Ceremony & Vows Wedding Etiquette: A Guide to Proper Wedding Behavior
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Wedding Etiquette: A Guide to Proper Wedding Behavior

Many times when you search for wedding ceremony etiquette during your wedding planning, it's usually in reference to what the guests should or should not do. However, sometimes the bride and groom and their families can use a little crash course in proper behavior (although, what’s proper wedding behavior and what isn’t may be in the eye of the beholder). The secret to good wedding behavior is to communicate well, avoid making assumptions and strive for fairness. Think about other people’s feelings, then act accordingly.

But there are certain actions, even attitudes, which simply aren’t acceptable. Not surprisingly, many of them deal with money. Here are some of the impolite things you, your groom and your respective families should avoid.

Wedding Ceremony Etiquette: Inappropriate for the Bride and Groom

  • Don’t create a wedding for others at the expense of your wishes. Focus on the kind of celebration you want, not the one other people expect you to have. Don’t include things that don’t matter to you.
  • Don’t change your mind about who will be in your wedding party after you’ve asked and they’ve accepted. If you do, you deserve the resulting anger and frequent loss of friendship.
  • Never ask your attendants to do chores or run errands that should be performed by hired help. If you need baby-sitting that your reception, find one, but not among your wedding party.
  • Don’t invite people just because you think you should. Surround yourself with people you know and care for, not those you barely recognize.
  • Don’t question a potential guest’s reason for declining your wedding ceremony invitation.
  • Never ask someone to donate an item or service that’s normally paid for. Of course, if they volunteer, consider it. Bakers, caterers and musicians often are targets of this kind of abuse.
  • Don’t surprise guests by asking them to perform non-guest duties, like taking pictures, parking cars or playing the piano.
  • Your groom should not show up at your wedding ceremony noticeably hung over or still drunk.
  • Your groom shouldn’t brag about his bachelor party exploits.
  • Never complain about the quality or value of your wedding gifts.
  • Don’t use pre-printed thank-you cards in place of a personalized note.
  • Don’t forget to eat on your wedding day. Famished, fainting brides and grooms are more frequent than you’d guess. Many couples are so busy at the reception that they don’t get a bite.
  • Don’t spend too much time with any particular guest. Spend a few minutes with each, then circle back for extra time with your nearest and dearest.
  • At the reception, don’t forget to search out the face of your new spouse. Share a smile and commit yourself to repeating those smiles back each day of your life together.
Wedding Ceremony Etiquette: Inappropriate Behavior for Families
  • Family members and attendants shouldn’t forget this your and your groom’s day, not theirs.
  • Your family should never bill your groom’s family for the cost of their guests without prior agreement on cost sharing.
  • Your groom’s family shouldn’t pressure yours to produce a dream wedding when they aren’t willing to help pay for it.
  • Your family mustn’t expect your groom’s family to split wedding expenses without being included as co-hosts.
  • Your father shouldn’t complain to guests about wedding costs.
  • Your mother mustn’t presume to tell his mother what to wear.
  • Immediate family members shouldn’t take it upon themselves to host a shower because it looks greedy.
While you probably know most of the appropriate ways to act, remember these few wedding behaviors and avoiding them will ensure an insult free wedding.