No Plus Ones? 14 Ways You’re Probably Messing Up Wedding Etiquette

September 11, 2013  |  
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Wedding etiquette is so intricate it’s easy to let your manners slip through some cracks. But just because you’re the bride, doesn’t mean you get to do whatever you want; some mistakes will make your guests feel slighted.

Leaving out the location on your save the date card

Just because you and your fiancé have lived in the same town for your entire lives doesn’t guarantee you’ll be throwing your wedding there. If your guests are going to save the date, they need to know if they’ll be saving a couple extra dates before and after for travel. State the city of the wedding, even if you don’t know the venue yet.

Choosing an inconvenient day

With wedding costs what they are, it’s no surprise many couples are opting for a Friday wedding or a Sunday wedding, instead of the highly sought after Saturday one. But having a Sunday wedding means your guests can’t really drink (it’s true) and having a Friday one means they have to take off work. If you are going to choose an off day, do Friday evening to give more guests a chance of getting there.

Having a morning ceremony and an evening reception

If you’re religious and a morning ceremony at a church is a must, at least cluster all wedding-related events together; let your guests off the hook by the late afternoon. Having a morning ceremony and an evening reception puts your guests in a weird spot: all the excitement of the morning, with down time before the evening, will make them want to nap. Then they’ll be groggy for the reception.


Being wishy washy on the guest list

It doesn’t matter if you’re really close with one aunt and have never met the other; all aunts are to be invited if one aunt is. When it comes to the guest list, being polite is more important than being 100% happy. Sorry but, anyone who feels slighted will hold that over your head forever.


Being inconsistent on plus ones

In an ideal world, you could only include significant others in couples you think will last: hey, why would you want to pay $30 for the filet mignon plate of a girlfriend you know will be gone by Christmas? But, the truth is you need to be unbiased on plus ones. Have set rules like only married or engaged couples get plus ones, or anyone in a relationship over a year gets a plus one.

Not specifying when you’re walking down the isle

Most people aren’t clear on what you mean if you put down 7 pm as the start time for your ceremony. Does this mean that’s when pre-ceremony drinks happen? Is that when people are seated for the ceremony? Is that when you walk down the isle? Make it clear so you don’t say “I do” in front of a bunch of empty chairs or worse, people still being seated.

Using pre-printed labels on the invitation

This does not show much enthusiasm on your part about your guest list. Ask a friend with gorgeous handwriting to help out and at the very least, handwrite the guests’ names on the envelopes.

Inviting someone you already know can’t make it

After getting the replies on the save the date notes, make a list of everyone who said they can’t make it. Now don’t send them invitations. Sending an invitation to someone who already RSVP’d no makes it seem you’re just asking for gifts.


Having a cash bar

In the big scheme of things, what it costs you to at least provide free beer and wine is nothing after everything else you’ve already spent on the wedding. To your guests, having to pay for their own drinks all night after paying for gifts/outfits/hotel rooms/cabs/bridal showers/bachelorette parties is irritating. Once they arrive at the wedding, their wallets should remain shut.

Failing to feed the entertainment

If you plan on having a live band around for more than three hours, make sure they’re fed. Check for a “vendor meal” with your venue—many include this in the price. A hungry band is not a happy band, and that brings down the mood of the whole event.


Failing to personally greet each guest

If you’re just going to wing it on trying to greet everyone, somebody is going to be forgotten. And while having a receiving line may feel outdated, consider this: you can spend 15 minutes making sure you greet everyone in a receiving line, or the entire wedding worried that you missed someone.

Including registry info on the invitation

Believe it or not, giving a wedding gift isn’t required. And a minimum amount spent is definitely not required. Having expectations of wedding gifts is pretty demanding. Don’t include registry information on the wedding invite. It can be on the website as a helpful suggestion or the bridal shower invite since bridal showers are made for showering the bride with gifts, but that’s it.

Skipping bridal party gifts

Your bridesmaids are spending a lot of money on your wedding between the dresses, the bridal shower, the bachelorette party and attending the wedding. Expect to spend between $50 and $150 per bridesmaid on bridal gifts.


Sending thank-you cards with pre-printed messages

This is even worse than sending wedding invitations with pre-printed messages. This makes it look like you didn’t even read the cards on your gift and don’t know what is from who. Again, take the time to personally (or have a friend with nice handwriting) write thank you notes.

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