Modern Wedding Etiquette

From over-the-top glamorous affairs to chic DIY events, the Ballroom has hosted a wide variety of parties that have pleased a plethora of palates and budgets. Even though no two events are alike in terms of budget and/or aesthetic, the same wedding etiquette applies to any type of soiree.

Since the Ballroom’s employees are constantly faced with tough questions regarding wedding etiquette, they’ve decided to address some of the most common topics discussed.

Guest List: So, you’ve selected a venue that comfortably fits 300, but you’re so popular that you have 500 people on your guest list. You may want to reconsider so you don’t run into any capacity issues the day of the event. Always pick a venue based on your total guest count. Do not apply the 1/3 of the people will not show up rule because you may be in for a surprise. Not sure who to cut? Create a list from scratch and select immediate family members and close friends first. There’s no rule that states you have to invite everyone you have come into contact with throughout your life. It’s perfectly fine to leave your mailman and 2nd grade teacher off the list.

What happens if you don’t plan accordingly: Your venue will not be able to accommodate the extra guests. There will not be enough room or enough tables or chairs set up. Your reception will feel cramped and your guests will not be happy.

Inviting Co-Workers: A lot of brides and grooms ask if inviting co-workers is essential. If you have a close personal relationship with a colleague at work and you have a friendship outside of the office, by all means invite him or her. Be careful though because things can get tricky and people’s feelings can be hurt. It’s okay to invite your boss or manager, but keep the invites on the down low. Don’t make the invite extension water cooler conversation.

What happens if you make your wedding the talk of the office: The more you talk about it, the more people will expect to be invited. When some people get invitations and others don’t, expect some animosity to occur. People will feel very hurt, which will make you feel uncomfortable.

Plus One Rule: This gets tricky because some people expect to bring a guest. Even when there’s no plus one indicated on the invitation, people still think it’s okay to bring someone. For brides and grooms, it’s polite to give someone a plus one if they are engaged or seriously dating someone, or if they will be traveling from out of town and won’t know anyone else.

What happens if you don’t make the plus one rule clear: There have been so many awkward encounters at weddings within the Ballroom where people are assigned a seat and clearly didn’t pay attention to the lack of a plus one on the invite. It usually leaves the guest out of a seat and feeling out of place. A lot of venues work with the couples to create a very detailed seating chart and layout. Don’t expect a venue to set extra chairs or roll out another table during the event. If it’s a plated meal, the guest will likely not get served without a place card.

Wedding Party Inclusion: The Ballroom has seen a lot of large wedding parties, but the largest has to be the one with over 30 people. Basically, there were 15 bridesmaids and 15 groomsmen. There comes a point in time when head tables can only be so big. It’s okay to cut people and just stick with your siblings, cousins or very close friends. You don’t need to extend a bridesmaid invite to your entire sorority.

What happens if your bridal party is too large: Your venue might have certain restrictions in place on how many people can sit at a head table. You will also run into a lot of different opinions on bridesmaid dresses and tux rentals. The less people; the less hassle.

Food Allergy Overload: From a catering standpoint, it seems that everyone is allergic to something from dairy to eggs to black pepper. While some people are truly allergic to mushrooms or tomatoes, others simply have an aversion to these food groups. Unless someone is truly allergic to something, do not accommodate their food requests. Obviously, vegetarians, vegans, and other dietary restrictions can and should be honored, but guests shouldn’t push the envelope with their requests. One example is a guest who noted on their reply card that they were on a diet and wanted a healthy salad instead of the meal selected by the bride and groom. Not happening!

What happens if everyone writes an allergy on their reply card: Hopefully, you’ll know your guests well enough to know if it’s a true allergy. If you have your doubts or someone is being really picky and it seems a bit over the top, contact them and explain that the menu is set. Most people should understand this and will plan to eat at home prior to arriving.

Got a question for us? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Stay tuned for more wedding etiquette advice! Happy planning!