A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

16 Etiquette Rules Brides and Grooms Need to Stop Breaking

There's a fine line between blushing bride and bridezilla.

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Diamond ring on a finger. Holidays and celebrations concept.

Don’t post the engagement on social media before telling friends and family

“The engagement is almost as exciting as the wedding and many couples are eager to let the world know that he popped the question and she said yes,” says wedding blogger Olga Reznikova. “This is very common, but remember to consider those closest to you when sharing the news. Avoid uploading those engagement pics to social media networks until the closest family is called and told the good news. It’s an exciting time, but take a deep breath and enjoy the moment before updating that relationship status.” Make sure you’re also not sharing these things about your wedding on social media as you continue to get closer to the big day.

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Ben Harding/Shutterstock

Keep an easily adjustable budget

“Right off the bat, engaged couples can stay far away from the bridezilla/groomzilla narrative and stereotype by giving themselves a flexible budget,” says Ranu Coleman, CMO of Azazie bridal boutique. “Attempting to stick to an incredibly strict budget doesn’t always work and more than anything, it typically just adds a lot of unnecessary stress. It’s important to do your research.” It’s better to figure out what you can afford as you can get prices and be flexible than be insistent on one price point and make those around you suffer.

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Don’t pitch a fit when things don’t go as planned

“Anyone who worked behind the scenes will acknowledge the chaos,” says Jimmy Chan, wedding photographer with Pixielicious. “Brides often get upset when things don’t turn out the way they imagined, such as the weather. We always look at Plan B, but clients need to understand that there are things beyond our control.”

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Wedding Dresses, Bridesmaids, and bouquets

Respect your wedding party

“Demanding your bridal party to either pay or change their schedules is not only bridezilla behavior, but annoying,” says Judith Accilon, planner and blogger at EventSoJudith/Jam Pack Party Rentals. “People have lives and it certainly does not revolve around your wedding.”

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Bogdan Sonjachnyj/Shutterstock

Keep the wedding planning off social media

“Don’t post pictures and emotions about your big day on social media every day,” says Anna Bessonowa, director of operations at Magic Day Luxury Experiences. “Don’t share your wedding plans with the public; don’t ask the whole world about their opinion. Of course, you may ask for advice, but you can do it without thousands of pictures with your upcoming wedding hashtag.”

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Beautiful african woman is talking on a mobile phone while sitting in the office with a laptop. Young freelancer girl is calling to the clients and reading emails on a portable computer.

Talk about things other than the wedding

“Remember that it’s not all about your upcoming wedding,” Bessonowa says. “Your family, relatives, and friends have their own lives and problems. Don’t leave them alone with these problems talking exceptionally about your wedding excitement. In addition, being part of your wedding party, they deserve some thankful attitude and words from your side.”

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beverages being served by a waiter
Eric Limon/Shutterstock

Don’t haggle or disrespect the vendors

“To avoid getting a reputation as a bride/groomzilla, my biggest advice is for couples to treat their vendors with respect,” says Kelly Maron Horvath, founder of Indie Wed, the longest-running independent wedding show in the country. “I’ve known couples that have demanded big discounts on services in exchange for the publicity they would give the vendor by sharing images on social media. I’ve also known couples who’ve threatened vendors with poor reviews if they didn’t give them reduced costs simply because they didn’t want to pay the vendor’s rate.” If you have your heart set on a certain vendor, here’s how you can cut costs elsewhere in your wedding budget to afford them.

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Attractive young waiter in tuxedo holding serving tray with metal cloche and napkin

Give people helping time to eat

“Your wedding vendors (especially coordinators, photographers, and videographers) have likely been working all day, so when it comes to dinnertime, be sure they actually have time to eat,” says Kaitlin Cooper of the San Diego-based Kaitlin Cooper Photography. “As a photographer, there have been numerous occasions where I’m given less than five minutes to eat because the couple insists on walking around to each table during dinner and taking a table photo. Once that’s done, they usually go right into toasts or dances, which photographers need to be present for.”

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Little girl is sitting on the dancefloor by a table at a wedding. She is watching the bride and groom share their first dance.

If you choose to have a child-free wedding, be polite about it

“There is a right and wrong way to approach that, and adding to your invitation ‘NO KIDS’ will make you come off as rude,” Accilon says. She suggests instead more gentle wording like “Unfortunately we cannot accommodate children—thank you for understanding” or “Please celebrate with us at an adults-only reception following the ceremony.” While you’re at it, also take a look at these important wedding invitation etiquette rules.

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Table with gift boxes for wedding day
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Have a registry of items for guests to purchase

Accilon says couples should include registry information on a separate insert card that comes with the invitation and avoid asking guests to fund their honeymoon or just give them money. On the flip side, here are some outdated wedding rules you really don’t need to follow.
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Couple decision for wedding planner

Treat your wedding planner like a professional, not your best friend

“While your wedding party and vendors are more than happy to help you throughout the wedding process, calling them at midnight expecting them to answer questions and consult with you is unacceptable,” Cooper says. “With vendors, schedule calls during their work hours, and ask your wedding party the best times to connect with them. A little respect goes a long way!”

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Wedding to do list, top view. Present boxes, notepad for marriage planning and various bridal stuff on white rustic table. Memmorable date organization background, copy space

Take a step back

“Dream brides trust. Bridezilla brides don’t,” says southern California wedding planner Catherine Bachelier. “My best advice is to hire someone you trust and then let them work their magic. Set up regularly scheduled phone or face-to-face visits: I like once per month until two months before and then once per week thereafter. We review the tasks that have been accomplished and then discuss the one to two details we will focus upon.”

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Girls celebrating bachelorette party bride
Kovtun Anastasiia/Shutterstock

Keep the bachelor/bachelorette party affordable

“Deciding to throw a bachelor or bachelorette party at a destination location where each invitee is expected to pay for their flight, part of the hotel room fee, and any activities you decided upon can quickly qualify you as a groom or bridezilla,” Cooper says. “Additionally, if some members of your wedding party express they may not be able to afford attending your party and you get upset (or worse, remove them from the wedding party), this is a clear sign you’ve become a nightmare to be around.”

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Newlywed African Descent Couple Dancing Wedding Celebration

Stop comparing your wedding to ones you see on social media or have attended

“Each wedding is unique, and every event creates a wagonload of unique feelings and emotions,” Bessonowa says. “Stop thinking about what was good or bad at the wedding you have attended or heard about. Think about how to create positive emotions at your own wedding and make your guests happy.”

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Stylish groomsmen with bridesmaids
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Let your wedding parties be themselves

Lisa Mark and Rebecca Lozer, co-hosts of The Secret Life of Weddings podcast, say they’ve heard stories of brides encouraging all their bridesmaids to lose weight for the wedding or insisting the members of the wedding party change their hair color or cover up tattoos. “You asked these people to be part of your wedding party because of who they are as individuals,” they advise. “Don’t try to change them.”

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Top view of hands of young woman florist creating bouquet of flowers on black table
Dean Drobot/Shutterstock

Don’t be afraid to ask for help and hire a wedding planner

“Trying to plan a wedding by yourself is stressful, and stubborn brides and grooms are often hesitant to ask for help when they need it,” Coleman says. “But the truth is there is no shame in not being able to handle it all on your own! Delegate specific tasks to your friends and family to get the support you need.” Many couples hire a planner which Coleman says allows them to delegate out the details and planning…though your planner may not always share these secrets with you.

Erin Kayata
Erin Kayata joined Reader’s Digest as an assistant staff writer in March 2019, coming from the Stamford Advocate where she covered education. Prior to this, she was part of a two-year Hearst fellowship program where she covered crime and education in suburban Connecticut. She graduated from Emerson College and spent part of her undergraduate career writing for the Boston Globe. When she’s not writing articles about useful facts and pop culture, you can find Erin enjoying the local theater scene and working toward her goal of reading 50 books a year.