Similar to any formal event, there are rules you should follow regarding weddings. For starters, you need to send out invitations with ample time so guests can block out the date. Likewise, you need a backup plan so there’s a safety net for the major worst-case scenarios. Note the top faux pas of weddings that couples need to avoid before and during the big day.
Faux Pas: Last Minute Invites
Most everyone understands that planning a wedding is time-consuming, to say the least. Juggling that with a job, caring for a house, and other life responsibilities can feel overwhelming. However, this doesn’t mean you should wait until the last second to send out save the dates or invitations. As excited as guests may be about your engagement and wedding, you can’t assume they’ll put their lives on hold while awaiting your invitation.
When To Send Save the Dates
Ideally, save the dates should go out 8 to 12 months before the big day so everyone can note it in their calendar. This becomes even more important for out-of-town guests and destination weddings since guests need time to schedule a vacation at work and buy plane tickets.
When To Send Invitations
Your actual invitation should go out 4 to 5 months before the wedding. By this point, guests should already have the date marked in their calendar, but life gets busy, and people get lost in the chaos. Your invitation serves as a reminder to guests. This also tells guests how to RSVP and typically states the dinner options.
Inviting A-List vs. B-List Guests
Send your save the dates and invitations to A-list guests first to ensure the people you want most have a chance to check their date books. Note how many people decline the invitation so you can select the same number of B-list guests to ask. Your B-list guests should get their invitations six to eight weeks before your wedding. This gives everyone on the A-list ample time to confirm whether they can make it.
Faux Pas: Ditching the Backup Plan
On your big day, you should have a plan for various situations that could pop up. If you don’t get ready at the ceremony space, what will you do if your ride there doesn’t show up? Likewise, where will you go if your outdoor venue gets rained out? Without a plan, the bridezilla or groomzilla could get loose, and no guest wants to bear witness to that!
Backup plans also keep the day running smoothly so you can push on despite any bumps in the road. For instance, you should have an indoor space ready to go if you planned an outdoor ceremony. This way, you can easily move inside if the weather is bad.
Faux Pas: Lacking Organization
When guests get to your ceremony space, they should know where to go, especially if it’s in a hall with various rooms. In addition to this, guests should know the following:
- What time the ceremony starts
- Where to sit at the reception
- When the reception ends
Openly communicate all this to guests by noting it on the invitation. You can also have decorative signs in the space, such as “Ceremony This Way,” and place cards with each guest’s name and table number.
You should also communicate whether plus-one guests are allowed and hotel accommodations for out-of-town guests. Also, many couples offer a trolly or party bus to transport guests to and from the hotel to prevent drinking and driving after the party.
Faux Pas: Neglecting Your Vendors
Certain vendors, such as your photographer, videographer, and wedding planner, will spend most of the day with you. They deserve time to eat, just as all your wedding guests do. Ideally, you should allow them the food you’ll serve guests around the time everyone else eats. While you’ve hired these talented professionals to work for you, they deserve breaks, just as anyone else would get breaks at their job.
Faux Pas: The Dreadful Singles Table
Weddings are all about romance, and while countless movies follow the plot trope of two singles meeting at a wedding and falling in love, this isn’t realistic. Seating all the singles at the same table can leave them feeling singled out or embarrassed.
Rather than single out all guests going to your wedding solo, seat them alongside friends. If a guest doesn’t know many people at your wedding, sit them alongside individuals you know will make them feel included. Don’t play matchmaker. Instead, focus on ensuring everyone has a blast celebrating your love story.
Faux Pas: Valuing Trends Over Your Style
While trends set what’s in style, don’t go overboard. When your wedding looks too trendy, it seems more like an example of a bridal expo than your space. Blend what’s trending with your style. You could also evaluate trending colors and use that palette when buying or making decor for your wedding. This puts a unique spin on things without sacrificing style.
Picking Your Color Scheme
The best colors for a wedding shift from season to season. A big part of knowing how to pick the best colors for your wedding is noting the hues you like, seasonality, and the mood you want to set.
Faux Pas: Too Many Speeches
Some speeches are traditional, such as those from the maid of honor, best man, parents of the couple, and the newlyweds. However, when these speeches seem to go on and on, guests get bored, which doesn’t kick off that party atmosphere.
Each speech should only be 3 to 5 minutes long. As you and your partner craft your speeches, aim to thank guests for coming and tell them how much they all mean to you. Go through a few practice rounds before the big day so you know exactly how long your speech is and that you say exactly what you want. If you tend to get off track when talking, keep a notecard with your key points handy as you give your thank-you speech during the reception.
While you shouldn’t dictate what your other speakers say, they may need some guidelines to keep theirs brief. Ask all guests giving speeches to go through a practice round with you. If they want what they say to remain a surprise, have them rehearse with other wedding party members.
Thinking of the perfect thing to say isn’t easy, especially when the spotlight is on you. You and any guests giving speeches can check out the best wedding toasts from movies for some inspo in crafting the perfect speech.
Faux Pas: Not Understanding Cocktail Hour
It’s called “cocktail hour” because it should only last 60 to 90 minutes. While passed hors d’oeuvres and signature cocktails taste delicious, they don’t fill guests up. Plus, venue employees typically use this time to set up for the reception, so seating space may be more limited—no one wants to spend two hours standing. On the other hand, if your cocktail hour is less than 60 minutes, guests will feel rushed. People like to walk around the venue and take in the beauty of it.
Preventing this Faux Pas
Often, a cocktail hour may go too long because the couple has a lot of photos to take. However, keeping cocktail hour at an ideal length does not mean skipping those precious family photos. If you have a large family, aim to take some of your pictures before the ceremony. Many couples do “first looks,” where they take a few photos together and then some with the wedding party. This saves time after the ceremony since they can use that time to focus on family photos.
A lot goes into planning the perfect day, but by knowing the faux pas to avoid at your wedding, you can ensure every detail aligns with your definition of perfection. It’s time to plan your dream day with the love of your life. Happy wedding planning!