Long gone are the days of couples choosing to follow every wedding tradition, but there are still some general wedding rules that should be followed even if you are a bit non-traditional. No, you don’t have to wait to see the groom until your vows, but you should still send thank-you notes after the wedding. Scroll to discover 11 wedding rules to follow for both the couple and guests.
For the Couple
1. Avoid putting your registry information on your wedding invitations. You never want to come off like you are expecting gifts. Add it to your website and then include the link on your invitation suite! It is okay to add it to your Bridal Shower invite.
2. Is it tacky to ask for cash for your wedding instead of physical gifts? Not necessarily. A great way to do so is to set up a “fund” either through your wedding website or an outside source. Many of today’s couples include a honeymoon fund, new home fund, home renovation funds, or “experience” funds on their registry. Though, it is nice to have at least a few physical items on your registry so those who want to give a traditional gift can do so.
3. One of the many important wedding rules is to send physical invitations. In today’s digital world, it may seem like an easy idea to send a text or social media invitation, but this is definitely a faux pas. If you don’t want to do a full invitation suite or are just looking to be more eco-friendly, consider printing on recyclable or compostable paper or asking guests to RSVP online only by adding a link or QR code to your invitation.
4. Deciding whether or not to invite plus-ones can sometimes be a gray area. The general rule is that if someone is married, engaged, or in a serious relationship, they should be given a plus-one. An exception could be if you are inviting a single friend or family member who won’t know any other guests, then it’s nice to allow them to bring a guest that they will be comfortable with.
5. Can you ask your guests to not bring their children? Of course, but just be aware of how you ask. Clearly specify this on the invitation, give ample notice so parents can make arrangements, and be aware that this may deter some guests from being able to join you. Here are some ways to say this:
- “Please note that we’d like our special day to be an adult-only occasion.”
- “Due to limited venue space, we are only able to invite children of immediate family members.”
- “We are so excited to have you join us on our day. Please take note that we are unable to invite children to our wedding, but we hope this advance notice allows you to still be able to attend.”
6. From your planner to your DJ, it is courteous to provide meals for your on-site vendors. Some even require it in their contract! They are working hard all day long to make your day goes seamlessly, so allow them a break and time to recharge. Make sure to communicate this with your caterer so they can provide meals accordingly.
7. This is one of the more traditional wedding rules, but still rings true in modern times. If someone gives you a wedding gift, you must send a thank-you card. Yes, it is time-consuming, but it is so thoughtful and guests will greatly appreciate it. This should be done within three months of the wedding.
For the Guests
8. Never RSVP for more people than is requested on your invitation. The couple has spent a lot of time and money carefully planning out the details of the day and has to work within a budget and the number of guests allowed at a venue. If you are given a plus-one, RSVP with their name so the couple can create an escort and place card for them.
9. This should be a given for wedding rules, but please arrive on time! You don’t want to show up to the ceremony right when a bride is walking down the aisle. Weddings typically have a specific timeline and schedule and should be respected.
10. There are few things worse than a ringing phone in the middle of a vow ceremony. As a guest, you must turn the sound off on your phone and try to keep it in your pocket and just be in the moment! Another general rule is to avoid posting the day on social media until the couple has decided to share pictures on theirs.
11. Couples will generally give an indication of what to wear on their invitation or their website, so dress within their requests. If they don’t specify, men should wear a button-down shirt and chinos or khaki pants. Avoid wearing jeans, polos, or t-shirts. Women should wear a nice dress or stylish pantsuit. And, of course, do not wear white! BRIDES created a great guide on what wedding guest dress code that is helpful and describes different styles and examples for each.