Featured Bride, Lauren W.: Basic Wedding Etiquette

Featured Bride, Lauren W. Wedding Location: Wayzata, MN | Wedding Date: October 8, 2011

Basic wedding etiquette.

As a Minnesota wedding photographer (and a very talented one, at that!), Wedding Shoppe, Inc. Featured Bride, Lauren W. has become something of an expert on all things wedding! She touches on some of the most common questions asked, so continue reading to get her wedding etiquette answers. With her own wedding date fast-approaching, Lauren W. offers advice and tips on proper wedding etiquette, to help brides-to-be & grooms-to-be, even including a few tips for wedding guest etiquette.


We are seriously down to the wire now! 15 days! I can remember my first post nearly a year ago when I was asking myself, "Will the day ever get here?" We're so excited! So, I get asked a lot by brides-to-be, grooms-to-be and guests-to-be about what the best wedding etiquette would be regarding certain aspects of a wedding. There are way too many traditional etiquette items to list in this one blog post, but I will talk about some more modern-day etiquette rules/guidelines. Enjoy!

1. For Brides/Grooms-to-be: Etiquette Rules for Wedding Favors.

Common Question: How much should we spend on favors? Answer: Whatever you feel comfortable with. There is no absolute minimum or maximum for what is appropriate. Many couples are now doing donations to a charitable organization in lieu of favors which is admirable and modern. The point of wedding favors is to give your guests a small token of thanks for sharing in your special day. We will be having a candy bar in place of our favors; guests can help themselves to the smorgasbord of chocolate, sugar and sours we will have available!

Basic Wedding Etiquette from Featured Bride Lauren W: Etiquette rules for wedding favors

2. For Brides/Grooms-to-be and Guests: Wedding Invitation Etiquette & Wedding RSVP Etiquette.

Common Question: Do we allow 'Plus Ones'? How can we properly let people know who is invited? Answer: This is always a hard question but has become more easy to understand in modern-day terms. The names you include on the invitation to your guests are those who are invited. Many guests who may not attend weddings very often assume the 'Plus One' rule is a given, so it's no fault of their own if you receive a "+1" on their RSVP. But here is a word to GUESTS of a wedding: If your invitation is addressed to "Your Name & Guest," you are allowed to bring a guest. If it has simply "Your Name," you are the only one invited. If it says "Your Name & Family," you may RSVP for your family. There are many reasons why guest lists are created, and guests need to be respectful of the bride & groom's wishes. They may have limited their guest list due to cost or space constraints, or it may just be that they don't want a bunch of people they don't know at their wedding. So, brides and grooms, invite who you want to spend your day with. And, guests, respect the couple's decisions. They care about you and want you there. Basic Wedding Etiquette from Featured Bride Lauren W: Wedding Invitation Etiquette & Wedding RSVP Etiquette

3. For Guests: Wedding Gift Etiquette.

Common Question: How much should we spend on gifts? Answer: The traditional answer here is "as much as you believe your meal is worth." The modern answer here is "whatever you think is appropriate." This is a question I get a ton. Being a bride now, I am floored with the generosity of our friends and family and can totally understand how blessed brides and grooms feel when receiving gifts, whether they be big or small. One of the best gifts we've gotten so far is a small, cow-shaped butter holder from my grandma. It's so adorable and means a lot to us. The bottom line is that you are the best judge of what you should get the bride and groom, but know that whatever you give is much appreciated by the bride and groom. Basic Wedding Etiquette from Featured Bride Lauren W: Wedding Gift Etiquette

4. For Brides/Grooms: Wedding Speeches.

Common Question: Who should give wedding speeches? Do we keep it open-ended? Answer: This, again, is up to you. However, after being a part of many weddings as a photographer, I can tell you that the best speeches I have seen were the shortest speeches given by only a few select individuals. Just be sure your wedding party and DJ know who will be giving speeches or if it will be open to the floor. Traditionally, the father of the bride, maid/matron of honor, and best man will give speeches. Basic Wedding Etiquette from Featured Bride Lauren W: Wedding Speeches

5. For Brides/Grooms: Tipping the Wedding Vendors.

Common Question: How much should we tip vendors? Which vendors should we tip? Answer: Many vendors have gratuity built into their contracts with you. You will want to be sure to know if that is the case before your big day. Now, if a vendor has gone out of their way to make your day carefree and wonderful, a tip is always a very kind "thank you" for their services. If you don't feel that the service was up to par, however, don't ever feel obligated to tip. Tips are only for high-quality services. It is common for DJ's, bartenders and event sites to get tips, but not as common for videographers, calligraphers and photographers. I can tell you though, we greatly appreciate it! Basic Wedding Etiquette from Featured Bride Lauren W: Tipping the Wedding Vendors

6. For Guests: Wedding Guest Etiquette about Wedding Etiquette Attire.

Common Question: What should I wear to a wedding? Answer: This is a question that I don't get very often, but I think it should be addressed. I have photographed weddings for nearly five years now, and been a part of many, many weddings. I have seen some of the most beautifully dressed guests and also some of the most inappropriately dressed ones. Here are some general rules:
  • Do not wear white
  • Check your hemline, ladies. Short dresses are not appropriate at weddings, especially those in churches. If, when you put your arms straight down with palms flat against your thighs and your dress is shorter than your middle finger, it is too short.
  • Jeans are never appropriate UNLESS your invitation states "casual dress is appropriate".
  • Plunging necklines and skin-tight outfits are also not appropriate.
[caption id="attachment_8887" align="aligncenter" width="610"]Basic Wedding Etiquette from Featured Bride Lauren W: Wedding Guest Etiquette & Wedding Etiquette Attire Wedding Etiquette Attire; Photos taken by Minnesota Wedding Photographer, LCPhotography[/caption] So far, our wedding planning has been wonderful! I hope all of you brides and grooms out there are having as much fun getting everything ready as we are! It's hard to believe we are just 15 days away from our "I do"s!


Follow Lauren W. and her wedding planning journey as she gets closer to her big day here on My Wedding Chat.  If you are interested in becoming a My Wedding Chat Featured Bride and sharing your wedding story with brides and wedding-lovers alike, email blog@weddingshoppeinc.com for more information! Other Posts You’ll Love by Featured Bride, Lauren W.: One Month Away! {44 Days and lots of DIY!} Two Months Away & My Top Picks
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