(BPT) - October is the new June. More and more, weddings are taking place in the height of fall foliage, heart of winter and prime holiday season, including the ever-popular New Year's Eve ceremony to ring in the new year. But it's not just the wedding season that has drastically evolved over the past decade, it's everything from roles and responsibilities to gift-giving.
As you gear up to celebrate the union of your beloved family or friends - or even your own - know what to expect from the changing tides of weddings. Lizzie Post, co-author of 'Emily Post's Etiquette, 18th edition' and great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post, helps couples navigate the new traditions of weddings. The Post name has been synonymous with proper etiquette and manners for the past 80 years.
As decades pass, so will traditions, but proper etiquette is timeless. Be prepared for the next wedding you attend and know what to expect from changes in the wedding landscape with these important pieces of advice:
Pay it forward
Finding the right gift for the newlyweds can be difficult. While registries help to point guests in the right direction, many couples are getting married later in life and already have all the household items that are common wedding gifts. To provide the couple with a small nest egg to use however they wish, a check is always a great and safe gift idea. Several financial institutions, like Bank of America, offer mobile check deposit through their banking app, allowing the couple the flexibility to deposit checks on-the-go to help cover outstanding vendor payments or use on their honeymoon. Another new-age trend is contributing to a couple's honeymoon fund.
Temper tech use
Even weddings are going hi-tech. There are numerous websites available that can help the couple to organize the process, communicate with guests and share photos after the ceremony. But a few things - like a handwritten 'thank you' note - should steer clear of the hi-tech lure. In a gadget-driven society, everyone is carrying a smartphone. Couples can post a tasteful notice at the entrance of the ceremony location or in the program to remind guests to turn off their cell phone ringers and refrain from use during the ceremony. Some couples may actually encourage guests to take photos and share images via social media, but guests should respect their wishes and use phones only as a camera and upload images after the ceremony.
Couples want their special day to reflect who they are and what is important to them. While previous generations traditionally wed in places of worship, many modern couples choose to tie the knot at a sentimental location, like where they had their first date. The decor, music and even the food and drink served at a wedding may have a personal story behind it. No matter how nontraditional the element may be, guests should eagerly partake in the festivities, acknowledging and respecting the couple's individualization.
In the past, bridal showers were strictly for the bride and bachelor parties were a men-only affair. Nowadays, these festivities are no longer gender-specific. Showers can be thrown for the couple in unison and include creative themes like 'stock the bar' or 'time of day.' Bachelor and bachelorette parties can also be conjoined to involve the entire bridal party in a destination event. And while these events are a celebration of joy, expenses can add up quickly. If you use a rewards card, like the BankAmericard Travel Rewards credit card, you can earn points on purchases to pay for all or part of your trip. This is great for both the bride and groom and guests traveling to the wedding.
As trends and expectations shift, so will the way major life milestones are celebrated. It is important to celebrate these moments in life with grace and support for the happy couple - after all, it's their day - and it should be as unique as they are.
For further etiquette advice on navigating 21st century weddings, visit www.emilypost.com.