5 New Wedding Etiquette Rules

Wedding guests toasting at a reception.

Weddings are steeped in tradition. Some of the age-old wedding customs are still so special, but as time has passed there’s been a lot of changes. For example, the bride doesn’t always have to wear white! Nor does she always have to be walked down the aisle by her father. Now that it’s 2021, we can toss out a lot of the old wedding etiquette rules doled out by Emily Post (and others) and embrace and create some new ones that have a more contemporary vibe. Here are five new wedding etiquette rules that you might want to follow to revamp your big day.

1. You don’t need to host all those pre-wedding events

Breathe a sigh of relief with this one. Back in the day, there might be an engagement party, a bridal shower, separate bachelorette and bachelor parties, a rehearsal dinner, the wedding itself—and maybe another luncheon with the bride’s family, a lingerie shower with the bride’s friends, or a morning-after brunch. That’s a lot of parties—not to mention a lot of time, money, and energy that you and your wedding guests might not have. The good news? You don’t need to host all of those parties. In fact, you can do away with most of them. Be true to the ones that feel right to you. Maybe it’s just a co-ed shower for both the bride and groom. That’s totally fine! People today have limited time (not to mention money) to get together socially for a variety of reasons, so your friends will probably thank you.

2. Keep your bridal party small

A bride standing next to her maid of honor.

Gone are the days when your bridal party consisted of everyone from your life, ranging from your first grade best friend to college roommate. Couples are now warming up to a smaller wedding party with some people even opting to have only a maid of honor and best man. This way, you’re saving yourself the stress of logistics, like trying to figure out fittings and wedding duties. You’re also going to save yourself a lot of money, which is always a good thing.

3. Your groom can plan the day

Today’s weddings are no longer considered the best day of the bride’s life. It’s the groom’s day, too—so why shouldn’t he be involved with what it’s going to look like? Make sure both parties are heavily involved with the planning of the day. As a result, not only will your wedding truly reflect your bond and each of your taste’s, but planning it together will only bring you closer.

4. Ask guests to leave their cell phones at the door

A sign at a wedding asking guests to not use their phones during the ceremony.

This new rule is growing in popularity for a number of reasons, whether it’s privacy issues or just wanting the day to be more intimate and connected. We know: you love the idea of having your own wedding #hashtag. And you definitely can still have that! But this way, you can share your wedding on your terms and feel like your guests are truly present with you.

5. Focus on your guests

Traditionally, weddings have been focused on the bride, and maybe a little on the groom. But now, weddings are more guest-oriented. Let’s face it: if you’re insisting on a large wedding with your closest friends and family, considering their enjoyment only makes sense. While your big day can totally still feel and look exactly how you want it to be, it’s important to think about your guests’ experience, too. What will dazzle them? What will make them feel comfortable? What will make them remember this night for the rest of their lives?

It’s always a good idea to change traditions up, like the ones mentioned above, to make your wedding feel more modern and personal to you. However, keeping a few of the standards—like the first dance—will never go out of style.

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