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Must Follow Etiquette Rules - For the Happy Couple AND their Guests

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Let's face it. The list of wedding etiquette rules is long and ever changing. And there will never be a "one size fits all" map for wedding planning. However, there are some basic do's and don'ts that apply to most modern nuptials. And whether you're the happy couple or a guest of honor, we've compiled our basic "Must Follow" guidelines for you below. 

For the Bride and Groom

bride and groom etiquette rules

  • No Verbal Invites - We know how tempting it can be to just throw out a casual wedding invite when you bump into an old friend unexpectedly. But you should avoid doing this if at all possible. Go home, confer with the guest list, budget and your partner and decide if an additional seat is possible. Only then should you issue a spontaneous invitation. 
  • No "Just for the Party" Invites - Similarly, don't invite people to specific pre-wedding events (engagement party, bridal shower) if they are not going to be invited to the actual wedding. For obvious reasons, this will make your guests that are only invited to the pre-wedding events feel like they weren't important enough to merit a solid invitation. 
  • Include Return Postage - It's common courtesy to include the return postage on your RSVP card along with your return address already filled in. That way your guests can simply check Yes! and stick it right back in the mail. If you're relying on them to write the address and track down a stamp, there's a good chance your card will end up in a kitchen junk drawer and not safely returned to you.
  • No Registry on Invitations - Including the registry information on your invitations is a big wedding faux pas. Not only does it look like you're only in it for the gifts, but it distracts from the important information about your big day! It is the job of the bridal party and your family members to spread the word about where you're registered. And it's perfectly acceptable to include a link on your wedding website, along with travel info, accommodations, etc. 
  • Send Thank You Notes - Yes, even if they didn't bring a gift. Thank you notes are an ever important post wedding task that should not be forgotten. Your guests took the time, energy and money to travel to your wedding celebration and that deserves recognition. But don't worry! We have so many resources to help you make thank you writing an enjoyable task. Not to mention dozens of gorgeous cards for you to choose from, here!
  • Feed Your Vendors - This one probably gets forgotten more than any other "rule" but it's so important. Your vendors are there to help make every moment of your day run smoothly, and they definitely deserve dinner! Make sure the caterers set aside plates for the band/DJ, officiant, photographer, etc. If they're there all night, they get fed. 
  • Get Your License Early - The legal stuff isn't as fun to plan as the flower arrangements, but you need to check your state's licensing rules early so you don't up to your ceremony unprepared. Get your license early, and make sure you know the correct way to fill it out, and when it needs to be returned. 
  • Make the Rounds - Your wedding day is going to fly by, and getting good visiting time with each of your guests may not be possible. So make an effort during dinner or the cocktail hour to mingle and greet as many of them as possible. Try not to play favorites until you've hit every group and given them all an even amount of time, even if it's just 5 minutes per table.
  • Remember to Eat! - You didn't taste all of those appetizers and entrees for nothing! Don't forget to take a quiet moment with your love to enjoy the fruits of your labor. 

For the Guests

wedding guest etiquette rules

  • Follow the Dress Code - And if you're unsure if what you want to wear is appropriate, ask! The dress code is there for a reason, and even if you're not excited about it, it's your responsibility to adhere. (And this should go without saying, but stay away from white, ivory or cream colored clothes. Unless otherwise specified, those belong to the bride alone.)
  • RSVP on time and Stick to It - Don't RSVP "yes" if you are not almost 100% certain that you will be attending the wedding. If you are unsure of your availability talk to the couple beforehand and be open about you uncertainty. Open communication will help avoid headaches on all sides. (Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule and if an emergency occurs that will prevent your attendance the bride and groom should respect that.)
  • Respect the Open Bar - The allure of the open bar is tempting to most. But keep your hosts in mind while you enjoy a few cocktails. And remember that the photographer is there to capture every moment on camera. So dance on the tables at your own discretion. 
  • Don't Expect One on One Time - This can be a hard pill to swallow when you're traveling across the country for a friend's wedding. But remember that they have dozens, if not hundreds, of guests to interact with. So make the most of the little time you do get to spend with the happy couple and make an effort to get to know the other guests as well. 
  • Don't Ask Questions the Website Can Answer - Trust us, the bride's inbox is full of these kinds of messages already. That's why the wedding website exists. If you have a question about travel or accommodations or dress code, ALWAYS check the website first. Chances are they worked very hard to make sure all of the important information you need to know is conveniently located in one place. And if you can't find your answer, reach out to a member of the bridal party or family before involving the couple. 
  • Don't Try to Play Photographer - There's a reason why our Unplugged Wedding sign is a best seller. In a world that is increasingly "plugged in" more and more weddings are requesting you do the opposite. Trust the photographer to get all of the gorgeous shots you're tempted to take, and respect the couples wishes if cell phones are banned. The ceremony is a time to be fully present and engaged with the couple, so save the Instagram stories for the reception. 
  • Bring a Card - Gifts are not always necessary (or within means) and that's perfectly fine. Your friends are not throwing a wedding just for the swag. But you should always take the time to write your congratulations and best wishes in a card for the newlyweds. They'll treasure your words and advice long after that cutting board on their registry cracks in half. Shop our collection here! 

Did we miss anything important? Share it with us on Instagram! And remember above all else to have fun, celebrate and enjoy the moment. It goes by so quickly. 

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