Wedding etiquette is a tricky business. Even when you think you’ve got everything under control it’s still easy to make mistakes. Avoid as many of these mistakes as possible by being prepared:
1. Not Including The Location On Your Save The Date
It may sound obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how many couples forget to include the location on their save the date cards. Even if you and your fiance have lived in the same town for your entire lives, there’s no guarantee that this is where the wedding is going to be held. To avoid having to answer everyone individually when they call to check the location with you, make sure you pop it on your save the date. This is especially important to guests from out of town as they may need to arrange travel and accommodation. You don’t have to worry about the venue location just yet, only the town and state that it will be held.
2. Choosing An Inconvenient Day
Traditionally, weddings are held on a saturday afternoon as this is the time which is most convenient for everyone attending. As this is the most popular time to get married, it’s also the most expensive. Although many couples arrange their big day on a Friday or Sunday instead of a Saturday, as it makes financial sense, this can be very inconvenient for guests. Friday weddings mean people need to book time off work if they plan to attend, which can be particularly difficult for certain jobs, and this means some guests will only be able to attend the evening function. With a Sunday wedding guests are often not able to let loose as much as they’d like as they have to get up early for work the following morning, and those travelling from further afield can find it difficult to get back at a reasonable hour for the start of the work week. Although the cost of a Saturday wedding can be higher, it does make life much easier for all attending.
3. Not Including Your Significant Other in the Planning Process
As much as us gals like to take charge of the wedding planning process, not including your husband to be is a huge mistake. Whether you’re a self confessed perfectionist or your groom is less interested than you would like, do try your best to actively engage him in the process. Get your groom involved by playing to his strong points. Is he creative? If so then ask him to take charge of designing the wedding stationery. Does he have great negotiating skills? Ask him to work out the prices with the vendors and see what little extras he can get included with your packages. From designing the wine and bar menu to creating a rockin’ playlist, there are endless jobs that your fiance can help out with.
4. Using Pre Printed Labels On Your Wedding Invitation
You want your guests to feel valued and appreciated, and this means making your wedding a personal occasion between you and them. Invitations set the tone for your big day, and sending them out in envelopes with pre printed address labels does not show that you’ve taken the time to make a personal connection. This is a simple step, which may take you a little bit of time, depending on the size of your guest list, but handwriting the address labels really will make a big difference to the recipient. At the very least you could always ask one of your friends with gorgeous handwriting to hand write the guests’ names on the envelopes.
5. Forgetting to Provide Directions
You don’t want your wedding day to turn into a stressful ordeal for your friends and family, and driving round in circles in an unfamiliar city center, or trying to find a remote barn location in the countryside is many people’s worst nightmare. Make life easy for your guests by providing them with clear simple directions to help them get to where they need to be. An annotated map never goes amiss either. It’s not your guests blood pressure levels you’re benefiting here, but also your own. The last thing you want is to be stood waiting to go down the aisle with a half empty room because nobody could find the venue. Don’t assume GPS will direct all of your loved ones to the right place on time as it can take people to some pretty obscure locations when it wants to!
6. Staying Out Late The Night Before The Wedding
Your friends might think it’s fun to take you out for your last night of ‘freedom’ before the wedding, but this can be a big mistake. Both you and your partner, plus any family members that have helped to foot the bill, will have invested a lot into this day which is why there is little point in sabotaging everything for one night on the town that will most likely leave you with an excruciating hangover. To add to this, you’ll have more photos taken on your wedding day than any other day in your life and you don’t want dark and unattractive bags under your eyes.
7. Opting For A Cash Bar
While it’s necessary to find ways to cut costs and stick within your budget, especially if you’re hosting a huge number of guests, a cash bar is never a good choice. When you invite people to your wedding they shouldn't really have to pay for anything while they’re there. A better idea is to try and save money on the drinks themselves, and thankfully there are a number of ways to do this! It’s perfectly acceptable to offer a limited bar that only serves a small selection of drinks such as beer, wine and soda. Another way to save is by having a signature cocktail as it cuts down on the different kind of liqueurs you would otherwise have to splurge on. Also find out if you are obliged to purchase alcohol from the venue where your wedding reception will be held, because if not it will be a lot cheaper to purchase drinks elsewhere such as from a wholesaler. If you absolutely must have a cash bar then see if you can negotiate some specials with your venue to lessen the burden on your guests.
8. Not Feeding Your Vendors
In the midst of all the wedding planning madness, it’s easy to forget that your vendors need to eat too. Vendors that are sticking around throughout the reception such as the photographer, the videographer, and the band, all need to be fed. They are going to be working for you for a bajillion hours after all so don’t let them starve! Ask your venue if they offer a “vendor meal deal” which is usually half the price and only includes the main course, if this option isn’t possible then you could always consider providing pizza, subs, or another type of quick meal that they can nibble on when they get the chance.
9. Not Taking The Time to Greet Each Guest Personally
No matter how many guests you've invited, it’s essential that you make time to fit them all in. It’s important to ensure that you thank each attendee personally for making it to your special day and to tell them how glad you are that they could enjoy it with you. Traditionally this was done with a receiving line, which is the most effective way of ensuring that you don’t leave anyone out. Sometimes this can be a little laborious for those waiting at the back of the line as it can take some time for you to greet every single guest when you’ve got a sizeable list. A slightly more modern approach is to meet and greet in a more casual way during a cocktail hour at the beginning of the reception. If you’re going for this approach you may need some form of tactics to ensure you don’t miss anyone out, especially if some guests are going to have to leave the party early due to travel arrangements or childcare commitments.
10. Putting Family On The Back Burner
Yes your wedding day is all about you, but don’t forget about your family when planning the ceremony, reception and gifts. This once in a lifetime event will mean more to your loved ones than you will ever know, so make sure you go the extra mile to include them as much as possible. Ask them to read a touching poem at the ceremony, introduce them to your guests at the reception, and give them something special to remember the day by.
11. Expecting People to Read Your Mind
If you want something specific for your wedding ceremony or reception then don’t be shy about it. Be as clear as possible about your expectations and don’t let yourself get worked up over something just because you believe that it is self explanatory. If you want your maid of honor or best man to make a toast then tell them, as they will need time to prepare. If you want the DJ to play a certain type of music then let him know, so he can plan his set list. Weddings are notoriously hectic to plan, so if you want everything to go smoothly on your big day then you’re going to need to be organized and well prepared, alternatively, you’re going to need to be forgiving of those that make mistakes.
12. Taking A Year To Send Your Thank You Cards
Forget what you may or may not have heard, because like it or not, you don’t have a year to get out those thank you cards. Set yourself a target of getting them all sent off by the end of three months, otherwise it will become one of those tasks that never actually gets completed. If you pre order the thank you cards with the invitations, they will be ready and waiting for you to start writing, which is one less excuse to put it off. It’s important to hand write the thank you cards and to put a personal message in there, thanking each person for attending, and if they got you a wedding gift, try to mention it and say exactly how you’ve been enjoying it. Put some music on, pour yourself a glass of wine, and make it a fun activity with your partner and it will be done and dusted in no time at all, plus you’ll have a real feel good factor when you’ve finally popped them in the mail.
What wedding etiquette advice have you got to share with any future newlyweds? Let us know in the comments below...