Wedding Etiquette Mistakes

Over the weekend, I did some research on wedding etiquette. And I was a little shocked to find out that some things that I have seen other people and/or was considering doing are deemed poor etiquette. I figured I would share this information because a lot of brides are doing the wedding planning thing for the very first time so most etiquette mistakes are made because the bride didn’t know better, not because she was trying to be rude.

Unplugged ceremonies


I’ll admit that this was something that I was seriously considering doing at my ceremony. I thought the cute little signs about being present and putting the phones away until the reception were cute. But apparently, they are extremely passive aggressive and snooty. It’s a wedding, not a classroom. So your guests shouldn’t feel like they are being treated like children. That being said, this trend of “unplugging” has risen due to brides (and grooms) “need” to say something that they shouldn’t have to say. If that makes sense…

Specifying the Attire


Even though you may want to give people a reminder of the suggested attire for your event, it’s rude to do so for two reasons. Number one: you shouldn’t be telling other adults what to wear. Number two: you don’t want to make people feel like they must go out and buy a whole new ensemble just for your wedding. If you want your event to be formal, make it an evening affair and hope for the best. Trust your guests to make the right decision about their attire.

Cash bars


People who have cash bars at their wedding clearly don’t do so to be rude. Usually cash bars are a budget thing and I completely understand that. It’s considered to be in poor taste because the reception is supposed to be a “thank you” to your wedding guests who have traveled to see you, bought you a gift, etc. So ideally, you wouldn’t want to make them pay for something else once they’ve arrived to the ceremony/reception. This isn’t something that I consider to be rude because sometimes it’s necessary for your budget. You may want to provide alcohol for the guests who drink without breaking the bank. An open bar is definitely a welcomed feature but I don’t judge people who have cash bars instead.

Registry info on or with the invitation


This is one etiquette faux pas that I actually blame retailers for. When you register at stores, they will give you a whole bunch of “registry announcement cards” and they literally tell you that they are to be put into the envelope with your invitations. For a first-time bride, that sounds pretty logical. But apparently, sending out unsolicited registry information with the invitation makes it seem like you are expecting gifts. And when people feel like you expect them to give you things, it makes them not want to give you things. Registry information should be put on the wedding website or passed around by word of mouth when it is solicited. Most people who want to give you a gift will seek out your registry information on their own.

Adults only wedding


Generally speaking, it’s not in good taste to note who is NOT invited to the wedding on the invitation or wedding website. If you don’t want children at your wedding, be very specific about who’s names are written on the invitations and how many seats are reserved. If someone does happen to write their child’s name in when they RSVP, you will have to call them and politely say that your invitation was only for the people it was addressed to.

All of the etiquette faux pas that I mentioned are typically done accidentally. No bride or groom plans a wedding thinking “how can I offend my guests?” And quite a few of the etiquette mistakes that I listed happen when a bride/groom is trying to give out information that they think guests need to know (attire/no kids/registry). These are things that I consider to be miscommunications. But as a bride/host of a wedding, it’s your job to think about the perception of your actions regardless of your intent.

What are some other wedding etiquette do’s and don’ts that you’ve heard?

6 thoughts on “Wedding Etiquette Mistakes

  1. Tikeetha T says:

    Interesting. I had an adults only reception. It specified it on the invitation and the people that brought their children didn’t list them on the response. So, why I think etiquette may matter, some people may not have been to enough weddings to know how to respond appropriately. I had my wedding in a hotel and hired babysitters for those guests who didn’t seem to care that I said adults only and paid for the children to have juice boxes and pizza right upstairs.

    I sent invitations with the guests name on it and they brought dates. Are you serious? No mention of the dates on the response card. So, that was problematic and costly. My mother spoke to the uninvited and said you will need to wait until after everyone is seated who didn’t show up. We didn’t budget for people not mentioned.

    The unplugged wedding I get. Mainly because people take and post so many dang pictures that the bride and groom themselves hadn’t had an opportunity to enjoy their day before they are tagged in photos. I totally agree with that. Enjoy the ceremony and put your cameras down. Is it really that important that you take a picture or more important that you hear the vows that the bride and groom make to each other?

    • mslaurenrenee says:

      I think the reason why these “etiquette mistakes” are made with having to specify who is or isn’t invited, what kind of attire to wear, and not to post pictures is because people either don’t know or will bring whoever/wear whatever/use their phones without any regard to what’s appropriate. I only found out that these things were “in poor taste” because I went to a wedding forum and lurked on some threads. If people felt like they could trust their guests to not bring children when the invite wasn’t addressed to them, or to wear something formal for an evening event, or not block the photographer/other guests with their iPad; then people wouldn’t have to step outside of etiquette and state these things.

      For my ceremony and reception, if your name wasn’t listed on the invite then you can’t come. And if someone doesn’t want to accept that and they bring an extra guest anyway, then they’ll be pretty embarrassed when my hostesses turn them away. I refuse to go over budget for people who don’t respect me or my parents enough to follow our guidelines.

      The unplugged ceremony thing is just indicative of how technology has changed things. Unfortunately, people just can’t wait to share where they are or what they’ve seen. It’s sad. And it puts the marrying couple in a bind when they really don’t want people taking pictures/videos but it’s apparently “rude” to say so.

  2. Kelli says:

    I went to a wedding last year where they made turning off (or not bringing) phones optional, but they made it kind of a fun thing where we could all be ourselves without distractions and step back into time. Surprisingly, I think about 80% of the guests voluntarily complied, and there seemed to be a higher level of conversation going on. Fun!

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