Gone are the days where my Facebook timeline is filled with embarrassing photos of who got chocolate waste over the weekend and campus activities. Now every day I am greeted with proposals, wedding preparations and baby announcements! As exciting as this new phase of life is, it is becoming painfully aware to me that common wedding etiquette for guests and/or the bride or groom is not so common. After receiving many questions, seeing several things that made me cringe and even being unsure about a few rules myself I decided to do some research. To avoid being THAT girl/guy check out 10 Wedding Etiquette rules below.
1. Just because you are Facebook friends, does not guarantee you a wedding invite: A wedding is a very personal and sacred event, reserved for family and close friends of the couple. Just because you went to college with someone or occasionally engage in witty banter on social media does not qualify you to receive an invite. Also publically shaming said couple for the lack of an invite makes you look bad…not them. While we are on the topic…
2. Who gets an invite: After you send out your save the dates, you will probably get an influx of informal RSVPs. For those that confirm they will not be attending, there is no need to send them a formal invite. If that person happens to be Aunt Susie who you know will want to keep an invite for her scrapbook, be sure to include a note saying it’s for keepsake purposes only.
3. Plus one woe: If you knew how expensive weddings cost these days, you wouldn’t assume this is an automatic yes. Typically, the only “guaranteed” plus ones are spouses, fiancées, and live in significant others. If you are allowed a guest to accompany you to a wedding, the invitation will either state you and your significant other's name or in lieu of their name “guest”. For my single friends, if you are unsure, ask, but don’t just show up with your flavor of the month.
4. What to wear, what to wear: Most wedding invites will specify the appropriate attire for the event. If you are questioning if your powder blue suit, or crop top mini dress is considered black tie, there is this excellent tool called google that can help you out (lol). If the invite doesn’t say, stay on the safe side and leave your jordans, t-shirts, jeans, and white dresses at home.
5. Everything isn’t Facebook appropriate: While you may be super excited to post your “ussie” of you and the blushing bride on Facebook immediately after you take it, it may be against the wishes of the couple. Unless you are encouraged to post pictures on social media with a specialized hashtag, avoid posting any pictures of the couple until after they post them.
6. Bring on the Gifts: Brides, even though you are spending an insane amount of money on chicken wings per person and are expecting everyone to gift you with those $75 napkin holders you requested or the diamond encrusted skillet you NEED, guests aren’t REQUIRED to bring a gift. While it’s not in best taste to show up empty handed, manage your expectations. Keep in mind that there will be a vast range of budgets attending your wedding and register accordingly. Speaking of gifts…
7. Engagement party gifts: Engagement parties are an opportunity to congratulate the couple; gifts are not expected but will certainly be accepted. Who doesn’t like presents?! If you are dying to give the happy couple a gift, don’t you worry there will be plenty of opportunities including the bridal shower and wedding.
8. Cut the Cake: While the cake ceremony is a longstanding staple in the world of wedding receptions, it’s not one that is mandatory. If you find that tradition dated opt for a dessert table, cupcakes, or a candy bar.
9. Wedding party trade-off: Just because someone invites you to be in their wedding, does not necessarily mean you need to return the favor. If you are feeling uneasy about the situation, there are always other positions you can put them in, for example a hostess or a reader.
10. Thank you…thank you very much *in my Elvis voice*: Even though your guests wished you a lifetime of happiness, that does not mean you have a forever to send out thank you notes. You have about a three month window to send out a handwritten note, and NO an e-mail will not suffice.
11. Oh you thought that was a gift?: Tapping into your resources and hiring friends as vendors can be a great cost saving tool for couples. However, make sure everyone is clear on the terms of the agreement ahead of time. Whether you are offering your services as a gift or at a discounted rate, make sure all parties involved are well aware and PUT IT IN WRITING. The last thing you want is to your friend repoing your cake at the reception or casting you on the next episode of Judge Judy because you didn't provide her with the check she was expecting.