Wedding Reception Etiquette

Tips to Proper Reception Etiquette

The rules of etiquette are thick when it comes to wedding receptions. Can we ask for monetary gifts? Can I exclude children? And debates about cash bars are all common.

We hope to solve your wedding etiquette dilemmas with the following:

  • Requesting cash gifts is just plain rude. Weddings aren't fundraisers and you should never mention cash gifts, or any gifts, on your wedding invitations. However, word of mouth can be a powerful thing. Enlist your family and bridal party mouthpieces to spread the word on your behalf.
  • Always send a thank you note for each and every engagement party, wedding shower and wedding gift. Even if it's a thank you for the 10th toaster every guest deserves an acknowledgement of their gift. You should be grateful that they even took the time and money to purchase a gift and attend your wedding.
  • Each member of your bridal party is responsible to pay for their dress and accessories. In some cases brides pay for their bridal party's attire as part of their thank you gift, but the bride isn't obligated. To avoid financial arguments be clear about bridal party and allow them to decline your request.
  • When it comes to second marriages and living together before marriage the do's and don'ts for wearing white don't apply. Even though Emily Post would look down her nose, second-time brides are having traditional church ceremonies and wearing white bridal gowns. Even many first-time brides wear ivory, champagne or other pale shades that flatter their skin tones. To accommodate modern brides gown designers now offer sexy sheaths and strapless sun dresses.
  • Divorced and separated parents are also a cause for concern. If divorced parents are contributing to the wedding the invitation should read - Mr. & Mrs. Bride's Parents and Mr. Groom's Dad and Ms. Groom's Mom request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their children
  • Separate divorced parents at wedding receptions. For example seat the groom's father with his family or friends and the groom's mother with hers.
  • If want to exclude children from your wedding reception indicate 'adults-only' reception on your wedding invitation. The terms 'no kids' or 'kids not welcome' are viewed as rude by guests with parents. Offering babysitting services in a nearby room might make up for it.
  • Many couples have cash bars to cut costs at their wedding reception. However, expect to be labeled as 'cheap' if you do. Refer to our page on Cash Bars vs. Open Bars for some great moneysaving alternatives.
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