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Wedding Etiquette: 7 Rules You Don’t Have to Follow

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Planning a wedding can be as stressful as it is exciting, especially when you consider all the rules and traditions you have to navigate to keep in line with current wedding etiquette. You certainly don’t want to be “that couple” that broke some long-standing rule of wedding etiquette, but this is also your day, and you should be allowed to make it your own! So, where are the lines drawn? If you’re planning your big day (or attending someone else’s) and aren’t sure which rules can be broken and which ones would cause major outrage, keep reading to learn the seven rules of wedding etiquette you can feel free to ignore!

7. Brides Should Always Wear White

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The tradition of the white wedding gown started with Queen Victoria, and is still considered by many to be the number one rule when planning a wedding. For brides who don’t feel comfortable wearing a “virginal” white wedding dress, an off-white or even pale rose color is considered acceptable, but, according to this very dated rule, the bride should always stay as close to white as possible when choosing her gown.

Many brides these days are choosing to throw tradition out the window when it comes to choosing a dress, however, and weddings are becoming more colorful than ever. From rich reds to beautiful blues, wedding gowns are showing up in all sorts of stunning colors, so don’t be afraid to choose a dress that really suits your own unique style!

6. …But Guests Should Never Wear White

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Since the bride traditionally wears white, and all attention should be on her, wedding guests have historically been forbidden to wear white themselves. Like the tradition of brides wearing white, however, this is yet another antiquated tradition that many modern brides (and guests) are tossing out the window. This is especially true if the bride isn’t wearing a traditional white or ivory wedding gown. However, if you’re planning to attend a wedding wearing your best white dress, you might want to check with the bride and groom first, to make sure they aren’t planning a strictly traditional wedding. It goes without saying, of course, that you should never try to upstage the bride on her wedding day, no matter what color you wear. Keep your attire wedding-appropriate, but never overdone.

5. The Bride’s Family Pays for Everything

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According to tradition, the brides family is expected to foot the bill for the bulk of the wedding expenses, but this rule is quickly becoming obsolete. For one, many couples are choosing to marry later in life, after they’ve established themselves financially, and couples these days pay for their own weddings more often than not. Even when family does step up to cover all or part of the costs, the traditions surrounding which family pays for what are not nearly as strict as they once were. If you’re getting help from family, ask specifically for what you’d like help paying for, regardless of tradition. It’s no longer considered poor etiquette for the groom’s family to pay for the reception or the bride’s family to cover the cost of the dress and the tuxedo, for example, so work things out however you need to, and don’t stress about the rules.

4. If You’re Single, You Have to Participate in the Bouquet Toss

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Despite the nudging and nagging of nearby relatives and well-meaning friends, you don’t have to participate in the traditional bouquet toss if you don’t want to. Some women find the tradition charming and fun, and can’t wait to wrestle their way to the bouquet, but others find the traditional bouquet-toss to be antiquated and even offensive. If catching the bouquet isn’t your thing, go ahead and decline the invitation to join the gaggle of single ladies in the middle of the room, but make sure you do so politely. Even if you think the bouquet toss is a terrible tradition, remember that this day isn’t about you, and sulking in the corner and shaking your head at the shenanigans is definitely not the kind of statement you want to make.

Anna enjoys blogging about a variety of topics, from fashion and beauty to food and travel. Find Anna on LinkedIn!

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