12 Dos and Don’ts of Wedding Etiquette Rules Couples Should Always Follow

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Wedding traditions are transforming as couples plan more personalized and creative celebrations. Navigating wedding planning requires a keen understanding of wedding etiquette. Which is crucial in ensuring a smooth and memorable celebration for every couple getting married. So, it’s really helpful to check out a comprehensive wedding etiquette guide from Viva Wedding to make sure you don’t accidentally make any biggest wedding etiquette mistakes. 

Wedding etiquette rules everyone should follow covering every wedding aspects, from invitations to seating arrangements, contributing to the overall harmony of the event. Following these wedding rules, you can create a smooth and enjoyable formal wedding experience for yourself and everyone involved.

Wedding Etiquette for Couples to Follow

1. Double-check your invite list

As you start the exciting journey of putting together guest lists for your wedding, it’s important to keep in mind the little details of wedding etiquette, especially when it comes to pre-wedding celebrations. It is important to remember that anyone who is invited to the pre-wedding celebrations, such as the engagement party, bridal shower, and bachelorette party, should also be invited to the wedding itself.

By following this wedding etiquette principle, we can make sure everyone feels included and prevent any unintentional mistakes. If you’re unsure about whether certain people should be included in the guest count, it’s always a good idea to be cautious and hold off on sending them invitations to these initial celebrations.

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

When it comes to wedding guest attire and figuring out how many guests to invite, the idea of having an adults-only wedding adds another aspect of etiquette. It’s really important to let your guests know about your preference in a friendly and creative way. You can include a special section on your wedding website or mention it in your wedding invitations. This will help everyone understand what to expect and ensure your day goes smoothly.

Wedding etiquette guides remind us how important it is to communicate our choices clearly, creating an environment where everyone in the wedding party and guests can understand and respect the boundaries we set.

2. Be mindful of plus-ones

Wedding etiquette rules are often a hot topic of discussion, and one aspect that sparks debate is whether to invite guests with a plus-one. This decision requires thoughtful consideration when it comes to wedding rules for brides and grooms. It’s essential to find a balance between inclusivity and practicality.

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

Relationships between guests and the couple, as well as between guests themselves, should be carefully considered by couples when they plan their guest list. While thinking about the plus-one problem, it’s important to remember that some people may be attending solo and not know anyone else who will be there. Also, guests who are married, members of the wedding ceremony, bridesmaids and groomsmen, and guests who are engaged or in committed, long-term relationships should be invited with a plus one.

In this context, the rules of wedding etiquette serve as a guide for couples to navigate the delicate balance between ensuring guest comfort and managing the logistics of the celebration effectively.

Read more about wedding plus one etiquette 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 card ( or RSVP by the date), registry details, etc.

The way you address your guests in your wedding invitation wording says a lot about your manners and the care you put into the design. Using the complete name and title of the distinguished member of the wedding party in your invitations is a surefire way to show the highest level of respect. For example, you may call a married couple “Mr. and Mrs. Michael Jones” or recognize two people by their titles, such as “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

Planning a wedding can feel overwhelming, especially for couples starting their first marriage journey. Don’t forget to check the weather forecast and incorporate these considerations into the broader canvas of your wedding preparations.

Whether your celebration unfolds in the warmth of summer, the crispness of fall, the freshness of spring, or the coziness of winter, each season brings its own considerations for optimal guest experience. This rings especially true for outdoor or destination weddings where climatic variations can play a significant role. 

Plan your big day with the weather in mind is a nice wedding etiquette for couple
Wedding umbrellas for inclement weather

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

Many couples choose to provide accommodation options for out-of-town guests, unless the couple specifically decides otherwise for their entire wedding celebration. 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.

>> Suggestion Article about Wedding Etiquette:

Wedding Etiquette Mistakes Bride and Groom 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.

>>> Read more: How Much Money To Give At A Wedding: A Complete Breakdown

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

Sending out your thank-you cards promptly after the wedding, ideally within two to three weeks, is a courteous and considerate gesture that reflects your appreciation for the presence and generosity of your guests. When adhering to traditional wedding rules for bride and groom, a notable emphasis lies in elevating the personalization of your thank-you notes or cards. To ensure a meaningful connection with each recipient, consider going beyond a generic expression of gratitude. 

Put some thought into your messages by relating particular experiences or stories shared with those who attended the party. In addition, you can include them with a thank-you gift to make it more memorable. This over-the-top attention to detail shows gratitude and strengthens the bonds within the relationship between the couple and guests. After all, a gift you can give is more than a material offering; it captures your wedding day’s unique moments and connections.

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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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