Sure, some of the old rules of wedding etiquette have been rewritten. For example, it’s now common for the groom’s parents to chip in on the wedding bill, and many brides have ditched the “only wear white” tradition. But some wedding-day rules still apply (sorry, an email will never replace a proper thank-you note!), and here at RiverCrest, we can help you navigate them all. Here, 10 wedding-day faux pas—and how to avoid them.
The Faux Pas: Sending evites instead of snail-mail invitations.
While evites have become de rigueur for birthday parties and get-togethers, you’ll want to stick with formal invitations for your wedding. Keep your invitation consistent with the tone of your wedding—the more formal the affair, the more formal the invite. (And when it comes to thank-you notes, a digital version is almost never appropriate.)
The Faux Pas: Too-long toasts.
A successful speech is short (between five and eight minutes is ideal), heartwarming and occasionally funny. A not-so-successful speech? Too long; too, er, colorful; and too packed with inside jokes. Talk to anyone who will be speaking at your reception and casually ask them to keep speeches and toasts brief, and to avoid any embarrassing or vulgar anecdotes.
The Faux Pas: Allowing for too much time in between the ceremony and reception.
Ideally, you don’t want more than 90 minutes of lag time in between the ceremony and reception. But if you can only get an early-morning ceremony, and you’re planning an evening reception, do your best to make the day comfortable and entertaining for guests. One tip: Invite guests to wear a less-formal look for either the ceremony or the reception, so that they aren’t stuck in formalwear all day, and suggest or plan activities for them to do throughout the day. (This will be especially welcome for out-of-towners!)
The Faux Pas: A too-tipsy bride and groom.
Make sure the most important people—this includes your bridal party and, well, you!—are staying hydrated throughout the day, so you don’t wind up with a post-wedding hangover. Remember: You want your memories of the day to be as crystal-clear as possible!
The Faux Pas: Neglecting temperature control.
Outdoor weddings are beautiful—but in the dog days of summer, they’re also hot. Go for the type of wedding you want, but think about the comfort level of your guests, too. That means planning for air-conditioning, or making sure there are heat lamps if you’d like guests to mingle outside during winter weddings.
The Faux Pas: Too-loud music.
Of course, you want to make sure your dance floor is packed. But you also want to be considerate of guests who might prefer to stick table-side. Talk with your band or DJ to make sure the volume is at an optimal level for talking with table-mates and for dancing.
The Faux Pas: Not enough bathrooms.
The only thing worse than a long line at the bar is a long line at the restroom. Check that your venue has enough restrooms for your party size, and that these are easily accessible for handicapped guests. Planning an outdoor celebration? Aim for about one Porta Potty per 25 guests.
The Faux Pas: Serving dinner too late.
Work with your event coordinator to schedule your food service so that hungry guests aren’t waiting hours for dinner. And think about having bridal party speeches during dinner, so that guests can eat while they listen in.
The Faux Pas: Not having enough tables and chairs at the cocktail hour.
Ever tried to balance a cocktail, appetizer plate and purse while standing in a crowded cocktail hour? It’s tough. So while you want to encourage mingling during your cocktail hour, still provide guests with a place to eat, even if it’s a simple scattering of high-top tables.
The Faux Pas: Late thank-you notes.
Yes, you’ll have a lot of thank-you notes to write post-wedding, but don’t put the task off for too long. As a general rule of thumb, thank-you notes for wedding gifts should be sent within three months. (So get started before your honeymoon tan has faded!)