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Wedding Etiquette Rules for the Modern Bride

Wedding etiquette is more than just a list of outdated rules. Rather, it’s a way to communicate in kindness. Think of wedding etiquette as a set of guidelines to help you communicate effectively. You’ve already got to  deal with issues like family, faith, and money, so throwing etiquette into the mix can get messy. This blog post is here to clear it all up for you and answer your burning questions about etiquette.

Here is a no-nonsense, non-archaic list of wedding etiquette, or um, guidelines, to help a girl out.

Do I have to have an engagement party?

In short, no. Engagement parties are totally optional. These days engagements are announced on social media first, so an engagement party is merely a formality. It’s a way of celebrating your engagement with close friends and family, and you totally don’t have to have one.

Who hosts the bridal shower?

Many moons ago, it was considered impolite for a family member of the bride to host the bridal shower, because it came across as “present-grabby”. These days, anyone can host your bridal shower. Typically, it’ll be your bridesmaids who throw you a party of sorts and more often than not, it’ll be a surprise for you.

You can find some more helpful tips in this blog post: Everything you need to know about hosting a bridal shower

Who pays for what?

Back in the day, it was the bride’s parents who hosted the wedding and therefore they paid for most of it. Traditionally, a wedding is about the bride being given away by her parents, so they’d get to invite all of their friends. A lot of modern couples are in a financial position to pay for their own wedding, or at least contribute towards it. So in terms of who should pay for what? Whoever is able and willing to contribute, should.

Can I send wedding invitations to people I know can’t attend?

If you’re talking about your bestie, then yes! Your guests are adults and they won’t take offence to this sort of thing.

What about plus ones?

Again, totally optional. It’s a kind gesture to allow single guests to bring a date (because social anxiety is the real deal) but if you can’t afford it (or you just don’t want to), skip the plus ones rule altogether.

Do I have to invite all my coworkers?

Nope! It might help to have a few general rules in place. For example, you could invite your direct team, but leave out anyone else from the office. There are exceptions to every rule, of course, but it’ll help you out if you find yourself in a pickle.

Do I have to invite my friend’s significant other?

If your friend is in a long-term committed relationship, yes. If your friend met their significant other on Tinder last week, then no.

Is it alright if we don’t want kids at our wedding?

That’s totally alright. I’ve covered that in another blog post: Wedding etiquette: How to say “No children”

Do we have to send out paper invites?

In short: no. But you may want to print out invitations for your grandparents or any other older guest who doesn’t check their email.

Do I need to have a wedding registry?

Well, the point of a wedding registry is to avoid receiving a collection of mismatched kitchenware or 65 tea cups. Having a registry means you get to tell guests what you really need, because they want to buy you something for the home.

Do guests have to bring a gift?

Not at all. Make it clear that you don’t expect gifts and your guests will feel comfortable attending your wedding even if they can’t afford to bring a gift. The idea that a wedding gift has to equal the amount of food spent per head is archaic and super oldschool.

Can we include information about our gift registry on our invitations?

Unfortunately, this one still isn’t ok. You don’t want to make it look like bringing a wedding gift is a requirement for attending your wedding.

Do we need a wedding website?

This would be a great place to include wedding registry information and any other details that don’t fit onto the official invitations. That said, you don’t need a wedding website. You could spread information via word of mouth or email.

Can I wear white to a wedding?

If the bride is wearing white, no. The same goes for a bride who is wearing pink, or red, or blue. The point: Let a girl have her moment!

Do we have to send out Thank You notes?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Your Thank You note doesn’t necessarily have to be in the form of a written letter in the mail. If the person you are thanking is under the age of thirty, you could use whatever medium you usually use to communicate: text, email, or a social media tag. If the person you are thanking is over thirty, a more formal Thank You note is required, I’m afraid.

When should we send Thank You notes?

Technically you’ve got a year, but realistically you should send Thank You notes two to three months after the wedding.

Got anymore wedding etiquette questions you’d love to have an answer to? Leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help!

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