Timeless Rules of Wedding Etiquette

Many traditional wedding etiquette and traditions are outdated (the bride can only wear white, or her family must pay a dowry to the groom’s family). However, some endure and are still followed today. Despite living in an era where weddings have become increasingly individualized and modern, many traditional wedding etiquette rules still apply. Are you looking for some tips on the proper etiquette for weddings? It would be best if you keep the following wedding etiquette rules in mind when planning a wedding.

1. It’s Always Important to RSVP

You’re likely to see an “RSVP by” date on an invitation when you’re invited to a wedding. In any event, it is essential to pay attention to this date and give the couple your response before the deadline, whether their invitation includes an RSVP card and envelope, or they ask you to RSVP on their wedding website. Although you may think the RSVP date is random, it is determined by several factors. For the catering company, wedding cake baker, and venue to get an exact headcount, it’s crucial that you reply as soon as possible.

The worst thing you can do is not to RSVP at all. There has been so much planning, like getting a seating chart made to estimating a headcount for the reception dinner. If you show up unannounced, it will put them in a bind in terms of planning where you should sit, as well as for deciding whether there will be food and drinks available.

2. Attending a wedding in white is not a good idea

It’s still a bad idea to wear white to the wedding shower, bachelorette party, or even the actual wedding ceremony, even if the bride herself doesn’t wear it. Fortunately, wedding etiquette has let go of an outdated concept about black not being appropriate for a wedding, so feel free to wear that stunning little black dress to any of the wedding events.

3. Wedding invitations should not contain registry information

While you may have carefully chosen your registry and spent hours curating it on Amazon or scanning items at Williams Sonoma, the address where you registered shouldn’t be included on the invitation. Your guests shouldn’t feel obligated to bring you a gift when they attend your wedding. However, the registry details can be included on your invitation or the wedding website so the guests will know where to go shopping.

4. Thanks for the Gifts: Send Thank You Cards

It would help if you wrote a thank-you note to your guests who bring gifts to your wedding or bridal shower. The deadline for your thank you note doesn’t have a hard and fast rule, but you shouldn’t wait too long (try not to delay more than two months).

5. Plus-ones are not always allowed

The best way to celebrate a wedding is with your sweetheart. But you could even invite your friend or roommate if you’re feeling left out. It is a wise idea not to assume you may bring a plus-one to the wedding unless your invitation explicitly mentions your plus-one or asks you to include one. Even though it seems unfair that you aren’t allowed to bring a plus-one, keep in mind that the venue may only accommodate so many people, or the budget may be limited. Respect their wishes by leaving your plus-one at home.

6. Be on time for the ceremony

Even though many weddings do not begin exactly when indicated on the invitation, this does not give you a license to arrive 15 minutes after the scheduled time. The couple’s special moment will be diminished if you arrive late to the ceremony. It would be a good idea to arrive thirty minutes before the ceremony’s start time so you can choose your seat.

There are, however, times when things go wrong, so if you’re running late, proceed directly to the reception area. There’s a good chance the couple won’t even notice if the guest list is particularly long.

7. A sixpence in the bride’s shoe

Many couples still wear something borrowed on wedding days, something old, something new, and something blue. Still, the famous saying ends with “and a sixpence in her shoe,” a good luck coin is traditionally given by the bride’s father to symbolize a prosperous and long life together.

8. Wedding cake charms

Historically, Southerners have placed charms inside wedding cakes, typically with ribbons attached, since Victorian times. “Cake pulls” were held where guests would pull out charms decorated with a fortune for the future before the cake was sliced.

9. Seeing each other before the ceremony

Modern couples often decide to get portraits out of the way before the ceremony to enjoy the post-ceremony festivities. Despite its unfortunate origins (essentially, back in the day, marriage was seen as a business transaction, and this was a way for the groom to avoid backing out), we think it makes for a more memorable experience.

10. Best wishes to the newlyweds

Last but not least, it’s always proper to congratulate the happy couple when attending a wedding. You should extend your congratulations and best wishes to them for this significant moment in their lives. It is a blessing that no strict rules dictate “best wishes for the bride” or “congratulations for the groom” anymore, and therefore you can express your happiness in any way you choose.

11. Saying goodbye to each set of parents

At any party, being ghosted is never proper etiquette. However, at weddings, the couple’s lack of time to say their goodbyes has become the expectation. Having a couple of casual dates with friends is okay, but parents also need to be thanked for a beautiful night before leaving the venue as a married couple. Taking the time to do this small act of kindness will ensure that the bride has a warm place in her new in-laws’ hearts.

12. A pine tree planted outside your home

The pine tree was traditionally seen as a symbol of new beginnings. Holland and Switzerland, for example, have customs of planting trees at newly-built houses to bring good luck to the couple. It’s a fantastic idea for a bride and groom to do this together the day before their wedding as a way to kick off their life together.