Your Top Etiquette Questions

Discover quick answers to several frequently-asked wedding questions.

Is it okay to invite someone to a wedding shower, but not to the wedding?
If someone receives an invitation to any wedding-related party, they should also receive an invitation to the wedding.

How do I let someone know that kids are not invited?
Do not include the child’s name on the invitation.

How binding is a verbal invitation?
If you verbally invite someone to your wedding, then yes, you should send an invitation. If someone asks if they’re invited, gently and politely side-step the question.

Is it okay to send someone a Save the Date and later choose not to invite him or her?
A Save the Date indicates that an invitation will follow. If a person receives any wedding correspondence, he or she should receive an invitation. It is better to not send someone a Save the Date and later send an invitation when you’re sure that you can accommodate them.

I sent someone a Save the Date and she already told me she won’t be at the wedding. Do I have to send her an invitation?
Yes. Plans change.

Can I send someone an invitation and not invite his or her significant other?
A couple is regarded as a single social unit. It is considered impolite to invite one and not the other.

Do I need to invite my co-workers?
Absolutely not. Instead, refrain from wedding talk at the workplace and send invitations only to the co-workers you want there.

Do I include registry information on the wedding invitation?
Do not include registry information on wedding invitations. It is fine to include the information on shower and tea invitations.

Can I have a B-List?
A B-List is a second guest list. As people from the A-List decline their invitation, the bride pulls names from the B-List to fill up remaining spots. This is wrong! Most people realize that they were not on the original list and feelings can be easily (and understandably) hurt.

Who gets the final say in wedding decisions?
If a person is financially contributing to the wedding, they should have input in wedding decisions.
Of course, this can quickly get out of hand. Avoid any problems by openly talking about expectations, who should and should not be on the guest list, budget, and who is paying for what. If problems arise, quickly and calmly discuss other options. This is an excellent chance to develop communication skills, especially if a future in-law is contributing financially.

Can I ask for money instead of gifts?
Never request a certain gift, unless asked. Instead, have a sibling or parent pass the word along.  You can always open a small registry for those who feel that giving money is too impersonal.

I’m on a budget. Is it rude to have a cash bar or to ask my guests to pay for dinner?
Your reception is a gift to your guests. You should never ask them to pay for their own food.
Most people consider cash bars to be rude. Instead, offer a limited menu of beer and wine, as well as a specialty cocktail.

At a wedding shower, is it alright to ask guests to address their own thank-you note envelopes?
NEVER! True, addressing envelopes is time-consuming, but you should never ask your guests to address their own thank-you notes.

I was in a friend’s wedding party a while ago and now it’s my turn to walk down the aisle. Do I have to ask her to be my bridesmaid?
No. Relationships change and if you are no longer close to a friend, you don’t have to ask her to be in your wedding.

Can I “un-ask” someone to be a bridesmaid?
This is a tough question. Relationships can change quickly when involved in the stress of wedding planning. First ask yourself—Can this friendship be salvaged? Do I want to potentially lose a friend? Then sit down with the bridesmaid and have a heart-to-heart. Many times, a bridesmaid will back down and attend the wedding as a guest. If she has already financially invested in the wedding through the purchase of her dress or throwing showers, consider reimbursing her.

We eloped, but are having a reception. Should I expect to receive gifts?
Most people feel that if they are not invited to a couple’s wedding, the couple should not expect a gift. You most likely will receive a few gifts from well-wishers, but should not include registry information on the invitation.

Is it rude to not invite guests who were invited to my brother/ sister’s wedding?
This is a common misconception, especially in small towns where everybody knows everybody. But you don’t have to invite someone to your wedding just because your sister did.

How late is too late to write thank-you notes?
It is never too late to write someone a thank-you note. Sure, it will be more embarrassing to send one a year after your wedding, but it will be appreciated.

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Caitlin L. Cornelison