weddings 101

5 Wedding Taboos That May Surprise You

Who knew something as joyous as a wedding could have so many rules? While you can throw tradition to the wind for some wedding-related things, other areas have steadfast rules for a reason and it’s wise to follow them. Doing so should prevent you from upsetting guests or embarrassing yourselves. We sat down with etiquette expert Lizzie Post to discuss five wedding taboos that couples might be surprised to learn they’re breaking.

Taboo #1: Not setting a defined budget. This might not seem like an obvious faux pas, but Post insists it’s the biggest mistake a couple can make. Post has partnered with Bank of America and the first tip she gives engaged couples is to set up a checking account that is solely for the wedding budget. Post’s second piece of advice: sit down with your parents and have a conversation about who is contributing what, and what each set of parents’ expectations are around their contribution. If the bride’s mom is paying for the dress, does she expect to have input on the style? “Things can get messy very quickly,” says Post. So, keep track of your spending or have open lines of communication with your parents.

Taboo #2: Having a cash bar. Alcohol is one of the largest costs involved in hosting a wedding, but Post says the cash bar is always taboo. “It’s not appropriate to ask guests to pay for drinks at your party,” she says. There are a couple of options for couples who are on a budget and want to cut costs on the bar bill, including having a dry wedding (absolutely no alcohol); only serving alcohol during the cocktail hour; or sticking with beer and wine (no spirits, which can be costly) during the meal.

Taboo #3: Not arranging for childcare for a kid-free wedding. It’s perfectly acceptable to have an adults-only celebration, but Post recommends that the bride and groom take the extra step and set up a trusted babysitter in a trusted location where parents can take their kids while they’re at your wedding. “When you choose not to invite kids to your wedding, you run the risk of not having these people come because they can’t find childcare,” Post warns. Arranging for childcare is a win-win: It gives parents the freedom to attend your celebration without worrying about who will be looking after their children, and you’ll get to have those people be part of your big day.

Taboo #4: Excluding your fiance(e)’s sibling(s) from the wedding party. According to Post, it’s ideal to include your partner’s sibling(s) if you’re having a wedding party. “It’s a really sweet gesture, and a great way to extend a kind courtesy to your future sister-in-law,” says Post. Your partner’s sibling might decline the offer, but it’s important that you give him/her the option to be included. “It’s also perfectly ok nowadays for the brother to simply ask his sister to stand by his side,” adds Post.

Taboo #5: Not saying thanks. Your wedding duties don’t end the morning after your big day–there are still those thank you cards to write! Post says that, ideally, couples should send out handwritten thank you cards to each guest within three months of the wedding, even if you’ve already said thanks in person. While most guests will give you a wedding gift, it’s important to also acknowledge those who don’t. Send them a note of thanks for having been there to celebrate with you. You definitely don’t want to be one of those bridezillas who berate their guests for giving an “inadequate” gift or none at all.

Image: Wild Eyed Photography