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Be your own pro wedding planner

Text: Carly Fisher; Photography: Condé Nast Digital Studio

July 24, 2015

Be your own pro wedding plannerCelebrity event designer Colin Cowie helps you handle big-day etiquette like a boss.

A bride can have multiple showers but only one engagement party

By tradition, guests should give you a gift for each event they attend, as well as the wedding itself.

But do not expect people to spend more than they can afford

Be polite and make sure there’s a range of prices on your registry.

If you invite Mary to your engagement party, you must invite her to your wedding

After all, you’re inviting only your nearest and dearest. And why would you invite 150 people to your engagement party and just 100 people to your wedding?

Make sure the RSVP-by date is a month to six weeks before your wedding

When should people RSVP? Immediately! If someone is tardy – incredibly ride – the brides, the groom, the maid of honour, someone should email her to confirm attendance.

Not everyone in your bridal party needs a plus-one

If it’s someone your brother plans on spending years with, fine. But you don’t want to meet a new person at your wedding unless her or she is a really significant other.

Don’t schedule the ceremony and reception several hours apart

You do not get to take up three quarters of your guests’ day! And you shouldn’t ask them to dress in black tie at noon or mill around for hours in between.

If your parents are divorced, don’t force them to sit together 

Do invite their significant others, and seat them apart. If his parents are divorced too, you may need four parents’ tables.

The sweetheart table is too ridiculous for words 

Go sit with your family and friends! You have the rest of your lives to be by yourselves.

Avoid receiving lines 

They create a terrible bottleneck when everybody is heading to cocktails. It’s better to go from table to table and thank every guest for coming. A speech from the couple is also classy.

A cash bar is not OK in my book

Better to have a smaller group and entertain nicely. Open bar till we drop. Till. We. Drop.

If the bouquet and garter tosses are done well, they don’t have to be tacky

Do them at the end of the night, when everyone’s been drinking and you’re looking for some energy. As long as he’s not groping you under your dress, it shouldn’t be an issue.

What is tacky

When the groom pushes cake all over the bride’s face during the cake cutting. It’s a humiliating and disrespectful ritual.

It’s OK to control the toasts – especially if you have a best man who’s a live wire

Here’s your script: “Hey, Dave what are you planning to say tomorrow night? You’re rehearsing your speech with me right now.” And, no, that’s not rude. It’s your wedding. You decide.

Looking for more wedding planning advice? Read our ultimate guide to catering for your big day and check out these tips for throwing an A-list wedding (without the celeb budget).

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