Bridezilla Begone! Wedding Etiquette for the Happy Couple-to-Be

BY Sandy Lindsey TIMEAugust 11, 2022 PRINT

Wedding planning is extremely stressful. Don’t let the near-constant choices, budget constraints, and resulting passionate emotions lead you into making any of these common faux pas.

Invitation Protocol

Nothing shouts “Tacky!” faster than putting your registry information on the invitation. It looks like you’re only inviting them for the gift. Your guests will ask where you’re registered; if you’re really concerned, however, spread the registry info via word of mouth.

Likewise, don’t ask in the fancy invitation script for “cash, not gifts.” If you’re trying to save for a first home or something similarly significant, the polite way to go about it is to register at a cash registry. Let guests know that they are contributing to something meaningful to you and your spouse-to-be. Never make cash the only option, as some traditionalists prefer to give a tangible gift; respect that.

Generous Libations

Weddings are expensive, and the bar bill is a significant part of the reception budget. Don’t give in to the temptation of a cash bar. Guests have already spent money to attend your wedding (especially if it’s a destination wedding) and have probably purchased a very nice gift. Also, it disrupts the elegance of your event for the guests to pull cash or credit cards out throughout the reception.

Instead, consider serving beer, wine, and a signature cocktail to cut down on expense; or you can limit the full bar to cocktail hour and have beer and wine during dinner. Other alternatives are to check if the venue will allow you to bring your own liquor, or you can skip hard liquor altogether.

The Dreaded Time Gap

If your wedding and reception are at different locations, there will be a time gap. The ideal is to allow enough time for guests to get from one location to the other, but not become hungry. A 60-minute—90-minute max—cocktail hour with small, bite-sized food allows enough time for wedding photos and so on.

If church and reception venue scheduling leave a larger time gap, offer entertainment such as a map of the town for sightseeing, keeping in mind that your guests won’t want to dirty their wedding clothes. Do your best to avoid this situation, or you may find your guests arriving to your reception full from the nearest restaurant.

Seating Singles

Banish the socially awkward singles table. Your single guests are treasured family and friends, or you wouldn’t have invited them, so treat them with dignity. Have they met any of the guests at the party already? If yes, seat them at the table with that person, even if it makes the table number uneven. If they don’t know anyone, they will have to be seated with strangers; try to place them with people they have something in common with: university, neighborhood, career, even favorite sports team. You’re simply looking for a conversation starter, and the fact that they all know you will take it from there.

Delayed Thank-You Notes

While it’s tradition to save the top tier of the wedding cake to eat a year later for continued good luck and prosperity, you don’t have a year to send out your “thank-you notes,” no matter what anyone might tell you.

For those who send their gifts early, including gifts purchased through your registry, take the opportunity to save yourself some writer’s cramp down the road and send the note now, keeping a list of who you’ve responded to. For presents or cash or gift cards brought to the wedding, you’ve got a two- to three-month window, max.

And in case it needs to be said, all thank-you cards must be hand-written and mailed. You’re welcome.

Sandy Lindsey is an award-winning writer who covers home, gardening, DIY projects, pets, and boating. She has two books with McGraw-Hill.
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