When planning a wedding, brides (and grooms!) dream of their perfect wedding day. A day that celebrates their love and who they are as a couple.
One goal is to host a memorable event that leaves a lasting impression on your guests. However, no newlywed couple wants their guests whispering “Can you believe they did that??”
Admittedly, the rules of wedding etiquette can sometimes feel vague and confusing. Caught up in the flurry of activity, many couples commit etiquette blunders without even realizing it. Here are some major etiquette mistakes you may have thought were acceptable, but should really be avoided:
1. DO NOT Include Registry Info with Your Invitation.
Although you may have seen it, it’s never okay (and certainly tacky) to include registry information on or within an invitation to the wedding or reception, or with any wedding announcement (even in small print on the back). Doing so shifts the emphasis from desiring their presence to asking for presents.
It is a well known tradition that a wedding invitation implies that a wedding gift is sent to the couple. If a guest wants to know where you’re registered, you can rest assured that they will ask. Make sure your immediate family and bridal party know where you’re registered. You can also include it on your wedding website or suggest that your guests go to RegistryFinder.com, where they can easily find all your wedding registries in one convenient location.
It is, however, OK for your bridal shower host to share your registry information within a bridal shower invitation.
2. DO Make Sure Those Invited to Your Shower or Engagement Party are Invited to Your Wedding
Anyone that you wish to invite to a pre-wedding party must also be included on the wedding guest list. If you care enough about someone (or feel an obligation) to invite them to a party or shower, then they are special enough to be included in your wedding guest list. For some helpful tips on creating your wedding guest list, check out this post.
3. DO NOT Have a Cash Bar
Asking your guests to pay for their own drinks is simply unacceptable. Imagine hosting a dinner party in your home and asking your guests to pay for their pre-dinner cocktail or a glass of wine with dinner.
You would never dream of it! So consider your wedding reception a very large dinner party, and make sure you provide the drinks with the food!
If your budget doesn’t allow for an open bar, but you would like to serve alcohol at your wedding, there are other ways to do it. Serving beer and wine is a totally acceptable (budget-friendly) option! If you feel like you want to provide liquor, work with your caterer to create a few signature drinks to offer your guests.
Another option is to have an alcohol-free reception. You could have a morning or afternoon wedding with a more simple reception that does not include alcohol. There are plenty of options to serve (or not serve) whatever you choose; just please, please don’t ask your guests to pay for it!
4. DO Greet Your Guests
Your guests have given a significant amount of their time (and probably money) to be there to celebrate your special day. So it’s simple common courtesy to be intentional about greeting your guests and thanking each of them for being there. Although the receiving line seems to be a thing of the past, it is the traditional way to ensure that each and every guest is greeted and no one is missed. Today, most couples choose to visit each table during the reception. It can be brief (especially if you have a lot of guests); just make sure it’s sincere and heartfelt.
However you decide to do it, remember these are clearly the most important people in your lives (the ones who made the cut onto that exclusive wedding guest list all those weeks ago!); so take the time to say hello to your coworker, express your gratitude to your out-of-town cousins, hug your grandma, and then hit the dance floor with your best girlfriends!
5. DO NOT Ask for Money
As in point number one, no mention of gifts or gift preferences are included on (or in) your invitation, including that you would like to receive cash in lieu of gifts.
Your attitude toward wedding gifts should be that you will be happy with whatever you receive (hard, I know, because we are tempted to try and control everything). Don’t lose perspective on the purpose of your wedding. It’s a celebration of your love and dedication to one another, not a personal fundraiser or charity event.
A wedding registry is designed to give suggestions, not mandate what guests will give. A subtle way to guide your guests toward cash is to register with a registry provider that also offers cash options such as experiences or honeymoon funds.
This is the modern way for guests “to send a check.” It’s safe and easy for the giver (nothing gets lost in the mail) and comes to you as cash to use for your honeymoon or actually whatever you want. Zola and Honeyfund are popular options. They provide a perfect mix of funds and products so there is something for everyone on your wedding gift registry.
6. DO Watch Your Liquor Intake
An intoxicated bride or groom is embarrassing and creates an uncomfortable situation for the guests and family. Yes, this is a celebration, but nobody wants to see the bride or groom so inebriated that they lose their motor skills or get sick. You want to make sure you remember and enjoy the event you spent months planning. So, make time to eat some food and pace your alcohol consumption. Hint: have a glass of water in between each cocktail.
As long as there are weddings, there will be wedding hiccups. Do your best to be aware of the details that people will remember long after your big day is over. But don’t stress! Manage what’s in your control, laugh off what you can’t control and enjoy your special day.
-Written by Cheryl Seidel, etiquette guru and founder of RegistryFinder.com, who wishes all couples the wedding of their dreams and a lifetime of happiness – as long as they don’t mention gifts. Read more of her etiquette advice on her Ask Cheryl