3 Etiquette Rules You Might Want to Enforce for Your Wedding

Planning Tips
Wedding Etiquette Rules to Enforce

Photo: Getty Images

You don't want to be a pushy bride. But on these three etiquette issues, our expert says, you shouldn't feel bad to put your crystal peep-toe pump down for a better wedding day.

1. Don't let guests get away with adding an uninvited plus-one.
You took care to address your invitations exactly as you meant them. Which means that when Uncle Fred writes back saying he's bringing a date, you're more than a little surprised. And while you might be tempted to let his gumption go and give his friend a seat at your reception, Chandra Keel, owner of Chandra Keel Events in Phoenix, says you should stand firm.

"This is an important etiquette rule for guests to respect," she says. "If the invitation does not state that person's name explicitly, then they are not invited. And yes, it may feel uncomfortable to address a guest if they've RSVP'd with an uninvited plus-one, but it's important that the bride and groom ask that all guests respect their wishes. The bride and groom should not be wishy-washy on this, because it can offend others whom you did not make an exception for — and rightfully so."

2. Ask guests to unplug during your ceremony.
Nothing ruins a wedding ceremony faster than a shrill ringtone. And nothing irritates a professional photographer more than having a shot ruined by someone waving their smartphone in pursuit of the perfect Instagram photo. The solution, then, might be to ask all your guests to unplug, otherwise known as turn off and tuck away their phones until the ceremony is over, Keel says.

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"It's understandable for guests to want to snap their own photos. Guests have been doing that for decades," she says. "The problem is that now everyone has a phone with a camera. And having 150 guests pull out their phones to take pictures is a nightmare for any photographer. Having an unplugged wedding not only shows respect for your photographer's needs and talents, it also ensures that Uncle Henry won't be front and center in your first kiss shot."

3. Establish a dress code.
Think about it: While it's fun for your partner to take you out for a surprise night on the town, you still need to know whether you should slip on your dancing shoes or come prepared with an extra pair of socks for bowling.

The same applies to a wedding, says Keel. "It may seem pushy to mention a dress code on your invitations, but guests most often appreciate being told what they should expect to wear," she says. "No one likes to be in the dark on whether they're going to be over or under dressed. Stating the dress code puts them at ease and helps them to plan accordingly. And for any guest that does find this pushy, consider it insurance to yourself that they're now on the hook to find something else other than that way-too-casual outfit they had planned."


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