Unless you have taken a trip down the aisle before (or if you plan weddings for a living) getting engaged brings with it many “firsts”. As we all know when we are faced with something for the first time, there are many new things to learn…wedding etiquette is one of them. As you embark on this magical journey, it is important to know that there are certain formalities that should be recognized in order to keep from making mistakes that most couples may not even know are possible. So whether it is sharing too quickly on social media (grandma should always know before Instagram),or learning how to treat your loved ones with grace, read on to learn how to avoid some of the most common etiquette mistakes.
Don’t Put Registry Information on your Wedding Invitation
We all know a wedding invitation brings with it an unspoken obligation to give a gift. Including registry information on your invitation is a major faux-pas. A wedding invitation is a way to let guests know that they are such an important part of your life that you would like them to witness your special day, not a place to ask for gifts. Instead of including this information on your invitation, allow word of mouth to take care of it. Those closest to you will make sure to spread the word about where you are registered. You can also include this information on your wedding website. Posting all important information on your website will help guests find out all the significant details; where to shop, room blocks, transportation information and weekend schedules. It’s an easy fix and a guaranteed way to spread any pertinent information.
Don’t Expect Guests to Pay for Drinks
The bar bill will certainly be one of your biggest expenses, but asking your guests to pay for their drinks is just tacky. Most of your loved ones will not expect to have to pick up a tab at the end of the night, so surprising them with a bill is sure to leave a bad taste. If you are not ready to sell the farm just to pay for the bar, there are alternatives to consider other than offering a cash bar. Serving signature cocktails will limit to just specific recipes and will cut back on the variety of alcohol you will have to provide. Pair your signature cocktails with a few beer and wine options and you will offer enough of a selection for all of your guests to enjoy. Another option is to go thematic…going with a bar package that supports the theme and eliminates any extras is a great way to cut costs, but looks like it was done on purpose.
Don’t Designate a Singles Table
We all know that weddings are a great place to meet people, but instead of setting up your tables so they resemble forced blind dates, seat your single friends just as you would the rest of your guests. Group your friends and family based on similar interests not on “single status”. Promote mixing and mingling in various aspects of your wedding and we promise you those singles will find each other.
Don’t Make Your Guests Wait Too Long to Start the Party
The quickest way to make your guests feel forgotten about is to leave a big gap between the ceremony and cocktail hour. Too much time will invite guests to find a local restaurant or bar and fill up on snacks or worse! If your ceremony and reception are taking place at the same venue, time it so that the bar opens and appetizers are served as soon as guests start to leave the ceremony. If you are at two different locations, do your best to minimize the time in-between, giving them enough leeway to get there but not enough time to get bored. If it is inevitable that your guests will have to wait, make sure to provide them with some kind of entertainment; local outings, activities or sightseeing.
Don’t Invite Someone to the Bridal Shower if they Aren’t Invited to the Wedding
Pre-wedding events have smaller guest lists and occur in a more intimate setting, so anyone who is on these lists must also be invited to the wedding. Inviting them to just a shower or engagement party implies that they are good enough for a gift but not good enough to be a part of your special day. If these parties are a surprise make sure you have a say in the final guest list even if that is the only detail you are a part of. The only exception is a work bridal shower. It is customary that some co-workers will throw a small office party for the soon to be betrothed. Even without a wedding invite, if your fellow associates throw you a small get-together to wish you well before you tie the knot, it is completely okay to accept the gifts and enjoy yourself. Just don’t forget to send thank yous before you get caught up in the final wedding crunch.
A wedding to-do list can seem endless, and those are just the things to check off! Add in the emotions, personal interactions and difficult decisions you’ll experience along the way and a planning journey can be quite stressful. Here is a great piece of advice to consider…today the rules of wedding conduct are less about who pays for what and more about using common sense to make sure everyone involved is having a great time. A wedding celebration is about happiness and being together; inviting everyone involved to share in these feelings is a surefire way to make sure you are following all the rules of etiquette!