Is there any life event more fraught with rules and guidelines and expectations than a wedding? Doubtful! For such a joyous occasion, the average wedding is often a stressful experience for everyone involved, including the couple, their families and their guests. No one wants to commit a faux pas that’ll have them permanently fixed in lore of the day as the “person who did that terrible/tacky thing.”
Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to avoid notoriety, provided you follow some basic etiquette rules. Guests, start off on the right note and respect the RSVP process. Reply by the indicated date, and then stick to it! You don’t want the happy couple to hold it against you for all eternity because you no-showed (and thus cost them some serious money) because you felt like watching a “Bachelor” rerun marathon, instead. If you do get sick or otherwise can’t make it for a legitimate reason, shoot them a text or email as a heads’ up, so that they don’t spend their big day wondering where the heck you are.
The vast majority of brides and grooms are considerate and reasonable, but occasionally someone truly earns the moniker “Bridezilla.” One bride went viral after asking for opinions on Reddit about whether she was within her rights to kick a couple out of her reception for failing to mind the “no children” request (to be fair, many people agreed with the bride, although plenty of others felt that she needlessly embarrassed the guests). Yet another bride went viral after an email with incredible demands was circulated far and wide. Among them, she required that guests do not sport “a full face of makeup” or wear a hairstyle “other than a basic bob or ponytail.”
Fortunately, the vast majority of couples and guests are focused on having a beautiful, drama-free day. Just remember: An invitation is never an obligation — but once you accept, you better play by the rules. Take this Wedding Etiquette Quiz to remain respectful on the big day.
Best to keep the questions innocuous.
Go ahead, celebrate your new status — but don't expect stemware.
No need to make a big fuss of it — but perhaps include a small card explaining if babysitting will be provided.
Looks nice, feels good to receive.
Hey, it's your wedding — don't feel the need to reciprocate if you don't want to.
If you don't have the time or money to commit to what the bride or groom wants, feel free to explain the circumstances.
It's the 21st century, people.
Of course, people really can sit wherever they want.
You can forgo the receiving line, but you must greet every guest and thank them at some point after the ceremony. So, a receiving line might make the job easier.
Either skip "announced" dances altogether, or make your own plan.
Traditionally, the father of the bride gave a speech but anyone else you'd like to speak can be asked, including the drunk uncle.
Traditionally, it was only the best man who had the "obligation" to toast.
Assume that the couple has the pics covered and just want you to enjoy the moment.
There's no set amount for how much to spend on a wedding gift.
If you want to keep the rehearsal dinner small, it's okay to just include the core wedding party.
It's best to just let people know where you're registered when they ask — although it is also appropriate for a shower invitation.
It would've appeared as if the family was asking for gifts.
One shower gift is plenty.
It's polite to acknowledge the gift and how you plan to use it.
Split the duties.
You have a year technically but experts say you should wrap up the thank-you notes within three months of the wedding.
White is still considered a no-no as that is usually the bride's color.
Don't even bother to ask. Weddings are expensive and if the couple wanted you to bring a plus-one, it would have been indicated in the invitation.
While all of these will reduce the list, the biggest reduction will come if you have your wedding in some far away place.
Experts are divided on this but most say a cash bar is rude. If you can only provide wine and beer (or just soda) for free, stick with that.
In some cultures, it was always expected and now, generally, it's become accepted across the board.
Etiquette calls for the parents of the betrothed to meet after the engagement, if they haven't already.
Don't let your kids find out from a video titled "BIG NEWS!"
While it's nice if you can accommodate them for dinner or activities, it's not required.
An invitation might be seen as a solicitation of a gift, so it's not necessary to send one to someone you know can't make it. However, if they're a close friend who, say, lives in another state or country, they may be upset to NOT receive an invitation to that special day. You know your friends best.