It's been a while since we touched on wedding etiquette, so I decided to dedicate this post to a random assortment of wedding etiquette topics. A heads up that most topics can be debated on either side, but all are interested and necessary to consider when you're planning your wedding. A good way to think about things is to weigh the pros cons for both the wedding couple, the family, and the guests. Let's take a closer look at some examples of real life guest complaints afterr attending weddings. (All of these examples were pulled word for word from wedding chat boards and other websites.)
1) "I went to my "friend's" wedding last summer, in which she had several etiquette breaches, starting with the invitations. I, fortunately, was invited to the entire wedding- ceremony, reception, and dance....my cousin, a mutual friend, was invited to just the dance part..." In this case, it looks like the couple wanted to tailor a wedding with a more intimate gathering for the ceremony. It also looks like they maybe tried to save money by not inviting certain groups to eat the dinner at the reception but rather to come just to the dance part. My unbiased opinion? This is more than okay for the ceremony, but if some guests get fed and others don't, word will spread and people will just not get it. I would suggest budgeting for a menu and a size of reception that can accommodate all persons you'd like to invite to the reception. I think it's totally fine to have a smaller gathering for a ceremony.
2) "I had a long term boyfriend and he was not listed on the invitation, which I thought must have been a mistake, so I called and asked if I could bring him- which she said was fine....but 2 weeks before the wedding, she told me not to." Sometimes in order to tailor the attendance, brides and grooms will decide for or against inviting friends' dates or friends' children or what not. This can be done for budget reasons or just to keep the gathering from getting to an out of control free for all. Guests simply will have a wide variety of acceptance levels for this. Some people grew up in areas where a wedding invite was an open call for you to bring anyone you'd like and that often the whole community would turn out for a wedding. Brides and grooms need to be specific if they wish to not invite children, for example. They can do this with specific wording and/or follow up phone calls for the rsvps. Above all, once you decide whether or not to include certain groups of people, try to make that decision consistent across the board, and for heaven's sake, do not change your mind two weeks before the wedding.
3) "Well, I showed up at the wedding...the ceremony was nice...but afterwards we had to wait almost THREE HOURS to eat!" This kind of long wait often happens because brides and grooms wait to see each other until the actual ceremony which pushes all formal family/wedding party pictures until after the ceremony. Depending on the size of the group and the organization, this picture session can make your guests wait, and wait, and wait. Here are some ways to combat this. First, work with your photographer so that there is a specific line up of which picture goes when. Your photographer will not know names of friends and relatives, so appoint someone to help the photographer by keeping an "on deck" group ready to jump in for the next picture. For your guests, provide some sort of entertainment and/or sustenance while they wait. Appetizers, music, or fun activities will help the time go by quickly. You could also consider taking formal pictures before the ceremony if you and your fiance are open to seeing each other before the ceremony.
4) "It was a CASH BAR! I didn't bring any money to the wedding, so I couldn't drink anything...huge bummer..." This is a tough one. Having a cash bar is a relief to the wedding budget because an open bar can encourage people to drink more than normal since they wouldn't pick up the tab. Even if everyone had a "normal" ammount of alcohol, a large wedding can wrack up a huge charge for someone to pick up. If you opt for a cash bar, you could consider paying for kegs of beer or X amount of bottles of wine. You could also try to pick a location that had an ATM on site. Note to all wedding guests: you should probably carry a little cash or a charge card to all weddings if drinking alcoholic beverages is important to you. You just never know what the bride and groom have planned, and most likely, it would not be specified on any invitation information.
5) "The dance started and all they played was theme songs to Star Wars, Ghost Busters, and Star Trek...." First, I want to state that I completely encourage couples to personalize their wedding including the music to suit their tastes. It's your wedding, and you don't have to go with cookie cutter everything. If you have a very non-traditional taste in music, consider mixing things up. Think about what your guests like. If they aren't all trekkies, you're going to want to throw in some top 40 hits to get them on the dance floor. There is nothing worse than an empty dance floor, if you ask me.
There are tons of these kinds of random rants from wedding guests out there, and we'll address more in the future. What do you all think? Which of these do you care about? Which of these will make you say "oh well"? Chime in!