12 Etiquette Mistakes You Didn't Know You Were Making

Wedding etiquette is a tricky subject. Even if you think you're following all of the "rules," it's easy to overlook these less discussed — but still important — guidelines.
By: 
Kristen O'Gorman Klein

7. You're having a cash bar.

In a perfect world, your guests won't have to open their wallets at your wedding. But you don’t need to shell out for a top-shelf open bar if that’s beyond your budget. It’s perfectly acceptable to offer just beer and wine, and it's a nice touch to add a signature cocktail or two. If you must have a cash bar, see if you can negotiate some drink specials with your venue to lessen the burden on your guests. 

Related: Wedding Bar Guide: How Much Alcohol Do You Really Need?

whiskey tasting bar
Photo Credit: D. Park Photography

8. You're not feeding the band.

Vendors who will be sticking around through your reception — band/DJ, photographer, and videographer — need to be fed. Most even state this in their contracts. Check if your venue offers a “vendor meal,” which typically cost about half as much as a guest’s dinner (the vendor meal usually includes just the main course, which lowers the cost). Or, you can sometimes provide subs, pizza, or another quick meal for your vendors (ask them!). Also, encourage them to grab some food during the cocktail hour.

9. You're not take the time to greet each guest personally.

As receiving lines have gone out of fashion, more and more couples plan to visit each table during the reception instead. What you don't know is that most couples never make it around to every table — you'll get sidetracked when your favorite song comes on or when your cousin drags you off to the bar for celebratory drinks, and before you know it, it's time to cut the cake and say goodbye. Our advice: Have a receiving line, even if it feels outdated and takes away from photo time. Think about it this way: Would you rather spend 15 minutes having a receiving line after the ceremony or spend an hour (or more!) going around to every table? Whatever you do, do not make an announcement that guests who want to see you can come join you on the dance floor — yes, we’ve heard this happen many times.

10. You have expectations for your gifts.

We all secretly hope that we’ll get those carefully-selected items on our registries or that we’ll receive enough money to make a down payment on a house. But, contrary to popular belief, wedding guests aren’t even required to give a gift — and there certainly is no minimum amount that your guests have to spend

Also: This means that you should not include registry information with your wedding invitation. You can, however, include it with your bridal shower invite, since the primary purpose of the event is to shower the bride with gifts!

wedding gift
Photo Credit: Evermore Photography

11. You're skimping on bridal party gifts.

Considering that the average bridesmaid spends almost $600 between the dress, the bridal shower, the bachelorette, and attending the actual wedding, this isn’t a place where you should trim your budget. No, you definitely don’t have to match what they’re spending on you, but plan on about $50-150 per bridesmaid if your budget allows. Also, don’t forget thank-you gifts for your parents!

Related: 40+ Bridal Party Gift Ideas for Every Budget

12. You're using thank-you cards with pre-printed messages.

Believe it or not, back in the 1950s — often heralded as a time when great care was taken toward having proper manners and etiquette — pre-printed thank-you cards were the norm. How and why did this change? Over the years, weddings have grown in size and cost; no longer do most of your guests live within walking distance to your venue. Guests are flying in from all over the world and spending more than $500 to attend a wedding. Somewhere along the line, it was decided that guests deserve a more personal “thanks” for their time and effort spent on your behalf.

Also: You don’t have a year to send out thank-you cards. You have three months, tops. And for gifts sent before the wedding, try to get your thank-yous out within two weeks of receiving the gift.

Related: The Top 10 Thank-You Note Mistakes

Tell us: Which of these rules have you broken?