When you’re planning your wedding, no matter what you do or where you get married or how many guests you plan on inviting, there’s bound to be wedding etiquette mistakes or issues that arise or some questionable thing that sneaks its way in. And despite your best efforts, stuff happens. That’s where we come in!
EDITOR’S NOTE: Updated 2020 to reflect updated wedding etiquette mistakes. :)
Since we’re here to help you plan a stress-free wedding day, we’ve rounded up the most common wedding etiquette mistakes that happen so you can avoid them! Besides, it’s not fair to assume that once you become a Bride-to-Be you automatically know all of the unwritten, unspoken rules.
Now, some of these are pretty obvious, while others may surprise you. One must not take wedding planning too seriously. Mistakes can accidentally happen — and if you make one, don’t start freaking out or turning red or thinking it’s the end of the world. Most things can be fixed or made right — promise! — so if you’re guilty of one of these just shoot us an email or DM us on IG and we’ll try to help you fix the faux pas. :)
Wedding Etiquette Mistakes to Avoid
These are written in a top ten format, so we’re counting down from ten to one.
10. Don’t mention registry information on your wedding invitation.
People know that it’s tradition to give the couple a wedding gift. So, rest assured: they get it. Don’t mention where you are registered or how you have a preference for cash or that you prefer ‘no boxed gifts’. Sidebar: That’s the tackiest thing I’ve ever heard. No boxed gifts? You’re kidding. Anyway, keep that info far, far away and let guests pick and choose on their own accord.
Oh, and just as a note: it’s perfectly acceptable to include registry information on the bridal shower invitation. But still, don’t ask for ‘cash gifts please’.
9. Don’t over-share on social media.
Facebook and Instagram make sharing your big day so easy; too easy, in fact, and now some couples tend to overshare.
As proper etiquette, don’t mention any wedding specific details (“we registered here!” + “here’s what the invitation looks like!”, etc.) unless every single person on your friend list is invited. Of course, “we’re engaged!!!!” with eight thousand exclamation marks, the ring, the proposal story, etc. is all definitely welcome and appreciated. People love a good proposal story.
Want to share more of the specifics? Instead of putting it all on blast, consider a closed group where only the people who are invited to the actual wedding are in the private group. Better yet, make a free wedding website for guests only and include the website address on save the dates or invitations.
PRO TIP: If you need help with wedding etiquette on invitation wording, read this article!
8. Don’t tell guests about a morning-after brunch…
… unless they’re invited to it. Story time!
A friend of a friend went to a wedding across the country. She asked the bride where she should stay, you know, what hotels are nearby and such. The bride suggested the one where the reception was held — a rather pricey one, might I add — and coincidentally told her where ‘we’ll all be having brunch will be the next morning’. Apparently “we’ll all” didn’t include my friend, because she never got the invite. Whoops.
If you’re having a day-after brunch, check out these cute invites for it! By Lea Delavaris.
7. Don’t send out B- or C-list invites after A-list guests decline.
The funny thing about sending wedding invitations is, you will want to send them all at one time. In one giant stack. All with the same postage and ready to go addressed and stamped. A wedding invitation is like a spark, setting social media and text messages and phone calls ablaze with quick two minute convos of, “I got invited to so&so‘s wedding, did you? Are you going?” People love to talk about weddings and typically if someone doesn’t get the same invitation within a day or two they assume they didn’t make the cut.
So, suppose you had a guest list and people RSVPed and some couldn’t make it. You may be thinking, hey, open seats! Let’s fill them with people we kinda-sorta weren’t sure about inviting in the first place. So you send late invitations to B or C list people… right?
Don’t do it. They’ll be able to tell and they’ll feel like an afterthought.
6. Don’t assign jobs to your guests at your wedding.
A person I know attended a wedding where the bride sent out a photo of the wedding invitation and made a group on Facebook, invited all of her friends list to it, and then didn’t even realize how awkward it would be since not all 250+ Facebook friends were invited to the wedding. Whoops. But wait, there’s more…
And then in this group on Facebook, she asked people to bring dishes to pass at the reception.
And, to add insult to injury, when guests arrived at the reception with dishes to pass, the bride and groom assigned the task of serving the food to a few guests who arrived early.
Don’t do that.
5. Don’t send a save the date to someone unless they’re invited to the wedding.
It seems easy enough, but you’d be surprised at how often this happens. It happens usually because the couple is so excited to send the save the dates out and tell everyone they know and then they realize that, holy crap, that’s going to be expensive. But by that time people are already thinking they’re invited…
Sticky situation indeed. Instead, keep your save the dates limited to very close friends and family.
Ooh, this rule also applies: don’t invite someone to the bridal shower who isn’t invited to the wedding. That’s a big one!
4. Don’t forget to set a place at dinner for your wedding vendors.
Of course, you don’t have to but I think it’s only polite to do so. Your wedding photographer and planner and officiant get hungry, too!
3. Don’t forget to send thank you notes.
It’s a requirement. Have you ever not received a thank you note for a wedding gift? I’ll bet you still remember that.
2. Don’t treat your bridesmaids like dirt.
Bridesmaids are not your hired help!
Luckily, the brides whom I’ve had the honor of being a Bridesmaid or Maid of Honor always treated me nicely.
But a friend of mine stood up in her friend’s wedding and here’s how it went down: the bride asked her to be a bridesmaid; she accepted. Weeks later, the bride started demanding things. Come here, do this, help me with that, call the vendors about this.
That’s so not the way it’s supposed to work.
Bridesmaids are like the bride’s crew. They’re a support system, sure! A helping hand, at times, yes! A friend to talk to and share in your wedding excitement? Of course! To do things for you at a moment’s notice and be here and there and respond to your demands and put the rest of your life on hold? Nope. (Read this and this one, too! It’ll keep things in perspective.)
If you want help with your wedding, hire a wedding planner!
1. Don’t invite someone over text.
Another funny thing with technology: it makes people lazy. Proper wedding etiquette dictates that invitations ought only be sent via postal mail (or digital invites are becoming popular due to recent restrictions for weddings and bridal showers). Even if it’s your second cousin twice removed or your casual friend from work, send an invitation via mail if possible. :)
BONUS: Don’t put your wedding registry on invitations.
Wedding registry info shouldn’t be printed on invitations at all. Instead, here is where to put the info for your bridal registry.
And that just about wraps it up: the worst wedding etiquette mistakes. Which of these did you know about, and which ones are new to you? What is the worst etiquette mistakes you’ve encountered? Tell us in the comment box below.