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14 Wedding Etiquette Questions Answered

Attending a wedding soon, but have a few concerns? Get your wedding etiquette questions answered, instead of staying baffled as to how not to offend anyone at a wedding.
Wedessence Staff
Last Updated: Feb 26, 2018
Etiquette 101
A wedding is one of the most special days for the couple. Do whatever it takes to keep this day from being ruined.
From the moment she says "yes" to the day of "I do", there are millions of things to take care of. And through all the excitement of making this day unforgettable, mistakes are bound to occur in cases when you're the bride-to-be planning your wedding from start to finish, the attendants and family members are helping you in every step of the way, or the guests who will attend the wedding. So, to help you (bride, groom, attendants, family members, and guests) avoid any and all awkward moments at the wedding, Wedessence has answered some of the basic wedding etiquette questions.
Questions on Wedding Etiquette
My fiancée and I are getting married on a short notice, and don't have the time for wedding registry. How can we tell our guests whether they would be okay with giving us cash gifts instead?

Whether or not you want a gift at your wedding, guests will get one regardless. However, if you would rather receive cash or checks, there is a way to include the information in the wedding invitation itself. The best thing to do is tell your guests what you're going to spend this money on. This doesn't mean that they are being snoopy; in fact, it is for their knowledge as to where their contribution is headed in helping the newlyweds. So, include it in your invitation that you don't want a gift from the guests, but instead would like if they gave cash for a honeymoon, house renovation, savings for a new baby, new car, school loan, any debts, or even wedding bills. This way, you won't sound rude for asking cash.
Cash inside gift box
 My fiancé and I have planned on eloping as both our families are insisting on having a huge wedding. How can we have an intimate wedding with only a couple of people as witnesses without offending others?

A marriage is sacred for two people deeply in love. For others, it's a declaration of love and commitment which they would like to be a part of. Not giving your families and close friends the chance to witness your union will hurt them deeply. You are excluding them from being a part of this journey you're about to take together. So, the right thing to do is to be honest with them and be clear that you're not looking for a lavish wedding. Instead, you'd like an intimate wedding with family members and close friends. At least this way, they will get to be a part of your celebration without you having to go through it without their love and support.
Guests Throwing Confetti On Couple
 My future mother-in-law and I are having a tough time resolving an argument. I want the rehearsal dinner and reception to be vegetarian. However, she insists that the guests won't like that idea. What do I do? I don't want to ruin things between us, but on the other hand, want to stand up for my beliefs.

Saving animals is a good cause, and I can understand what you're going through. This is your wedding, and you want to be able to make the decisions without being told what to do. The solution is simple―speak to your future mom-in-law to set the menu for the rehearsal dinner as it is traditionally the responsibility of the groom's family. And as far as the reception menu is concerned, you can be free to plan the menu as it is traditionally the bride's responsibility. It's a win-win resolution, if you ask me.
Menu for reception
 Guests attending the wedding will have to fly for our wedding. Are we expected to pay for the bridal party airfare? We are ready to pay for one very special couple, but not for all. Will it offend others?

Destination weddings are fun and becoming popular tremendously. It's sweet of you to want the bridal party to be able to attend, without putting them off financially. If there are a few people who you know can't afford the trip, they have the option to decline. However, if you're so keen on having them at your wedding, you can offer to pay the airfare for now, and consider it as your gift to them. Just ask them not to make a mention of it to others.
Bride and groom
 After the ceremony, we're planning on having our pictures taken and then directly go for the reception. As a result, if we do not greet the guests personally, will they be offended?

Guests take a great deal of trouble to attend a couple's wedding. It is very important that the bride and groom greet their guests and thank them for attending. If you feel that you're not going to have enough time to meet everyone personally, shift things around in your schedule. Your guests aren't going to remember which flowers were used for the decoration or what band was playing at the reception. What they will remember, however, is that you acknowledged their presence at your wedding.
Bride greeting guests
 My fiancé and I are getting married in Bora Bora. Many of our guests have yet to RSVP, and I am freaking out as it is a week overdue. More than half of the guests haven't sent their response. Should I call them or assume that they're not coming?

In such situations, there are risks involved. On one hand, you can assume that they're coming and make sure there's food and seats for them. Or, on the other hand, you can count them out and have unexpected guests at the wedding. What to do? It's quite simple really. Call these people as you will want to know what your final head count will be. If they can't be reached over the phone, leave a voicemail or send an email. Even after all this, if you don't get any response, assume that they aren't coming because nobody is going to spend so much on a destination wedding and not call to confirm in the first place.
Passport
 My fiancée doesn't have a huge family like mine and is feeling sad that not many people will sit on her side during the ceremony. How can I make her feel better?

In Christian ceremonies, the groom's family sits on the right side, and the bride's family on the left. Many couples like to follow this tradition, but some choose non-traditional seating arrangements for an uneven guest list. Why don't you suggest that instead of choosing a side to sit, the guests seat themselves on either side as it doesn't really matter? On the day of the wedding, two families are going to become one. So, it doesn't really matter where everyone is seated.
Ceremony seating arrangement
 Do I have to pay for the makeup and hair for my maid of honor and bridesmaids? My budget is a bit tight.

Your maid of honor and bridesmaids have a lot of responsibilities during your wedding―right from throwing you a beautiful bachelorette party to purchasing the dress and accessories to getting you a bridal gift. After doing so much for you, it's only right that you pamper them on the day of your wedding. You can tell them to consider this as their gift for the wedding.
Women with face mask
★ My fiancé has two best friends and is confused regarding whom he should select as the best man.

Who says you can't have more than one best man? As much as this day is special for a bride, it is equally important for the groom as well. It is perfectly fine that your fiancé wishes not one, but two of his friends to be there with him on this day. Your friends can share the responsibilities, give the toast together, and make this day a memorable one.
Groom with best men
 One of my bridesmaids told me that she's pregnant. What should I do? Should I ask her not to be my bridesmaid? Is that rude?

Yes, of course that's rude. Once you've asked someone to be your bridesmaid or maid of honor, you cannot undo it. Yes, she's going to be big at your wedding. Yes, it'll throw your lineup at the altar and wedding photos. But take a moment to think what it will mean to your friend if you asked her to back out now. You can easily find maternity bridesmaid dresses in the color you've chosen for the bridesmaids. As far as taking pictures are concerned, you can either hide her bump with certain poses or take this opportunity to play it up.
Expecting Bridesmaid
★ My best friend is getting married and has asked me to be her maid of honor. I'm happy for her and really honored to be an attendant, but I'm short on cash and not sure whether I'll be able to fulfill my duties. How can I politely back out as an attendant?

If you have serious economic crisis and won't be able to fulfill your wedding duties as a maid of honor, you should speak to the bride-to-be immediately. Although your news may upset her, it's very important that you be honest with her. Who knows, after you've talked to her, you two can come up with some solution to be a part of her wedding and not go overboard with your budget too.
Bride at bachelorette party
★ My colleague is getting married again (I had attended her first wedding). Should I get her a gift this time around or will a simple "congratulations" card be enough?

Just because a person is getting married a second time, doesn't mean she doesn't deserve a gift from the people she wishes would attend her wedding. This is a very special day for her, and the fact that this thought even came to your mind is abysmal. All circumstances aside, attending a wedding automatically means taking a meaningful gift for the couple. Your colleague is embarking on a wonderful journey, and needs your good wishes at every step of the way.
Varied gift boxes
★ I've been invited to a beach wedding. Is it okay to wear white? My accessories for the dress will be mint green.

You cannot and will not wear white unless it's mentioned in the invitation. Many brides like the idea of a white wedding, where everyone, along with the bride, wear white. So, unless the invitation clearly states "white attire", only then are you allowed to do so.
Wearing white at wedding
★ My son's getting married and has asked us to help them out with a few wedding expenses. Are the parents of the groom supposed to contribute to the wedding costs?

To each his own. Times have changed, and so have the traditional rules and etiquette of weddings. There are many things the groom and his family are responsible for―rings, gifts for attendants, bachelor dinner, honeymoon expenses, rehearsal dinner, out-of-town guests' expenses, and so much more. Depending on how much contribution is being already put for the wedding from your side (the parents), you can have a candid conversation with your son as early as possible. Many times, the couple take on the responsibility to pay for their wedding. So, it all depends on how much you're willing to do as compared to how much you've already invested.
Newlyweds with family members
When it comes to weddings, it is natural to have second thoughts about how to act, think, or even make sense of certain situations. But the key to tackle these things is to take one step at a time. Knowing what is the right thing to do is always in your heart. You just have to listen to it and follow through.