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Wedding Etiquette for Everyone

Wedding etiquette has changed over the past 20 years ago, and so have weddings; wearing a bridal gown other than white, registering for a honeymoon instead of new plates, much has changed. Nevertheless, some things will always stay the same. Here are wedding etiquette practices for couples and guests that are still important.

Wedding Etiquette For the Couple:

Send a paper invitation

In a society full of emails, texts, and social media, your wedding is the moment to mail a formal, paper invitation. You can keep it simple with a printed invitation or elaborate with a full stationery set. Whichever you choose, observe the customary etiquette for addressing your guests on the envelopes. Click here for a guide on wedding invitations.

No registry information on your invitations

It's most beneficial to avoid placing registry information on your paper invitation. You don't want to seem like you're asking for gifts. Include your registry on your wedding website. Your website typically includes extra important information for your guests, like travel suggestions and accommodation details, so this would be the logical place to include your registry.

Affix postage to your envelopes for RSVP cards

If you have asked guests to return an RSVP card, be sure to include a pre-addressed, stamped envelope with your invitation. It is a common courtesy, and it makes it easier for your guests.

Save the Dates

If you send someone Save the Date, you must send them a wedding invitation. Even if they've already told you they can't make it to the wedding. Not sending an invitation implies that they are no longer invited, and that's not the case.

Be Courteous

Being polite is a state of mind that should carry throughout your wedding day. Be courteous and kind as you work with your vendors or interact with your wedding party, be gracious and welcoming with your guests. It may be your special day, but remembering and understanding what others have done to make your day happen, you will be remembered for being a pleasant and gracious bride and not a bridezilla.

Only Invite a Guest to a Pre-wedding Party that is Invited to the Wedding

An easy way to agitate a friend or relative is to invite them to a shower or bachelor party, but not invite them to the wedding. Only invite guests to your engagement party, shower, bachelorette party that are attending the wedding.

Thank Your Wedding Party

Let your friends and family in the wedding party understand how much you love the assistance they have given you. Do something special, whether it's a beautiful gift or a personalized present.

No Cash Bar

We know that the food and beverage costs add up fast, but that's no reason for charging your guests. Avoid asking your guests to pay for their drinks. Find other ways to save. Cut back in another area or trim down the full bar to offer some select choices. Contemplate serving beer and wine only. It's an excellent way to save.

Provide Vendors' With a Meal

You should always provide your wedding vendors a meal, from your wedding planner to the photographer, since they are working hard for you all day long. Talk to your caterer about providing them with a meal.

Consider Inclement Weather

Always have a backup plan, whether it's what to do in the event of rain, extreme heat, or cold. Think about what will keep your guests comfortable. Provide shawls or fans depending on the temperature, rent tents if it is outdoors, portable heaters or AC units, or move the wedding indoors.

Celebrate Within Your Budget

Money is a touchy subject and can become emotionally charged when it comes to planning your wedding. Whether you or your parents are paying for the wedding, stay within your budget. There is no reason to go into debt because of your wedding. It will be special and beautiful no matter what you spend.

Mail Thank-You Notes to Your Vendors

Even though you paid your vendors, they still like hearing how much you appreciated them on your special day. Mail a handwritten thank you note to all of your vendors. If you want, include a gratuity for their hard work.

Mail Thank-You Notes to Your Guests

Show your guests you appreciate their attendance, support, and gifts by sending them a handwritten thank you note from you. Let them how much it means to you that they witnessed you say your vows. Also, thank them for the particular gift that you received from them in the note.

Wedding Etiquette for Guests:


Pay attention to the RSVP deadline on the invitation. In fact, if you know your reply, put it in the mail as soon as possible.

Pay Attention to the Dress Code

Unless the couple specified wearing white in the invitation, do not wear white, ivory, and cream tones even if the bride chooses to wear a different color. Also, you don't want to be under-dressed for the wedding. Even if it's casual, always wear a dress, skirt or suit.

Get the Couple a Gift

Let the couple know how honored you are to celebrate with them. If there is a registry, consider purchasing the couple a gift from it. Most couples include things of different price points, so you can find something that meets your budget.

Be On Time

Plan to be at the ceremony 20 to 30 minutes early.

Don't Bring a Plus One Unless Indicated on Your Invitation

If your invitation does not include "and guest" or list your guest's name, it's an invitation for you to arrive alone. Use this as an opportunity to become acquainted with new people than asking if you can bring a date. If it were in their budget, the couple would've extended the extra invite.

No Children

Do not ask the couple if you can bring your children if their names are not on the invitation. Respect the couple's wishes, and do not put them on the spot. Consider your childcare choices at home or at the destination. It is acceptable to ask the couple about neighborhood babysitters, particularly if you are from out of town. Many couples will provide this information for guests with children on their wedding website.

Don't Just Attend the Reception

Don't skip the wedding ceremony and only attend the reception. Sure, everyone's eager to party. But your presence at the actual ceremony is a necessity.

Be Respectful in Houses of Worship

If the couple plans to say their vows in a church, synagogue, temple, or other religious institution, consider the appropriate etiquette and attire for such a venue.

Put Your Phone Away for An Unplugged Ceremony

If the couple requests that you turn off your phone, don't pull it out to take pictures of the first kiss. Leave the photography to the professional and be present in the moment. You will probably be able to take as many photos as you want at the reception.

Don't Overdo It

Feel free to enjoy the open bar, but know your limits. Don't cause a scene at the wedding, and be sure you can get yourself home safely at the end of the night.

Observe the Couple's Wishes

You're there to celebrate the couple, witness their vows, and take part in the party. Avoid criticisms about the food or detail you didn't like. Put the couple's happiness and needs above your own. Save the comments for another day and be positive. No one wants an ill-mannered guest.


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