Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bridal Etiquette Q&A-Top Wedding Guest Etiquette Questions Answered

Every bride and her mother has an opinion on what constitutes a perfect wedding and on how perfectly the new bride executed her duties … and they are all too quick to point out if she committed a wedding faux pas.

While it is impossible for a bride to please everyone, there are certain wedding rules she should obey.

Here are three of the most frequently asked wedding guest etiquette questions and tips on how to handle these sometimes-not-so-delicate situations.

1. Do we have to send a wedding invitation to everyone who attended our engagement party?

WW: First of all, congratulations on announcing your engagement with a bang-I love engagement parties. But to answer your question … yes. Everyone who receives an invitation to your engagement party should receive an invitation to your wedding.

It is for this reason experts recommend that couples don’t do anything until they have established their guest list … just too much revolves around it.

The same goes for your wedding shower or any other pre-wedding events you have. Once again, if you invite someone to your engagement party, wedding shower or bridal shower, they will expect to be invited to the wedding.

*The exception to this is when your coworkers host a shower for you at work.

2. How do I ask guests to BYOB?

WW: Well, you don’t. Even if you are having an informal wedding, guests should never be asked to pull out their wallet (as in cash bars) or even worse-asked to bring their own liquor. It is considered poor taste. If you can’t afford a full bar, then you can either 1) limit your choices to beer and wine only 2) omit drinks during the cocktail hour or 3) shorten your reception time.

3. Do I have to include a +1 on my invitations for single guests?

WW: The short answer is NO. It is your wedding and you are not required to invite-and buy dinner for-someone you don’t know, in this case, your single guests’ dates. That being said, there are some exceptions you might want to consider:

- If any of your guests have had a long-term boyfriend/girlfriend, then that person should be included on the invitation. Use your good judgment to define “long-term” and try to be consistent with all of your guests. You want your guests to feel comfortable at your wedding, but you aren’t required to invite their boyfriend du jour to your big bash.

- Live-ins. Likely if someone has a live-in boyfriend/girlfriend, they fit in the “long-term” category above. Remember, many people consider their live-ins to be spousal and are offended if that person isn’t invited to your wedding. I know people who have declined to attend a wedding, simply because of this unfortunate oversight.

- If you have guests who are traveling a great distance, either by car or plane, or who will have to spend the night in a hotel, it is considerate to include a +1 on their invitations, even if they don’t have a long-term boyfriend/girlfriend. Put yourself in their shoes and consider how you’d feel if you had to travel a long distance, spend the night by yourself and essentially be alone throughout the wedding.

Do you have any etiquette questions? If so, leave them in the comments or send me an email at cherrye.moore@gmail.com and I’ll answer them next week!

Photo courtesy of
Auntie P


Anonymous said...

What to do when kids aren't invited and you're put on the spot in advance "but isn't it different for family kids," or worse yet, they just bring them -- and they proceed to cry during the ceremony, don't have a seat or meal at the reception, etc.

Cherrye Moore said...

Hey Anon,

Thank you for your question. I'll post a response on September 1.