Weddings present many questions, some of which can veer into potentially awkward or friendship-diminishing territory. So we sought the expertise of experts in order to provide answers for some of the more commonly-asked inquiries about marriage and related topics.
Make this day about you and your love, not anyone else’s presence if that will detract from that goal.
1. Do I Have to Say Hello?
Wedding etiquette exists to make life easier for guests attending, yet sometimes breaking certain traditions that feel uncomfortable or rude may be necessary. For instance, inviting non-invited friends to your shower could cause awkwardness and potentially damage relationships.
Arriving too early can cause unnecessary stress for brides and grooms who want to ensure that all special moments in their ceremony don’t pass them by. Instead, stick to the time listed on your invitation or arrive just a bit earlier for safety’s sake.
Even if you aren’t part of a receiving line, it is still polite to greet every guest you meet throughout the night. Be it during dinner service or circulating around on the dance floor – always smile and say hello when appropriate.
2. Do I Have to Say Goodbye?
Proper wedding etiquette includes saying goodbye to guests on their way out of the event, either via receiving line at the start or organic conversation at the end. Couples don’t necessarily need to talk individually with every guest they invited — especially if there were many.
No matter how enjoyable a party may be, if someone in your immediate circle seems off or you just don’t enjoy their company it would be wiser to leave on good terms rather than cause trouble by criticizing food, music, vows or vow renewals during a ceremony – otherwise the newlyweds might become stressed with hearing about something not being as planned from guests and wedding party members alike.
3. Do I Have to Leave the Reception?
Your decision on leaving early depends on who you are and your relationship to the couple, but close friends and family should plan to attend until the very end of the celebration so as to share in their joy.
Couples usually put considerable thought and consideration into planning their seating arrangement and should take relationships and personalities into account when inviting plus-ones. Rearranging seating charts without proper consideration could cause discomfort for those invited to sit together.
If you need to leave, wait until all official parts of the wedding, such as dinner and cake-cutting have taken place, before leaving. That way you can do it efficiently.
4. Do I Have to Say Thank You?
While it is acceptable to say hello when guests are introduced throughout the evening or in a receiving line prior to the ceremony, keep conversations brief and avoid becoming overly personal. Be respectful of bride and groom by not dominating their attention with long conversations that go off topic.
As part of proper wedding etiquette, one key rule to follow is being an attentive guest. “Don’t forget that they traveled a great distance or took time off work just to join your special day!” states Fallon Carter from Fallon Carter Events.
After the ceremony is complete, it’s essential to thank both bride and groom for their hospitality and express your thanks to anyone who made a contribution towards making their special day possible. You should also express your thanks to anyone who made financial donations towards helping make the wedding possible.
5. Do I Have to Tip?
Wedding guests might be unclear about whether to tip vendors at their event. Some, like hair and makeup artists, expect tips; other vendors do not expect tips but would appreciate it if their clients gave it anyway (musicians are an example).
Tip jars can be an efficient and practical way for couples to collect extra gratuity from guests for services like bartending and catering, although some couples prefer alternative means of showing appreciation such as giving post-wedding money or posting positive reviews online.
If you don’t intend to give a tip, be sure to arrive on time and remain quiet during the ceremony. Rushing in just as the bride or groom are about to walk down the aisle would not only be rude but can ruin photos and videos that will remain forever.