What Should I Know About Wedding Etiquette?

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  • Written By: Nychole Price
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 August 2019
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When it comes to planning a wedding, there are so many "do's and don'ts" to adhere to proper wedding etiquette. Proper etiquette is based on classic tradition, kindness, consideration and respect for the members of the wedding party and the guests. There are several components to planning the wedding, and the event itself, where proper etiquette will be greatly appreciated by everyone. They include the invitations, gifts, thank-you notes, wedding party planning, and the reception.

Addressing a wedding invitation involves writing out the full names of the guests, including middle names. Spell out all words, including address, dates, times and years. If you are having the ceremony in a church or house of worship, use "request the honor of your presence." If the ceremony is taking place in a non-religious setting, the invitation should say "request the pleasure of your company." If the bride and groom don't wish to have children attend the reception, the invitation should say "Adults Only Reception," and not "No Kids," as that is deemed rude.


Make it easier for your guests to choose what to get you as a wedding gift by starting a registry. Your guests don't know what you already have and there is a high chance you might get duplicate gifts, which is uncomfortable for everyone involved. A registry will prevent this occurrence, as gifts that are purchased are removed off the list by the store. Wedding etiquette doesn't allow you to write information regarding gifts on your invitations, so have your wedding party pass around the word that you are registered.

Thank you notes are a necessity to conform to proper wedding etiquette. They should be written for the people who gave you a wedding, engagement or shower gift, those who attended the wedding, and those who hosted the shower and wedding party. Thank you notes should be handwritten on nice stationary and should reference the person as well as the gift or service. The thank you notes should be given within three months after the receipt of the gift and/or service.

When planning an engagement party, wedding etiquette deems that the event should take place no sooner than three months prior to the wedding, but no later than two weeks before. This gives the guests time to recuperate and prepare for the wedding itself. The venue should be picked and reserved at least two months ahead of time, with the hosts splitting the costs among themselves. The bride and groom shouldn't pay for their own engagement party. The guests of the engagement party should be close friends and family and should not be equal to the amount of people attending the wedding, as it looks like a grab for gifts.

The wedding reception should be held in close proximity to the wedding location. This will prevent unnecessary travel for the guests. Large gaps of time between the events should be avoided, as it leaves the guests with nothing to do, especially if they are visiting from out of town. If this does occur, due to situations out of your control, provide the guests with a place to stay and a form of transportation. The wedding and reception should be fun for everyone, and not become a burden.


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Post 4

@wesley91- Traditional wedding etiquette suggests that you, as parents of the groom are responsible for only a few things. The groom’s parents incur the cost of a wedding present for the newlyweds, the rehearsal dinner, and travel and/or lodging expenses for out-of-town guests.

Post 3

My son is getting married in a couple of months. It has been a long time since we have had a wedding in our family and I’m not sure what we, as the parents of the groom, are responsible for. Does anyone have any ideas?

Post 2

@chrisinbama- Regarding wedding etiquette and tradition, it is assumed that the bride’s family pays for the wedding. However, there are specific things that the bride’s family pays for and other things that the groom or his family pays for.

The bride’s family is typically responsible for the wedding dress, invitations, photographer, ceremony fee, reception costs, flowers (except the bride’s flowers), and transportation to the wedding for the bridal party.

The groom is actually responsible for the bride’s flowers, mother’s corsages, boutonnieres, groomsman accessories, and the honeymoon.

Post 1

I know that traditional wedding etiquette says that the bride's family normally pays for the wedding. Is that still the case?

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