With marriage being a sacred institution, there are bound to be questions of etiquette that you’d come across regardless of the cultural background you’re in.
Considering the number of types of printed items you’d be preparing, getting whose name goes first on wedding stuff definitely requires a decision from you before sending them off for printing in bulk.
Generally, Western cultures dictate that the bride’s name appears before the groom’s, conforming to the etiquette of “Ladies first”. On the opposite spectrum of cultures, the Eastern counterparts would customarily place the groom’s name first. Over the years though, wedding couples have started to conform less to etiquette and more to other practical concerns.
Read on for more details.
1. Why Getting It Right Matters
Regardless of how much or how little importance you place on such etiquettes, it is of paramount importance to give the question due consideration.
All the printed items – wedding invitations, reception décor, favors, napkins, etc. – involve putting either one of the couple’s names first.
It’s not that you should necessarily place wedding etiquette at the forefront of your decision. Rather it is the cost of getting it wrong that is of concern.
The total number of printed wedding items could potentially run into the hundreds. That translates to hundreds of dollars of your hard earn money which you’d carefully budgeted for your wedding.
If you’re somebody who’d be bothered with the slightest of misprint, then you wouldn’t want the additional stress that comes with such a mistake.
2. Traditional Etiquette of the West
Western cultures had always placed importance on the ladies-first etiquette. Whether it is entering a room, passing through a passageway, or seating at the dining table, it is considered gentlemanly to allow ladies first followed by the men.
As far as weddings are concerned, the etiquette dictates that the bride’s name shall precede the groom’s before the wedding day. The printed items sent out before the wedding day would include the wedding invitations, in the form of physical cards or otherwise.
Meanwhile, the groom’s name will come first after the wedding. That would mean to include any printed items given out or displayed on the wedding day itself and onwards.
As such your wedding favors, if you have any personalized tags on them, and the decorations of your wedding venue, would all bear the name of the groom before the bride’s.
Obviously, the presence of etiquette does not necessarily mean couples would follow them. And they rarely do these days.
3. Traditional Etiquette of the East
As you’d probably guessed from this heading alone, in the Eastern part of the world things are a little different.
Although it’ll be a mistake to presume all countries in the East practice similar culture in the naming regard, Asian cultures broadly had always emphasized putting the groom’s name first followed by the bride’s.
Just like when a couple gets married, it is considered that the bride gets married to the groom, rather than the other way round!
Whether the couple chooses to place their first name before the surname, or vice versa, the surname has to be included.
Again, tradition doesn’t always equal actual practice.
4. The Modern Way – Tradition Matters Less
As the generations went by, more and more couples are subscribing less to traditions.
As evidenced by the countless weddings you would’ve attended by now, the wedding printed items have witnessed countless iterations in naming order and naming convention. Some more creative than others in their application.
5. Whose Name Goes First On Wedding Stuff – The Practical Ways
The following ways are some of the more prominent ones we’ve seen.
The final solution though, more often than not, is a combination of more than one way.
Based On Alphabetical Order
Choosing to follow the alphabetical order gives the names arrangement an instant structured order, visually. Although this may not sound like anything significant beyond its obvious order, it is still one way that you can adopt. It’s the simplest and most straightforward way.
Examples: Eva & James, Nisha & Pradeep.
Based On How the Naming Order Sounds
This arrangement of names places emphasis on how it sounds when spoken. It has more of a valid significance to it compared to if you just arrange the names alphabetically.
If the bride’s and the groom’s names rhyme well when put in a certain order, then it’s the perfect opportunity to have something that easily and instantly sticks in the guests’ mind.
When you choose this way, it doesn’t matter anymore whose name comes first. Any etiquette you may know goes out the window. Whichever arrangement sounds the best should get your approval!
Based On Visual Design Considerations
If you’re one who places undivided attention and utmost emphasis on how all your wedding stuff looks, you’d want to have the design bases covered.
Specifically on wedding printed items such as the invitation cards and favor tags, deciding on the look of the names arrangement is as important as deciding on the colors, design motif, etc. All the design elements need to be considered as a whole in order for the end result to turn out well.
Regardless of the design motif you’re going for – floral, cute, geometrical shapes, or minimalist – it plays a part in the overall design.
If you don’t quite have the eye for design, get the help of someone who does. If you have a designer then that is pretty much taken care of for you, although it doesn’t hurt for you to keep an eye on the designer’s work.
One element that contributes massively to the design of printed words is the typography. Or font, or typeface – whatever you call it. Although closely related, you can easily google them up to understand the difference.
In amongst all the pretty visual concerns, there’s another design consideration that one could easily overlook and that is legibility. Yes, legibility is very much a design matter!
Even if you opt for a traditional calligraphy-style typeface, you’d be better off choosing one that’s easier to read.
You definitely do not want the guests to have to strain their eyes trying to figure out what you’ve put on print.
Once you get those considerations sorted, deciding on whose name should go first on wedding favors or other printed items become easier as nowadays you can simply and easily re-arrange the names on the computer screen and see the effect.
Who cares whose name is first as long as it looks pleasant and comfortable for the eyes to skim through.
6. Consistency Matters – Decide On An Order and Stick With It
After you’ve made a decision on the names arrangement – presumably you’ve rightly made one from the outset – ensure you carry it across all printed stuff consistently.
Consistency makes it easy to remember and gives an overall coherence to your wedding theme.
Remember, unless you have any particular reason to conform to etiquette, it’s best to do what gives the best end result.
Once you having the naming design and order sorted, you can start looking into the ideal timing to place order for the favors, or perhaps some of the best edible wedding favors or drink favors to help you decide.