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Wedding etiquette: top tips for a stress-free day

Engagement season is upon us, which means that brides and grooms-to-be worldwide will be thinking about their big day.With the rules of wedding etiquette constantly changing, it's hard to know what is and isn't acceptable. Should young couples be allowed to ask for money instead of gifts? Is it rude to not have favours?Find out how to deal with those sticky wedding situations below, according to online wedding planning site Ready or Knot

Who should be the first to know about the engagement?

Any children from previous marriages should be the first to know, then parents, family members and anyone you're close to should be informed before you start spreading the news via social media.

Can we ask for money instead of gifts?

Generally speaking if you specify that you would prefer money instead of gifts, most guests will be happy to oblige. If you are uncomfortable with the idea of asking for money, you could set up a wish-list with a department store and therefore get only gifts you actually want. Or set up a honeymoon gift-list with a travel company and let your guests contribute to your dream getaway.

Do couples have to have favours?

No, couples do not have to have favours – especially if they are on a tight budget. If you do want to provide favours relatively cheaply, you could look at something relatively inexpensive such as Love Heart sweets. Or go for cupcakes or cake-pops instead of wedding cake and have these double up as favours.

Should a dress code be formally set?

Dress codes can vary depending on the type of wedding, so it's perfectly acceptable to specify to guests the type of clothes you'd like them to wear – this should be specified in clear wording on the wedding invite.

Should brides/grooms greet guests with a handshake or kiss on the cheek?

If the two people know each other then one kiss on each cheek is warm and affectionate. If the two people don't know each other or feel a little uncomfortable then a handshake is perfectly acceptable. Essentially it's all about comfort – what you/your guests feel comfortable with.

Should mobile phones be allowed?

Banning mobile phones may be a little much, but a bride and groom are well within their rights to politely request a social media blackout of their wedding day.

Can someone other than the bride's father walk her down the aisle?

Traditionally it's the bride's father who walks her down the aisle. But in reality anyone who is significant to the bride can walk her down the aisle – whether it's an uncle, brother, mum, or if she chooses to walk alone.

Do we have to have a cake?

No, if you don't want a cake then don't have a cake. There are so many alternatives to wedding cakes from cake-pops and cupcakes to dessert bars.

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