquette Work For You


You’re engaged (congratulations!), you’ve acquired your dream dress, and maybe you’ve even unearthed the perfect venue. But now you’re beginning to think about all the other details: guest count, invitations, wedding protocols, proper etiquette…

          How should I order my ceremony?

          What kind of invitation should I send?

          Should I be concerned about pleasing other people?

In all the hustle and bustle, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and exhausted by the endless dos and don’ts.

At JLE, you are our priority. In an age where the odds are decreasingly in your favor (hello Covid restrictions), we know it’s a struggle to think through all the logistics. The good news? We’re here to help change those odds and walk you through every detail of your day–from ceremony etiquette to your reception timeline.

As experts in the wedding planning world, we’ll keep you focused on what’s most important: you and your dream day. Although that largely involves deciding on creative details that represent your unique love story, we’re also here to help you navigate both modern etiquette and those not-so-fun logistics that can cause stress and confusion. We’ll shoulder every burden that we can for you. After all, this is one of the most important occasions of your life, and you deserve the best

Left- Photography: Erika Delgado
Right- Photography: Samuel Lippke

Etiquette and Protocol

Before we go any further, we’d like to clarify something. There’s a big difference between protocol and etiquette. While protocol is steadfast and never-changing, etiquette adjusts based on the comfort and needs of others. In other words, protocol is the basic framework for how everything should function, and etiquette adds context and definition.

The #1 rule of etiquette is to make sure everyone feels comfortable and knows what to expect. Your guests should know you are thinking of them without drawing attention to them.

Let’s redirect from those thoughts of Cotillion and finishing school and focus instead on the atmosphere that etiquette creates.

Your wedding protocol, for example, determines how your ceremony works: everyone walks in, the ceremony takes place, and everyone walks out. Etiquette, on the other hand, allows you to adjust the order of your wedding ceremony–who walks in first, who accompanies whom, etc.–to fit your personal preferences and circumstances.

When it comes to the place setting, proper protocol means that you have all the elements necessary to create a particular meal. Etiquette, however, is exactly what you’re serving and the protocol will adjust accordingly. If you’re not serving soup, for instance, you won’t need to include spoons in your place setting.

What about invitations? According to etiquette, you used to be able to send out your invitations 4-6 weeks before your big day. Now, good etiquette requires 8-10 weeks’ notice to accommodate for postal delays. The focus should be on taking care of everyone in a new way (the spirit of etiquette) while still fulfilling the traditional protocol of providing your guests with an invitation.

The bottom line? You can dictate what etiquette will be right for your wedding and your specific needs.

Left- Photography: Erika Delgado
Right- Photography: Samuel Lippke

Printed Invites or Digital RSVPs?

Contrary to popular belief, printed invitations are not dead–they are a lovely, traditional gesture. Digital RSVPs also work well, especially given our modern times and the changes we have made because of Covid. With digital invites, you can easily communicate with your guests, share all your wedding details, and provide your family and friends with a curated experience. Your guests will also be able to respond in a timely manner.

Consider combining the old and the new: keep the printed invitation but allow guests to save your event directly to their phone, access additional information, and RSVP via your personal wedding website.

Photography: Samuel Lippke

Determine Your Stance on Vaccination

At JLE, our clients often approach us about how they should handle vaccination status. First, you need to determine your stance. It’s your wedding, so what makes you feel comfortable? You have the freedom to make plans that align with your dreams and desires. As much as you would like to accommodate others, remember that trying to please everyone will only lead to trouble.

Secondly, consider your VIPS and their particular needs. Will a grandparent with health concerns be attending? You should also think about how different regional requirements and venue regulations will affect your event. To accommodate these safety concerns, consider including a separate card with your invitation suite that requests vaccination or a negative Covid test.

 Once you’ve made your decision, consult with your planner to make a game plan for how to personally reach out to anyone who may have an issue or need special accommodations. When you encounter individual issues, the art of personal conversation is key. A personal conversation can go a long way, especially if you are dealing with a case that doesn’t meet the status quo.

We know difficult conversations can be taxing. Sharing this burden with your partner, parents, and other immediate family members will help alleviate some of the stress. We are all here to support you and help you navigate this season in the best possible way.

Photography: Erika Delgado

. . .

We’ve helped scores of couples through the wedding planning journey, and our extensive experience means that we’re really good at what we do. We’ll answer any questions you have and provide you with the resources necessary to streamline your big day. We’re here to serve you and assure you that everything–including your wedding protocol and etiquette–will come together to create the event you’ve always imagined.

* Top Featured Photo by: Samuel Lippke

Thanks for reading, friend.

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