Confused by proper wedding protocol? Follow these guidelines, which address the top wedding etiquette questions posed by brides and grooms.
- TIP: You do not need to tip your photographer, florist, or banquet manager.
- Step 1: Send a handwritten thank you note as soon as possible after receiving a wedding gift, but definitely within 3 months. And make sure to personalize each note; no one likes to receive a generic one. With your top wedding etiquette questions answered you are now free to enjoy your big day!
- FACT: Nearly 40 percent of people don’t send a gift if they couldn’t attend the wedding.
- Step 2: Check your contracts to see if gratuities were included in any of your reception services; if not, tip the waitstaff, bartenders, coat check staff, bathroom attendants, and musicians and limo drivers. Tips should be put in sealed envelopes and handed out at the end of the reception by the host or best man.
- Step 3: Follow proper toast protocol: Wedding etiquette dictates that the best man offers the first toast, followed by whoever else wishes to do so. Toasts should take place before the main meal is served and be kept to about 3 minutes.
- TIP: When coming up with a total guest count, keep in mind that 10 to 20 percent of invitees send their regrets.
- Step 4: Mail the invitations 6 weeks before the wedding. If a couple lives at the same address but has different last names, list both on the envelope in alphabetical order. Couples that don’t live together should receive individual invitations. Technically, "and Guest" is considered gauche; the bride or groom should request the names and addresses of intended escorts.
- Step 5: If you’re inviting children, their names should be on the reply card, but not on the outside envelope. If you’re excluding children, try to spread the word ahead of time to avoid having to answer awkward questions. And make sure there isn’t a "Number of Guests" space on the reply card.
- Step 6: Have a balanced guest list. As a general rule, the person who’s paying for the wedding comes up with a total guest count, which is then divided between the bride and the groom. If the nonpaying family wants to foot the bill for extra guests and the wedding couple doesn’t mind having more people, it’s perfectly fine to accept the offer.