6 Southern Wedding Etiquette Rules Everyone Should Know


Back in the day, people took wedding etiquette seriously. Books on etiquette from people like Emily Post were referenced and practiced accordingly, even rigidly, especially down South, but these days most people have thrown the book out the window when it comes to etiquette. Now, I’m not big on rules for the sake of the rules themselves, but if you can give me a reason for following the rules, I’m more likely to follow them. And when it comes to Southern wedding etiquette, it’s all about being courteous and respectful of the bride and her family, and I get that. Here are six Southern wedding etiquette rules that Southern wedding guests would do well to remember.

1. Don’t say “congratulations” to a newly-engaged bride to be

I will be the first person to say that this one sounds ridiculous. “Congratulations” seems to be a perfectly acceptable thing to say to a newly engaged friend, and you most likely won’t take any flak for it if you don’t follow this one. But when you understand the reasoning behind saying “best wishes” instead, you might just change your mind. You see, “congratulations” implies the girl is the lucky one for getting someone to propose, and we Southern girls know that it’s the guy who is lucky that we (or our friend) said “yes” to his proposal. Instead, extend your best wishes to the bride-to-be or just tell her how happy you are for her.

2. RSVP to the wedding

We all know we should RSVP, but for whatever reason we often don’t. However, out of respect for the bride, we should send a reply by the day indicated on the RSVP card. This will help the bride plan for several things – additional seating, how many programs to print, and how much food to order for the reception. Don’t add extra stress to the bride’s life by failing to send in your RSVP.

3. Don’t bring your children/baby to a wedding unless they are specifically invited.

Your kids will be okay with a babysitter for a couple of hours. If they aren’t listed on the invitation – they aren’t invited. If your children are invited and they have a breakdown, take them somewhere where they won’t distract from the wedding. Whatever you do, don’t make the bride walk down the aisle to Canon in D with your baby crying.

4. Don’t wear white to a wedding

The bride is the only person who should be wearing white at the wedding. I know you look great in white, and it’s before Labor Day, but just look in your closet and find something cute that’s not white.

5. Don’t bring your wedding present to the wedding

Good for you for getting the newlyweds a present, but don’t bring it to the wedding. It creates more work for the family when they are trying to clean up after the wedding. I know what you’re thinking, what if it’s a gift card – that’s no big deal to carry to the car is it? Well, no, but what if it gets misplaced or what if Uncle Leroy who has a penchant for Bed Bath and Beyond decides to swipe it when no one’s looking? Not sure how he got invited in the first place, but, still, it’s just a better idea to take your gift to a bridal shower or to take it to the bride’s family’s home.

6. Be 15 minutes early to a wedding

You don’t want to walk into a wedding at the same time as the bride. Being 15 minutes early should give you plenty of time to be seated. Plus, all those great aunts and grandmas will give you the look if you are running late.

Follow these simple etiquette rules and the bride will thank you. Okay, she probably won’t notice, but she might notice if you don’t follow them and that’s what you want to avoid.

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