Wedding Etiquette Cheat Sheet

Certain wedding etiquette and traditions never go out of style. Although you’re planning one of the biggest days of your life, some rules cannot be broken. From wedding donations, the rehearsal dinner to the wedding destination, refer to this cheat sheet on wedding etiquette traditions to not overlook.

Wedding Invitations
As soon as the wedding venue is booked, send invitations to allow for adequate planning and so that loved ones can attend your special day. The appropriate time to send wedding invitations depends on where the ceremony and reception are taking place.

Mail wedding invitations for local weddings within three months and no fewer than eight weeks prior to the date of the event. Because wedding destinations call for additional planning (flight and hotel reservations), give guests at least a five-month’s notice to coordinate flight and hotel arrangements.

Guest List
For some wedding parties, coordinating the guest list can become a contentious situation. To quell any unruly guest disputes with the family, select a wedding destination. This way you can keep your guest list intimate, the wedding reception budget lean or at least alleviate the need to invite any unwanted parties.

Wedding Gifts
Wedding etiquette says that it is inappropriate to write in the invitation that you would prefer not to receive gifts. Instead, have family and wedding attendants get the word out.

Also, if you plan to accept cash donations only, it is acceptable wedding etiquette to mention these details of your charity registry (on a separate card), included with the wedding invitation.

Sites, such as can expedite wedding guest donations. Some of these services administer the charity registry and coordinate a tax deduction for the contributors.

Rehearsal Dinner
If your bridal party includes more than a bridesmaid and best man, plan a rehearsal dinner with the groomsmen, bridesmaids, ring bearer and other members of the wedding party.

Bridesmaids Gifts
Brides normally dole out bridesmaid gifts during or after the rehearsal dinner. Show appreciation to your maid of honor and bridesmaids for participating in your special day with a gift. Jewelry, accessories, gift cards, and handpicked personalized items make the best bridesmaid gifts and can usually be purchased for less than $100 per person.

Receiving Line
Between the wedding ceremony, the photographs and the wedding reception, sometimes there’s not enough time to squeeze in the receiving line. Instead, visit with each table of guests during the wedding reception to thank them for sharing your special day.

Tossed Wedding Goods
The garter belt toss and bridal bouquet toss are wedding traditions, chronicling Medieval times.

Victorian wedding guests would allegedly snatch and tug on the bride’s attire to bring her good luck. In many cases, she’d remove stockings and toss to evade the clawing crowd. Today, the wedding tradition continues, fortunately the groom manages the bride and her garter belt with care.

Legend has it that the Victorian bride used to pass on the bouquet to a friend to keep her safe and away from evil.

Maxim: Your wedding party may expect you to follow these quirky, Victorian wedding traditions.

Giveaway Bag or Favor
At the conclusion of the ending, guests normally receive a gift for attending the special day. From candy to a bottle of wine with day of the event, the giveaway gift need not be extravagant, but rather a keepsake for a momentous occasion.

A final note of wedding etiquette:  the ‘Thank You’ card
Although there are many differences of opinion on how long you can wait to send out your Thank You notes, Emily Post disagrees with the one year grace period and insists all should go out within three months. Even if a year is acceptable, why wait to thank someone for honoring you with a gift and sharing in your special day?

Have a question about wedding etiquette or traditions? Ask it here!

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