9 Common Wedding Etiquette Mistakes

Bride being helped to get into wedding dress

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When planning your wedding, keep in mind some of the incidents that can ruin what should be one of the best days of your life. Most couples expect a storybook event, which is nice. However. there are some things that can make your wedding day less than what you hoped for. Avoid as many of these mistakes as possible and be prepared for those you may not have thought of.

Out Late the Night Before the Wedding

Your friends might think it's fun to take you out the night before your wedding, but this can be a huge mistake. Remember that you'll have more photos taken on this day than most others in your life, and you don't want big, dark bags under your eyes. You're better off having your bachelorette party a few nights before your wedding so you can turn in early the night before.

Sacrificing Comfort for Glamour

Yes, it's understood that the bride should be stunning, but don't be miserable, or the beautiful memories will be dulled by pain. Choose a dress that flatters your figure without being so tight or low-cut that you're constantly squirming or adjusting something. Consider wearing flat shoes rather than high heels to make dancing a joyful experience rather than a painful one.

Not Being Prepared

All kinds of things can happen at a wedding, from the flower girl taking off running toward the altar and tripping to the maid of honor or best man not showing up. Have a backup plan for everything so you can seamlessly move forward with your big day.

A few things to consider:

  • Have a fully stocked first aid kit on the premises.
  • Make sure every single child has an adult watching over him or her. Give clear instructions that the child can understand.
  • Ask the wedding party to arrive early so everyone is accounted for.
  • If your wedding is in a church with traditions that aren't familiar to some of your wedding guests, provide some instruction or explanation so they won't be embarrassed or have awkward moments.
  • Have a box of tissues on every pew or row during the ceremony. Your guests will be thankful that they can blot their eyes before their mascara destroys the rest of their makeup.
  • Have someone in charge of maintaining peace at the reception. This may be someone who can let the bartender know they've had too much, or in a more severe situation, call a ride to take them home.
  • Make your photography policy clear before people whip out their cameras and start clicking.
  • Have a talk with your best man and anyone else who might propose a toast about what they should or shouldn't say. 

Not Talking to the DJ

You need to be very clear with the DJ about the demographics of your wedding guests and ask him or her to play appropriate music. Although some grannies might enjoy busting a few hip-hop moves in their kitchens, there are plenty who are offended by it. If you want more contemporary music that might be offensive to some of your guests, ask the DJ to wait until later in the reception, after the early crowd has left.

Forgetting Directions

If your reception is in a different location from the wedding, print some detailed directions, or your guests who haven't yet mastered the GPS might get lost. These can be included in the invitation or handed out as people leave the wedding venue.

Putting Family on the Back Burner

Don't forget about your families when planning the wedding, reception, and gifts. They are the people who have sacrificed the most to get you to this day. Do as much to include them in the ceremony as possible, introduce them at the reception, and give them something special to remember the occasion. The bride and groom's parents should have a special place of honor during both the wedding and the reception.

Expecting People to Read Your Mind

If you want something specific during your wedding or reception be very clear about it as early as possible. Don't forget to let your maid of honor and best man know if you want them to present a toast. They need time to prepare.

Not Talking to Guests

Although this is the bride and groom's special day, they need to be gracious and talk to every guest who attends. Take some time during the reception to make the rounds, stopping off at each table or cluster of guests and say a few kind words. Thank everyone for sharing this special day and let them know how much it means to you for them to be there.

Putting Off Writing Thank You Notes

No one expects you to write thank-you notes during your honeymoon, but make that a priority as soon as you return. The sooner you do it the less likely you are to forget. Both the bride and the groom should share in this responsibility.