When I was planning my wedding, I was amazed by how many strict, deeply-ingrained wedding etiquette rules still exist today. Despite the fact that couples have become less traditional than they were in the past (many live together before marriage and have no need for more kitchenware), these silly rules still exist. Here are some of the ridiculous etiquette rules that need to change.
Asking for cash (or gift cards) instead of wedding gifts is unacceptable.
This one makes no sense to me. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask your guests for expensive china that no one actually needs, or a $400 vacuum, but cash is offensive. Some couples live together before they get married and already have all the household items they need.
Others may live in an apartment and don’t have the space to store gifts. Why not give them cash that they could put toward a savings account, a down payment on a home, or a fun vacation? Why are those things less valuable than silverware or a coffeemaker?
A cash shower is tacky.
Again, why is it so rude and “tacky” to ask for cash, but it’s perfectly normal to ask for specific gifts (as we do with wedding registries)? The ONLY thing I might understand about this etiquette rule is that, if your guests bring cash, it might be easy for other guests to see how much money each guest spent and that could be awkward. (However, the same could be said for gifts – obviously, a salt shaker probably costs a lot less than a Keurig).
Still, there are ways around this. A guest could buy a VISA gift card instead (which can be used anywhere) without it being obvious how much money was spent. Another option is to have a “money tree” shower. For this, the shower host ties a bill on a “tree” and the guests follow suit. This way, it’s hard to tell who gave what amount. The cards are given to the bride-to-be separately.
Having a small wedding is rude and inconsiderate.
Um, did I miss the part where your family members and friends pay for the wedding? The average wedding in the U.S. costs $30,000. For millennials, many of whom are burdened by massive student loan debt, paying $30,000 for a wedding is impossible. I did my best to keep my (100-guest) wedding “affordable”, and it still cost me about $12,000.
For some (especially those who have no help from their parents), $12k still isn’t doable. Bottom line: your wedding day is up to you and your future spouse. If you want a small wedding, go for it. Your relatives and friends aren’t paying for the wedding.
If they’re aware of your financial situation, they should be understanding instead of being offended that they weren’t invited. If it’s important to you to have them at your wedding, you could have a small ceremony and then have a casual reception at someone’s house.
You must offer an open bar for the entire evening – a cash bar is tacky.
Open bars are expensive, especially if you have guests who are big drinkers. If you can’t afford to pay for alcohol, have a cash bar or don’t offer alcohol at all. A few of my cousins had their wedding receptions in a church around lunch time, and alcohol wasn’t served.
A lot of people feel cash bars are “tacky”, but unless they’re paying for your wedding, their opinions are irrelevant.
If you don’t feel comfortable with a cash bar, but you want to have booze at your wedding, you don’t have to offer a completely open bar. Some venues will allow you to host the bar for a certain period of time (for the first hour or two, for example) or up to a certain dollar amount.
We hosted our bar up to $1,000 – we didn’t have very many big drinkers at our wedding, and the total spent by the end of the night was about $700. The remaining $300 was refunded to us.
Why I Hate Etiquette Rules So Much
Have you noticed a common theme between all of these etiquette rules? They all involve the bride and groom spending more money. When I was planning my wedding, I was bombarded with etiquette rules and ideas about how weddings “should” be.
These silly rules may be fine and dandy if you’re rich or if your parents are covering a huge part of the bill, but neither of those statements applied to me (or many other millennials).
It’s worth noting that in the past, weddings tended to be less expensive, and parents, on average, footed a bigger portion of the bill than they typically do today.
Young couples are also more likely than ever to be saddled with the burdens of enormous student loan debt, underemployment, and consumer debt.
Times have changed, and wedding etiquette rules need to catch up to modern times.
Other stuff you might like:
Wedding Tip: Stop Caring What Other People Think
Pros and Cons of Outdoor Weddings
How to Survive a Big Wedding as an Introvert
Cheap and Fun Alternative Bachelorette Party Ideas
How to Keep Your Bridesmaids Happy on a Tight Budget
(Featured image courtesy of Studio Delphianblue)