The 12 Dos and Don’ts of Wedding Etiquettes: A Comprehensive Guide

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Wedding traditions are transforming as couples plan more personalized and creative celebrations. However, there are certain timeless wedding etiquette rules that should never be disregarded today. Adherence to these guidelines holds significant importance in ensuring a pleasant atmosphere for all participants, allowing them to fully enjoy the celebration without encountering any awkward or inappropriate circumstances.

In this article, Viva Wedding Photography will cover etiquette every couple needs to know, from invitations to seating arrangements and thank-you cards. By following these rules, you can create a smooth and enjoyable wedding experience for yourself and everyone involved.

Wedding Etiquette for Couples to Follow

1. Double-check your invite list

Before you begin compiling guest lists, it is important to remember that anyone who is invited to the pre-wedding celebrations, such as the engagement party, bridal shower, and bachelor/bachelorette party, should also be invited to the wedding itself.

Wedding invitation etiquette for couples
Wedding invitation rule for couples – Photo by: Martha Stewart

If you are unsure whether they will eventually be included in the guest list, one simple wedding rule is to err on the side of caution and exclude them from these pre-wedding events. It is acceptable to include additional persons on your wedding guest list. However, if someone has already attended a bridal shower or other celebrations in your honor, it would be rude to not invite them to the wedding.

2. Be mindful of plus-ones

Wedding plus one etiquette
Wedding etiquette for couples when creating the guest list – Photo by: Martha Stewart

The decision to offer guests a plus one or not is a topic of much discussion. Having said that, there are certain situations in which it would be considered impolite to not allow a guest to bring a plus one.

To ensure that all guests feel comfortable and included at the wedding, extending a plus-one invitation to those who may not know anyone else in attendance is recommended. Also, guests who are married, members of the bridal party, and guests who are engaged or in committed, long-term relationships should be invited with a plus one. This is the wedding plus one etiquette you should follow to keep the number of guests manageable!

3. Send wedding invitations early  

One of the first and most important rules of wedding etiquette is sending out your invitations early. Your wedding invitation cards not only serve as a means to inform your guests about the details of your wedding, but they also play a key role in setting the tone and expectations for your wedding.

Wedding invitation etiquette couples should follow
Wedding etiquette for couples when sending invitations – Photo by: Paper Divas

Following wedding invitation etiquette is essential for a seamless process. Ideally, you should send out your wedding invitations at least six to eight weeks before the wedding date and include all the relevant information, such as the date, time, location, dress code, RSVP deadline, registry details, etc. You should also address your invitations properly and politely, using your guests’ full names and titles. For example, “Mr. and Mrs. Michael Jones” or “Dr. Jennifer Lee and Mr. David Lee.”

4. Keep the weather in mind when planning your wedding

Plan your big day with the weather in mind is a nice wedding etiquette
Wedding rules for bride and groom when planning their big day – Photo by: Vivian Chen Photography

Among all the excitement, have you taken a moment to think about how these weather conditions could affect your beloved guests? When hosting an event, it’s crucial to consider the time of year and the wedding destination. These factors can greatly impact the comfort and convenience of your attendees. To ensure a seamless experience, it’s a nice wedding etiquette for couples to provide the necessary items that cater to these specific conditions.

These items could include hand fans, fleece blankets, umbrellas, or an event tent in case it rains or gets too hot outside. Your guests will appreciate the thoughtfulness and warmth as they gather around, sharing stories and creating lasting memories.

>>> Recommend reading: Destination Wedding Etiquette: A Guide for Couples & Guests

5. Offer transportation for your guests

It's good wedding etiquette to plan transportation for your guests
Plan transportation for your guests – Photo by: Brides

It may be considerate and appropriate wedding etiquette to provide transportation for your guests, depending on the wedding venue and location. If you are hosting an event in a remote location or an area with limited parking, you may consider arranging for a charter bus to transport your guests from a designated meeting point.

In case you are unable to provide transportation for everyone due to budget constraints, it is advisable to prioritize taking care of your bridal party and close family members. Your wedding guests are valuable members of your special day and should be treated accordingly!

6. Greet all your guests

Receiving line wedding etiquette
Receiving line wedding etiquette – Photo by: Easy Weddings

You may meet some of your guests frequently, while others you may not have seen in a while. Therefore, one of the crucial wedding rules for the bride and groom is to allocate sufficient time to greet each and every one of your guests. You can choose between two options for expressing gratitude to your guests: either follow the traditional receiving line format or take the opportunity during dinner to personally visit each table and verbally thank each person for attending.

7. Pay your vendors the respect they deserve

Respect your vendors is wedding etiquette couples should follow
Respect your vendors – Photo by Curated Events

Even though your vendors aren’t your guests, you should treat them with respect and hospitality, especially when it comes to providing food. An important wedding rule is to allocate a portion of your budget specifically for providing meals to all the vendors who will be working on your wedding day. Consider it in the same way as a typical job. Just as you would require a break to refuel after working for 8 hours, the same principle applies.

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Wedding Etiquette Mistakes Couples Should Avoid

8. Don’t ask anyone to sit at the “singles” table

Seating chart wedding etiquette is the next aspect that you might be concerned about when planning for the celebration. Make sure that everyone has a seat and feels comfortable and welcome at your wedding. However, you should avoid asking anyone to sit at the “singles table,” as this may seem rude and insensitive. 

Seating chart wedding etiquette
Weeding etiquette for seating arrangement – Photo by: Greenvelope

The “singles table” is where you sit all the single or unattached guests together, hoping they will mingle or find a match. This may make them feel awkward or uncomfortable, as they may not know anyone else at the table or feel pressured to socialize with strangers. Instead, you should seat your guests according to their relationships and preferences, such as family members, friends, co-workers, etc.

9. Don’t make guests wait too long for the party to start

The party is where the fun and excitement of the wedding happens, where the guests can mingle, enjoy food and drinks, dance to music, and celebrate with the couple. However, if the party starts too late or takes too long to begin, the guests may feel bored, tired, or impatient. They may also lose interest or enthusiasm for the wedding or even leave early.

Wedding etiquette: Do not make your guests wait too long
Cocktail hour at a wedding – Photo by: Pinterest

Therefore, we suggest following common wedding etiquette and starting the party as soon as possible after the ceremony. You should also plan and organize your wedding timeline and logistics carefully and efficiently so that everything runs smoothly. 

We recommended having a cocktail hour as a pre-party event. It will take place right after the ceremony, where you serve some drinks and appetizers to your guests while they wait for the party to start. A cocktail hour can keep your guests entertained and satisfied. It also gives you time to take photos, change your outfits, or prepare for your grand entrance.

10. Don’t drink too much  

A common wedding etiquette mistake that the bridal and the groom often make is overindulging in alcoholic beverages. While it is totally fine and normal to have a few drinks and toast your marriage, you should also be mindful and responsible for your alcohol consumption. Overdrinking may cause unpleasant consequences, such as forgetting some parts of your wedding day or doing something that offends your guests.

wedding rules for bride and groom
Wedding rules for bride and groom related to alcoholic beverages – Photo by: Martha Stewart

You can always have a few drinks in moderation and limit yourself to a certain amount or type of alcohol. Drinking plenty of water and eating some food are effective ways to help you balance out the effects of alcohol. In addition, it is worth considering delegating some tasks or responsibilities to someone else who can help you monitor or control your alcohol intake. 

11. Don’t Ask Your Guests to Pay for Anything on the Wedding Day

One of the most generous and gracious aspects of hosting a wedding is paying for everything on the wedding day. You want to treat your guests with hospitality and appreciation, as well as make them feel comfortable and pampered at your wedding. However, you should avoid asking your guests to pay for anything on the wedding day, as this may seem rude and tacky. 

Money-related Wedding Etiquette
Money-related wedding etiquette – Photo by: LoveToKnow

Asking your guests to pay for anything on the wedding day may imply that you cannot afford or plan your wedding properly. You may end up offending or disappointing your guests, who may feel unvalued. So, this is poor wedding etiquette you should never do.

12. Don’t procrastinate on Thank-You Cards

Sending out thank-you cards to your guests is undeniably one of the happy couple’s most courteous and considerate gestures. Thank-you cards serve as a meaningful way to convey your sincere gratitude for guests’ attendance and their gifts. In addition, it also shows your respect and consideration towards their precious time. 

wedding etiquette for thank-you cards
Wedding etiquette for thank-you cards – Photo by: Etsy

We recommend sending out your cards as soon as possible after the wedding, preferably within two to three weeks. Additionally, in the world of traditional wedding rules for bride and groom, there exists an emphasis on making your thank-you cards personal and specific. It is highly advisable to express your gratitude by personalizing each card with a handwritten note that mentions the guests’ names.

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Whether you are the bride or groom, it is undeniable that wedding season is a great excuse to let your hair down, pop some champagne, and reconnect with old friends. However, it is also important to keep in mind some rules of wedding etiquette, which will ensure you have fun and enjoy the wedding without any worries or regrets.

We hope this article has helped you avoid common etiquette mistakes that couples often make. Following these rules will make your wedding experience as amazing as you have daydreamed. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. Viva Wedding Photography would love to hear from you!

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