by Carolyn Hsu
Wedding etiquette is a pretty tricky subject, and sometimes brides might not even realize they’ve broken “the rules” until someone gets upset at them. We know that the last thing you want to stress about is a sticky etiquette situation — so to help you navigate the ins and outs of wedding etiquette, we asked Lizzie Post, co-author of Emily Post’s “Wedding Etiquette,” Sixth Edition, to explain the six biggest bridal blunders and how to avoid making them.
Including any kind of gift information in the invitation
This is a huge no-no, emphasizes Post. “While gifts are a mandatory part of weddings, it’s really important that the invitation is purely about the guest. Any reference to gifts at all — even if saying ‘no gifts please’ — turns the invitation away from being about the guest and turns it into being about some of the extra things that come along with it.” Concerned that you might get wacky gifts from clueless guests? “It’s totally fine to put registry information — including honeymoon funds — on your wedding website,” Post says. “It’s even okay to direct people to the wedding website in the invitation suite.”
Making assumptions about budgets
“Never assume anything about your budget,” says Post. “And make sure that you have clear and candid conversations about it. If your mother, for instance, offers to pay for your wedding dress, make sure you understand if that comes with the expectation that she’ll have some say in what dress you buy. If someone offers to give you $15,000 towards food and alcohol, and you then only spend $10,000 and want to use the remaining amount on a DJ, you need to make sure if that’s okay with them first. You always need to be clear: Who is this money coming from; what are they giving it to you to use it for; and what would it not be okay to use on.”
Directly asking your parents for money
You shouldn’t assume that your parents are going to help pay for your wedding, but you also can’t directly request an amount from them either. “Rather than say ‘Mom and Dad, I need $20,000,’ you should invite your parents or your fiancé’s parents into a discussion about it.” A better alternative would be: “Mom and Dad, Jeff and I would love to sit down with you and talk about wedding planning and budget. We would be so grateful if you want to contribute to the wedding, and if you don’t or can’t we totally understand.” Remember that people are going to give what they can, and that might be their support and their love, says Post.
Oversharing on social media
Wedding planning is a very exciting and new process, and you might be tempted to share every detail and discovery with your 2,000 Facebook friends. They are friends, after all, right? “Resist the temptation,” says Post. “Instead of sharing in your happiness, most people might read that as ‘Hey she’s throwing an amazing party, and I’m not invited.”
Getting upset with guests
Weddings are expensive and perfection is the only standard on every bride’s mind. So it’s super annoying when something goes awry: Perhaps your friend showed up to your shower, engagement brunch, rehearsal dinner, and after-party, yet never sent you a gift. Or maybe Uncle Joey had too much to drink and took it upon himself to photobomb every picture of you on the dance floor. But regardless of how tempted you may be, under no circumstance is it ever okay to lash out at a guest after the wedding, says Post. “If anything, this might be the biggest bridal blunder — to get upset about things that didn’t go right and take it out on people,” she says. “The only thing you should do, is just to let it go.”
Having a cash bar
“A cash bar — or even a partial cash bar — is never acceptable,” says Post. “You don’t invite people to a party and ask them to pay for what they’re eating or drinking. If you can’t afford a full open bar, go with beer and wine and a signature cocktail. There aren’t any rules that there even has to be alcohol at your reception — so work with what fits within your budget, but just make sure that you’re not asking guests to bring cash to your wedding.”