If you're planning a wedding and don't have the slightest clue about wedding do's and don'ts, let the experts guide you for your important day. Here are the top-10 wedding etiquette rules no bride or groom should forget during the wedding process.
10. Send invitations to the appropriate people. If you're going to invite a friend or family member to the bridal shower or bachelor's party, invite him or her to the wedding, too. "If not, you're basically saying: 'Hey, come to this party. Give me a gift; but you're not important enough to give a wedding invitation to,'" wedding planner Shanna Lumpkin says.
9. Make sure invitations and programs are properly written. "As far as correct spellings, that's a given," Lumpkin says. "If you're inviting a coworker and you don't have the wife's name, get the correct spelling. Don't just say 'and family.'"
Deborah Simmons, an accredited bridal consultant for Signature Occasions, says to always "send a personal, handwritten thank-you note for a gift received."
8. Take at least half a week off from work before your wedding. Weddings are a big deal and involve a lot of people's time and effort to guarantee a memorable day. The last thing you want is to be fatigued when greeting 50 or 100 guests at the reception.
"The week of their wedding, (couples) don't need to go to their jobs past Tuesday, so they won't be stressed out," suggests Wendy Putt, owner of Fresh Cut Catering and Floral in Flowood.
7. Don't make your guests wait. If you've ever had to wait at someone else's wedding, you can appreciate this tip. Five minutes can seem like 30 listening to the same organ tune repeat, and looking at a delicious buffet at the reception is nearly torture while guests wait for the bride and groom to have the first bite.
"When your guests arrive at the reception, food and alcohol—if there is alcohol—should be available from the very beginning," Lumpkin says. "... Then they don't care if you take 30 to 45 minutes to take your pictures. But if they have to wait, that's just rude."
6. Choose a reasonable reception venue. It might be nice to have both the perfect wedding and reception venues, but if those areas are too far apart, the only one who will appreciate them after the drive is you. "A venue for the reception needs to be logistical to the ceremony site," Putt says. "It needs to be accessible. You don't need to have a venue that's 20 miles away from your reception site, because you'll lose all the guests."
5. Remember your wedding party's budget when choosing wardrobes. Even if you've found the perfect set of bridesmaids' dresses, consider your wedding party's finances. "If you're a younger bride, and all your friends are in college, take that into consideration when you're picking out bridesmaids' dresses or tuxedos," Lumpkin says. "Another option is contributing $50 to make it a little more affordable, so you're not making your bridesmaids pay $350 for a dress when they don't have jobs because they're all still in college."
4. The reception is for celebrating; the wedding is a ceremony. It's tempting to try to make your wedding ceremony even more memorable by letting loose a shout, or maybe the sheer excitement causes you to giggle with glee, but the wedding is symbolic of the rest of your life. "Save the fun and theatrics for the reception," Simmons says. "Remember, a wedding is a sacred ceremony."
3. Be prepared for children. If you're inviting lots of friends and family to your wedding, chances are a few kids are going to come. "I've had a lot of people in the past few years who say, 'no kids,' and I hate to burst their bubble, because sometimes it's just not possible," Lumpkin says. She suggests having a playroom with toys or video games to keep children entertained.
2. Stick to the schedule. Even though it's your day, that doesn't give you license to throw off a painstakingly prescheduled chunk of time. "The wedding party takes cues from you," Lumpkin says. "Everyone's going to try really hard to make everything OK," but if you can't stick to your schedule, don't blame other people when things are running late.
1. Be considerate. "No one wants to deal with a bride or groom who is not nice," Simmons says. Your wedding day should be one of jubilation, not anxiety because something didn't go as planned.
"Don't forget each other," Putt says. "That's the main thing."
Being gracious to your guests and family will go a long way for both the bride and groom. As Lumpkin says, your wedding day "is kind of what you make it," so make yours a joyful occasion.
Wendy Putt, owner
Fresh Cut Catering and Floral
108 Cypress Cove, Flowood,
Deborah Simmons, accredited bridal consultant
209 Commerce Park Drive, Suite A
Shanna Lumpkin, owner
Shanna Lumpkin Events
4500 Interstate 55, Suite 214