Just because your family isn’t paying your fiancé with a dowry of livestock doesn’t mean that having proper wedding etiquette is as old-school as it may initially sound. These days, the rules of wedding conduct are less about mentioning which family member is paying for the party on the invitation or what color attire your guests might be wearing, and more about using common sense to make the overall experience enjoyable for everyone involved. But you’d be surprised how many people neglect to abide by these unspoken codes of bridal behavior.
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Weddings are the culmination of all the love that brought you and your fiancé together, and celebrating that happiness with the people who mean the most to you. There is no reason for you to have girdle-forced grimaces in all of your wedding images, and the back of photo-happy uncle Johnny’s head does not have to appear in every wedding photographer’s shot (sorry, uncle Johnny, but leave your “cool, new camera” at home).
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You want your nuptials to be filled with nothing but joy and festivities, but don’t let yourself get too caught up in the details of the day and forget to enjoy yourself — no one wants to see a harried bride with hives, and you don’t want to remember the “happiest day of your life” as the most stressful one, too.
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In order to keep you from committing any modern-day wedding faux pas, we’ve compiled a helpful list of the ten worst mistakes that brides and grooms, wedding planners, and guests are guilty of making on the big day. From having your friends and family empty out their wallets to fill up their cups, to leaving your wedding vendors with empty stomachs, these wedding etiquette blunders will leave your party-goers feeling less than celebratory. Take a look and make sure that you or your guests don’t fall into any of these classless categories.
For the Newlyweds: Adding Registry Info to the Invitation
While doing this is tempting, it’s a major wedding etiquette no-no and a total turn-off to your guests. Save the gift-gab for your wedding website or wedding app. You can politely direct guests to your registry by linking your site or app on your Save the Date, keeping things classy and interactive.
For the Newlyweds: Having Cash Bar
Your guests dressed up, drove, and gave you a gift, and you’re making them throw down for some drinks? Don’t be that couple. If budget is the problem, at least have two kinds of wine available, and a signature drink to keep your party from going dry.
The Worst Mistakes Wedding Guests Make
There’s a certain level of behavior that’s expected of guests at weddings. They’re often quite expensive—those raucous DJs and awesome food don’t come cheap—so it’s understandable that the people running the show can be a little particular when it comes to wedding guests’ behavior. They don’t want anyone disrupting the flow of the event they’ve worked so hard to make happen. And often the guests don’t see all the effort behind the wedding.
Wondering what blunders you might have made in the past? Curious about what you should avoid doing at all costs in the future? Look no further! We’re here to help you put your best wedding guest foot forward.
The Absolute Rudest Things You Can Do at a Wedding
First of all, if you RSVP'd "yes" and don't feel like going anymore, that's not a good reason to skip.
Weddings can be incredible. Or they can be a nightmare. Or a bit of both. But one thing is for sure: Special events are only as great as the guests who attend them. And you never want to be the one to put a damper on someone&rsquos big day.
We&rsquove all seen egregious behavior go down at a wedding. Who among us hasn&rsquot brought a date who drank so much he fell on the dance floor and knocked over the bride?
But rude wedding etiquette isn&rsquot just about the big, embarrassing scenes. There are lots of small- and medium-sized ways to be that guest who adds extra stress whether you mean to or not. To really bring your best self to someone&rsquos special day, it&rsquos important to respect their wishes and show up with love and awareness of how much the couple poured into their event.
From what you wear to what gift you bring (hint: use the wedding registry!), brush up on these tips from event planners and etiquette experts to make sure you avoid common faux pas and arrive at your next wedding as an A+ guest.
2. Messing Up the Marriage License
There are lots of rules surrounding marriage licenses that you might not be familiar with. For instance, if you get your license 61 days before your wedding in Pennsylvania, you won't be able to legally marry on your wedding day because a license is valid in the state for only 60 days. (You could still have the ceremony, though—guests wouldn't ever know you weren't legally married on that day.) Obtain your license the day before your wedding, and it's possible you may not get it in time (some states have a three-day waiting period). A common mishap for those marrying for a second time is forgetting your official divorce papers when you get the certificate. Find other things no one tells you about getting a marriage license here.
You Buy Your Wedding Dress Before Choosing the Venue
Before booking your bridal salon appointments, make sure you know the type of wedding you're planning and where. "Yes, you can wear whatever you want, but if you purchase a low-key gown and you end up booking the Plaza, you may wish you went bigger and bolder, with the venue in mind," says Ashley Douglass, owner and creative director of Ashley Douglass Events.
If it's your wedding day, first you should know that it's very hard for anyone actually to upstage you. All of those people are gathered there because they love you and can't wait to witness your special day. If someone is drunkenly singing along, or doing the worm on the dance floor, most people will remember it as but one detail of a day all about you. No, you won't have every guest's attention 100% of the time, but that's normal. If some unplanned hijinks are happening on the dance floor, your DJ can switch things up with a slower song, or interrupt with a ritual like cake cutting. Best of all though, is for you to be as relaxed and entertained as the rest of your guests will be. Like the age-old axiom says, "Don't sweat the small stuff. It's all small stuff."
One of the trickiest parts of making a wedding guest list is deciding who gets to bring a date. Though some couples' budgets allow all single guests to bring a date of their choosing, most couples don't have that luxury.
Can my best guy friend be a part of my bridal party?
"When you have a strategy for a celebration of love, you should think, 'Who do we want to honor and recognize?" says Blais Comeau. If the answer is your best guy friend, you should absolutely include him in your bridal party. Several couples have fused the idea of bridesmaids and groomsmen into mixed-gender wedding parties. Consider calling him a “bridesman” and have him participate in all the same activities as the ladies.
The same goes for grooms who want their close gal friends as part of the group. Christen her “best woman” or “groomslady.” One of our wedding party highlights included two bridesmen who carried bouquets down the aisle. Have fun with it!
A Fool-Proof Guide to Proper Wedding Etiquette
Are you required to invite someone to your wedding if they invited you to theirs?
Weddings are a magical day meant to celebrate love and lifelong partnership, but they can get a little confusing at times. As a guest or member of the wedding party , there are plenty of rules to follow from the moment you receive that carefully-crafted invitation in the mail. While some etiquette rules vary by country or religion, most hold true just about anywhere.
We sat down with renowned event planner-to-the-stars David Monn to uncover the truth about what you should do&mdashand definitely not do&mdashwhen attending a wedding. So, before you check yes on that invite or plan on bringing a plus one, take a look at these helpful tips that might just save you from committing a tragic wedding faux pas.
1. Is it okay to wear white to a wedding?
"Probably the worst faux pas, I think ever, is for someone to wear white at a wedding," says Monn. Per tradition, white is a color to be worn exclusively by the bride, as it ensures all eyes are her during her special day. Guests should stick with colors that don't draw too much attention&mdashlike black&mdashwhich Monn says is a safe bet because "your eye never sees black. You become part of the void."
According to Monn, there is only one instance in which guests should wear white. "If the bride wants you to. and it's stated on the invitation. It has to be a very specific request," he says.
2. Can the groom wear white to the wedding?
When it comes to the groom's attire, the colors he wears are just as important. "If it's a formal wedding in the summertime, then men should wear a white dinner jacket," Monn says. "That's what it was meant for, and almost nobody even knows that anymore." For this reason, depending on the setting of the wedding, the groom can also step away from the traditional black tuxedo suit.
3. Does your wedding have to fit with the season?
When planning your wedding, seasonality is a huge factor that affects everything from the flowers to the colors of the bridesmaid's dresses. "The season means something, because the season actually tells us how we feel," Monn says. "When it gets cooler out in the fall and the leaves turn, we wear cashmere and choose colors like warm and burnt oranges. The colors and fabrics make us feel a certain way about the season, and a wedding should absolutely be the same thing."
4. Can you post pictures of the reception on social media?
While your social media page might be the perfect place to document your life and everything going on around you, you might want to think twice before posting at a wedding. Many couples consider the ceremony to be a private event for the people they've chosen to invite&mdashnot to mention, having guests with their iPhones in the air can be an eye sore in the couple's professional wedding photos. However, if the bride and groom specifically encourage you to use their wedding hashtag, it's safe to assume they're fine with you posting photos of the big day.
5. Should you buy a gift off of the wedding registry?
"If the couple really needs things, then their registry will be filled with the items that they're working toward owning for their home," says Monn. If you know the spouses-to-be need a little help getting their lives started together, then the registry is the way to go. Otherwise, making sure the gift is thoughtful and personal.
6. Do you need to buy a separate gift for the engagement party?
While an engagement gift is always appreciated, it's not a requirement, according to Monn. Also, remember to send your gift in advance, as bringing a box or gift bag to the event can cause clutter and confusion.
7. What should I avoid saying at the wedding?
"Even if you have the worst seat or something was bad, never share that never share bad news on a good day," Monn says. Weddings are all about love and celebration, and bringing up negative comments only takes away from the magic.
8. Should I give the bride and groom any wedding planning advice?
"If a friend asks you, that's one thing. Offering is not," Monn says. While you may have good intentions and think you're being helpful by recommending an amazing caterer or venue, it's best to keep any suggestions to yourself unless specifically asked by the bride or groom.
"You have to trust in yourself first, because when you start to second guess or listen to somebody else's opinion, you only get confused," says Monn.
9. What are my duties as the maid of honor or bridesmaid?
Luckily for any bridesmaids or maids of honor, most brides like to take care of the wedding responsibilities on their own. There are still a few duties, however, that fall on you if you are part of the wedding party. Maids of honor are often tasked with throwing a bridal shower and helping the bride with anything she needs before (and on) the big day. The same is true for the best man.
"It's much more about emotional support and not adding any of your drama into the bride's day," Monn says.
10. How do you narrow down the guest list?
In the past, wedding guest lists were composed primarily of the bride and groom's family, with a few friends as part of the bridal party. Nowadays, however, guest lists include co-workers, extended family members, and friends of the couples' parents. This can make it difficult to narrow down the number of attendees. In order to make planning your guest list a little easier, Monn recommends creating some guidelines.
"If the person does not know both the bride and the groom as a couple, then you might consider leaving them off," says Monn. "If someone has been dating their significant other for less than a year, they don't necessarily have to be invited. And somebody that is not in a relationship absolutely does not get a plus one."
11. Should you bring your kids to the wedding?
Kids are just as much a part of the family as anyone else, and having them participate in the ceremony&mdasheither as a flower girl or ring bearer&mdashcan make for some fantastic memories and photo opportunities. But when it comes to the reception, most couples prefer an adults-only affair. "I know almost no one who invites children to a wedding," Monn says. For this reason, it's always important to read the invitation carefully and check with the bride and groom before assuming your kids are welcome.
12. Should you invite someone to the wedding if they invited you to theirs?
"You should not feel obligated to [invite someone] just because they've invited you to their wedding," Monn says. Size and resource restrictions based on your budget or wedding plan are a completely valid excuse for reciprocating a wedding invitation.
13. Should you send an invitation even if you know they cannot make it?
"If you know they can't come but they would be on your list, then you should definitely send an invitation," Monn says. While a far-away guest or older relative may not be able to attend the actual wedding, making them feel included and letting them know you were thinking of them is always appreciated.
14. How do you keep guests from getting bored or anxious?
As the bride or groom, it's important to look at every guest individually as if they are the most important person at the wedding, not yourself, according to Monn. If you've planned your wedding efficiently, every single event should move at a smooth and timely pace that keeps guests from getting fidgety or bored. "It's very important to make certain that you're not doing things that will change how someone is having a good time," said Monn.
Whatever you do, just be sure to keep the party moving. Never leave guests sitting anywhere for longer than 45 minutes, including during dinner, and always take into account travel time and other activities that may seem small but might actually accumulate and prove overly time consuming.
15. How should you write your wedding speech?
When it comes to speeches, there should be no more than three: one for the bride's parents, one for the groom's parents, and possibly one other speech reserved for someone important. "And that other person's speech should be incredibly edited&mdashnot a 'you had to be there' story," says Monn. "You should always be elevating people, never taking them back to a stage in time that wasn't fun." Make sure the speech is short&mdash about two-minutes long&mdashand serves to promote the new journey the spouses-to-be are going on together.
16. How do you avoid getting stressed out on your wedding day?
While your wedding will be one of the most memorable days of your life, placing too much pressure on yourself by trying to make everything flawless will only cause unnecessary stress. Try your best to live in the moment, and remember that most of the time, your guests will be having too much fun to notice slight imperfections. Ultimately, your wedding is about the people you're celebrating with&mdashnot the minor details!
20 Social Etiquette Mistakes You Should Stop Making by Age 30
Don't let these social faux pas leave you off the invite list.
Universal manners are a thing of the past. Nowadays, people aren't afraid to curse in public, close the door in a stranger's face, and stare at their devices all through dinner. But some of us still yearn for the old days of "please" and "thank you." "People like to be around people who show respect and courtesy for them," says Patricia Napier-Fitzpatrick, founder and president of The Etiquette School of New York. "The reason these rules were devised in the first place is to make people more comfortable. When you practice social etiquette, it's easier to make friends and it shows you respect them."
So, how can we swing the pendulum back in favor of politeness? Well, you can start by ensuring that you're not making any of these social etiquette mistakes.
Saying "thank you" in person upon receiving a gift or going to an interview often feels like more than enough gratitude. However, if you're not actually writing a thank you note after the fact, you're ignoring some pretty basic rules of social etiquette. And writing thank you letters isn't just beneficial for those on the receiving end: Researchers at the University of Miami found that expressing gratitude was associated with greater energy, alertness, and enthusiasm.
We've all been there before: You're hanging out with a friend and you randomly run into someone you know and they don't. In your confusion or haste, you accidentally forget to introduce the two, both an etiquette faux pas and an awkward moment for all. Not introducing people can make everyone involved feel uncomfortable, or worse, make them feel like you don't think they're worth introducing. Luckily, all it takes is a brief mention of each person's name and how you know them and that uncomfortable situation will be a thing of the past.
It is often assume that if someone asks to go out to eat, it's their responsibility to pick up the check. Although this may have been true at one point, if you're going to lunch with a friend or even on a date, it's always your best bet to assume that you'll be going Dutch.
"You can't assume that someone else is treating you just because they've asked you to a meal," says Napier-Fitzpatrick. "Always take enough for your meal, and ask if you can help. If they say no, say thank you, or ask to pay for the tip."
Just because you didn't cook a meal doesn't mean that you're absolved of all responsibility after the fact. On the contrary, not offering to clean up when someone else has cooked is akin to saying, "Hey, why don't you do some more work on top of the hours you just put in?"
While the chef may deny your offer to help with the dishes, it's always polite to at least ask. And if it's your spouse serving you a home-cooked meal, it's especially important that you offer up your services: One 2016 study from the Council on Contemporary Families found that inequality when it comes to housework can put a huge strain on relationships and can decrease overall satisfaction in a marriage.
The anonymity—or perceived anonymity—of online conversations can make even the tamest folks prone to arguing with their digital nemeses. In fact, research conducted by VitalSmarts found that, among 2,698 respondents, 88 percent believed that people are less polite on social media than in person. Worse yet, 76 percent of those polled said they had personally witnessed a social media fight.
While it may be tempting to tell your annoying neighbor, a humblebragging Redditor, or a Twitter troll why you're right and they're wrong, doing so is an undeniable etiquette faux pas, and, thanks to the nature of the internet, one that might follow you around for some time.
We all have those phone calls we absolutely can't miss. However, if you're in the middle of dinner with friends or on a date, you should politely excuse yourself instead of taking the call indoors no matter how noisy the restaurant you're at is already, it's undeniably rude to talk on the phone inside.
While it's always a little awkward to feel like someone's peering into your soul during a casual conversation, avoiding eye contact altogether is equally—if not more—uncomfortable. "Making eye contact when you're having a conversation with another person shows respect for that other person and shows that you have confidence," explains Napier-Fitzpatrick.
So, how much time should we be spending looking at the person we're talking to? "We should make it 40 to 60 percent of the time when we're talking to someone," Napier-Fitzpatrick recommends. "It makes you a better listener and it shows that you're interested in what the other person is saying."
"The more, the merrier" doesn't apply to every situation, unfortunately. No matter what the occasion, you should always ask your host before you bring someone along to an event who wasn't specifically invited, even if it's your significant other. And when it comes to weddings especially, there's never an excuse for bringing an uninvited guest those meals are expensive, and wedding planners plan out seating charts and meal counts far in advance!
We get it: You love your dog, and you want them with you everywhere you go. However, actually bringing them with you to every event and occasion is a major etiquette blunder. Not only is bringing your pet to certain places like restaurants unsanitary and a potential safety hazard, but the onus also shouldn't be on other people to let you know that they don't want to dig in next to your dog. You should always assume that places aren't dog-friendly unless you have specific evidence to the contrary.
Just because you forgot your headphones and you have a long commute ahead of you doesn't mean that everyone should be forced to listen to your favorite podcast. There are few things more disruptive to others than playing something at full volume in an enclosed space. When you find yourself sans headphones, opt for a silent activity instead, and resume your binge-watching when you're in the privacy of your own home.
We all run late from time to time, and that's totally understandable. However, being a consistently late person is one etiquette mistake you can't afford to keep making. "[Being consistently late] shows that your time is more valuable than their time. It's showing disrespect for the person you're meeting. It's a personality flaw, for sure, but it's also an etiquette flaw," says Napier-Fitzpatrick.
Thankfully, there are ways to stop making this mistake. According to research from UCLA, envisioning your task complete may help you accomplish it more effectively and in a more timely manner.
Yes, sometimes it's hard to identify the person you're talking about using descriptors alone. But with that said, pointing at people is still a serious social faux pas. This gesture makes people feel singled out and can lead them to assume you're gossiping about them, even if all you're actually doing is complimenting their outfit or mentioning how helpful they were on a recent work project.
Though it's generally nice to make people feel included, using the "reply all" feature isn't the way to do it. Considering that the average person receives a staggering 122 emails on a typical day, replying all when something isn't actually must-have information is nothing short of rude. When you forward a meme or other non-essential info via reply all, you're taking time out of every recipient's day and potentially even stressing them out because of it. According to a 2015 study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, checking email less frequently was a significant stress reducer for study subjects, so try to be a part of the solution and not the problem.
While "please" and "thank you" are part of most people's vocabularies by the time they hit their 30s, that doesn't mean they're using them anywhere near enough. If you want to be the most polite version of yourself, these expressions of humility and gratitude should be used every time you're asking for something or have received a courtesy from someone else, your S.O. included. In fact, research published in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that being in a relationship where gratitude was readily expressed was significantly correlated with increased overall well-being.
"The person in front of you comes first," says Napier-Fitzpatrick. "If you're having lunch with someone, your phone shouldn't even be somewhere you should see it." And if you do have a message or call that you can't afford to miss while you're out with someone? "Your phone should be in your pocket on vibrate, and you should let the person know ahead of time that you might be taking a call and excuse yourself to do it," Napier-Fitzpatrick recommends.
Not every date you go on is going to be a winner. However, for those concerned about social etiquette, ghosting isn't an option, especially when you're well out of your reckless teenage years. Though one study conducted by Plenty of Fish found that 80 percent of study subjects had been ghosted, you shouldn't be one of the many people who ignores text messages instead of admitting the hard truth. Regardless of how the night went, follow up within 24 hours to let your date know that you'd either like to see them again or don't see things working out. It may be an uncomfortable conversation, but it's worth having.
While it's safe to assume that a host isn't expecting you to bring a prepared dish or enough wine for everyone at their party, showing up empty-handed to a party is a major etiquette mistake. If you've been invited to an event, bring something to show your gratitude—something like a bottle of wine, a bouquet of flowers, or just a fun little gift for the host.
Many parents find their children endlessly delightful. Unfortunately, though, not everyone feels that way, particularly when a child shows up somewhere uninvited. So, before you decide that your little ones are welcome guests at any event, make sure you ask first, or you'll risk not being on the invitation list in the future.
"You should never assume that your children, your dogs, or cats are invited. There are as many people who want children at events as those who don't," says Napier-Fitzpatrick. "Don't be upset if they're not invited. It may not be a party for children."
While people from other countries may be appalled by America's forced-tipping culture, that doesn't mean that you can skip it here in the States. Unfortunately, plenty of people still skip the gratuity, however in fact, according to a study from CreditCards.com, 20 percent of those polled said they don't tip when they go out to eat. Your server is counting on that money—they have bills to pay, after all—and, considering that virtually every restaurant in America assumes their employees will be tipped, there's no excuse for feigning ignorance about the total cost of your meal.
If you receive an invite to an event—on Facebook or otherwise—it's essential that you RSVP in a timely manner. Even if it seems like a relatively casual gathering, you're making the host's job harder by making them guess how many guests they can expect and thusly how much food or drink they should buy. If there's a formal RSVP card, make sure you mail it back with as much information as is requested as soon as you have an answer. And if you're RSVPing digitally, make sure you know The Single Best Way to Sign Your Emails.
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You Don't Ask for Help When You Need It
If you start to feel too overwhelmed as a bridesmaid, it's okay to ask for help from the other members of the bridal party or even the maid of honor.
The 10 Rudest Things Guests Can Do, According to Hosts
Guest etiquette may look different than it did back in the day (we’ll leave all that turn-of-the-century party protocol to the Downton Abbey dining room), but that doesn’t mean guests shouldn’t be on their best behavior. But what really makes a polite guest? It can mean different things to different people—some guests never show up empty handed, while others will always take their shoes off at the door without being asked. It all depends on what they were raised doing, or how they want things done at their place.
Then, add to the ambiguity of modern etiquette a global pandemic, and already confusing guest etiquette now includes new criteria like mask-wearing and hand-washing. How to navigate it all? According to a OnePoll survey for BJ’s Wholesale conducted in 2019, there are a few clear "don&aposts" all guests should avoid𠅊nd they&aposre even more relevant during the coronavirus.
The number-one rudest thing you can do: showing up to the get-together when you&aposre sick. In the past, attending a gathering with a cough and sniffle was considered disrespectful, but during coronavirus, it&aposs downright dangerous. If you have any symptoms at all, it&aposs best to let the host know you won&apost be able to make it. You may think it ill-mannered to rescind your acceptance at the last minute, but rest assured, it’s even poorer form to show up under the weather, sneeze through three courses, and risk getting the rest of the group sick. Even if you feel fine, play it safe and take your temperature before seeing friends or family.