A Bride & Groom’s Guide to Etiquette.
Your plans and ideas are starting to come to life and the big day is drawing closer! Exciting times ahead! However, with such an important occasion, there also comes expectations around the ‘way things should be done’!
Let's dive into the wonderful world of wedding etiquette and some of the what to do’s and what not to do’s to make for a drama-free day!
The Art of Invitations
This is the first glimpse that guests get into your wedding plans and so a big one to get right. Make sure you provide detailed information about the date, time, and location. Match the tone and wording for your invitations to the formality of your event, whether that be traditional, casual, or themed. Check (and check again!) that you’ve addressed the invitations and envelopes correctly. And if required, remember to include response cards with pre-addressed and stamped envelopes to make it easy for guests to RSVP. It will save you a whole heap of follow-ups down the line!
Preparing for the Ceremony
The ceremony is the heart of your wedding day and so the most important bit to not make a gaffe! Discuss with your officiant the order of events, the entrance plan, seating arrangements and any religious or cultural customs you want to include. And then make detailed notes to hand out to any guests involved in any of the key steps of the ceremony. If possible, it’s also wise to do a rehearsal to make sure it all goes as you expect, plus it gives those involved a chance to ask any questions they may have.
Greeting and Thanking Your Guests
As the hosts of your wedding, it's important to greet and thank your guests. Consider arranging a receiving line after the ceremony, where you and your partner can personally greet and thank each guest for attending. During the reception, make a conscious effort to visit each table and also take the time to introduce family members to each other. It’s these genuine appreciation and personal connections that create an experience to remember for both you and your guests.
One of the trickiest things to tackle! The general gist is to sit people together that have things in common or connections, whether it's family, friends, or colleagues … and obviously avoid any potential ‘clashes’! Display a clear and well-organized seating chart near the reception area so guests can look where they are in plenty of time. And don’t forget to cater for any special dietary requirements.
Dancing the Night Away
The reception is when the party gets started but you’re not yet in the clear when it comes to the etiquette rules! It’s expected for the Bride & Groom to open the dance floor with the first dance, followed by inviting your guests to join in. Make sure the first few songs cover a variety of genres to make sure even the Grandparents can get involved! The energy you bring to the dance floor will set the tone for the rest of the night ahead.
Gifts and Thank-You Notes
Creating a gift registry makes it easy for guests to get something they know is thoughtful. Include a variety of price ranges to accommodate different budgets. On the day itself, assign a friend to manage the gift table, making sure guests know where to put their gifts, as well as making sure everything is safe … and most importantly, labelled! And after the wedding, send out personalized thank-you notes for each gift received, mentioning the specific items so your guests know you’ve paid attention!
Dress Code and Attire
Provide clear guidelines to help your guests feel confident and appropriately dressed, either in the invitations or on your wedding website, e.g. black-tie, formal or casual. And if you have a specific colour scheme or theme, let your guests know so they can plan ahead and join in.
Social Media Etiquette
A great way to capture the day’s events is to create a unique wedding hashtag, allowing guests to share their favourite moments and photos during and after the day. Likewise, you may want people to hold off posting to social media until you get the chance to share, in which case, make sure to share this beforehand. And ask your guests to send you their photos and videos as these often add a wonderfully candid perspective of your day and are great to build into your weddings videos.
So, there’s our short rundown on some of the etiquette ‘rules’ for your big day to make sure that not only does everything run smoothly, but that you also don’t end up disappointing, or even worse, offending, ‘Aunt Betty’!