(Closed) For Fun: What debatable etiquettes for a wedding are acceptable where you live?

posted 7 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 76
1320 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

This is such a fun thread. I’ll bite

Location: Currently in NYC but have lived in pretty much every major city in the US. I also work in the wedding industry so I’ve some idea of what’s more common and what isn’t

Socioeconomic status of friends: I actually think this has a lot to do with what I see – most of my friends are REALLY well off / rich. Plenty of my friends’ weddings have been featured in magazines and blogs.

Expected / common:

– Open bar or at least, guests don’t pay for their drinks. I never had to pay for a drink at a wedding

– If the couple hosts an engagement party, they pay for it

– STDs. ALWAYS. I’ve never had a wedding w/o one unless it’s super last minute

– Bridesmaids hair & makeup – bride pays

– Wedding website – almost everyone I know has one or even codes their own (I coded mine)


Uncommon / depends on the situation

– Inviting people to parties but not the wedding – heck no

– Bridal showers – I see showers more commonly among couples who don’t have as much money, or couples who are in the church. Otherwise, most people I know have bachelorette parties

– Including gift info on invitation – I rarely see this, but most people have a wedding website where everything is located

– Potluck – never heard of this


– Honeyfund – more common among Asian American cultures where it just means you’re asking for cash, but generally seen as a bit tacky. We did not have a registry

– Dollar dance – I’ve seen this at Greek, Hispanic, and Filipino weddings

– Tiered receptions – happens in really religious weddings where the couple are pastor’s kids or whatever. I’ve been invited to just the church ceremony as a kid 

– The “Gap” – only if Catholic wedding

Post # 77
443 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2016 - Long Island, NY

This is such a funny thread. I’m floored at how different things are accepted in different places! 

Location: NYC/Long Island

Socioeconomic Status of Friends: Ranging from upper middle class to very wealthy.

Cash Bar: Totally unacceptable.

STD: Expected.

Parents Paying for Wedding: This is the norm amongst my friends/family friends. 

Bridesmaid Hair & Makeup: This varies. If the bride NEEDS it to be done a certain way, she pays. If not, it’s up to the bridesmaids if they want it.

Inviting people to parties and showers but not wedding/Tiered reception: Definitely not acceptable.

Including gift list/information in invitation: It is listed on a website, always. The website will be included on the STD, not on the actual invitation itself.

Honeymoon funds/dollar dances/Asking for money instead of gifts: Inappropriate.

Bridal Shower: Expected, and thrown by MOB and MOG.

Bachelorette Party: Usually destination, and the bride does not usually pay for stuff. 

Engagement Party: Acceptable. If it’s a legitimate party, it’s a gift giving event. If it is just small a get together at a bar, no gifts necessary. 

Inviting SO’s: Married, engaged, live in, long term, or if one of my bridesmaids/groomsmen wants a +1 for a less serious boyfriend/girlfriend. 

Potluck: Totally unacceptable.

Gaps: I’ve literally never heard of this, but I guess I run in a more Jewish circle and we definitely don’t have this. It doesn’t strike me as unacceptable, but I’d be unhappy if I had to kill some time in a gown with nowhere to go.

Wedding Favors: Expected. People like something to eat or snack on for the ride home. Cookies, ice cream, cotton candy, etc. 

Rehearsal Dinners: Acceptable, but not necessary. I definitely don’t want one of these, but I did go to a wedding about 4 hours away at a resort where we stayed for the entire weekend and the rehearsal dinner was basically a pre-wedding for all guests who came, so that was nice.

Post # 78
98 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - The Runnymede Hotel

Location: London, UK

Socioeconomic Status of Friends: Recent students/service industry/young professionals – upper middle class (parents friends) working class (my family)

Cash Bar: Expected. Never been at a wedding with a ‘free bar’.

STD: We sent them out – everyone was really confused! A lot of people assumed they were our invitation!

Parents Paying for Wedding: Totally dependant upon your situation.

Bridesmaid Hair & Makeup: Not expected, no hard and fast rules. I am offering it to my Bridesmaids, but not forcing them to do it – I’m unable to pay for it so have left the choice to them.

Inviting people to parties and showers but not wedding/Tiered reception: Rude, in my opinion.

Including gift list/information in invitation: Absolutely expected. If the gift registry was not included in the invite guests would be confused and not know who to ask.

Honeymoon funds/dollar dances/Asking for money instead of gifts: Fine. Never heard of a dollar dance in the UK though and personally I think they sound weird.

Bridal Shower: Rude. You get wedding presents, why on earth would you expect a special gift-getting party just for the Bride? I don’t get these at all!

Bachelorette Party: Hen night. Bridesmaids plan it, young women friends are invited, everyone gets dolled up and goes out to get drunk in a big city. Standard. Bride would not expect to pay.

Engagement Party: Unusual. Could maybe see a night down the pub with family/close friends?

Inviting SO’s: Married, engaged, live in, long term.

Potluck: Not a ‘thing’ in the UK. Would be really unexpected at a wedding.

Gaps: Not sure what this means? Usually UK weddings are all-day events due to laws we have about wedding ceremony times. We usually enjoy extra time for mingling/drinking!

Wedding Favors: Not neccessarily expected.

Rehearsal Dinners: Not a ‘thing’ – would confuse people. 


I think one of the differences between UK/US weddings is that etiquette rules seem REALLY strict at US weddings. Calling stuff ‘tacky’ doesn’t happen on any of the UK centric blogs I’ve looked at. UK weddings are usually seen as an excuse for a fun party rather than a big formal gala-type event. 

Post # 79
172 posts
Blushing bee

Love this topic! It’s been very interesting for me since I was born and raised in south Louisiana, but my fiance is from London.  My extended family (grandparents, cousins, uncles, aunts, etc.) is spread out all over the US–Chicago, Omaha, Houston and a whole bunch of other places.  We are getting married in a very grand plantation in Baton Rouge, LA, so I’m sure the entire wedding will be a bit of a culture shock for everyone.  We recently attended 2 weddings in the UK (Wales and Northern Englang) this past September, and I couldn’t believe how different they were compared to ours in the South.  Here’s my list!

Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Cash Bars: No, no and no. 

STD: We used them only because we have so many guests coming from the UK, so we wanted them to be able to book flights and accomodation in advance.  We wouldn’t have used them otherwise!

Bridal Party: Bridesmaids are always expected to pay for their own dresses, shoes, hair and makeup–it’s part of the responsibility of being a bridesmaid for us!  The bride usually gives jewelry to wear for the wedding, along with maybe something to wear for getting ready.  This is where I’m running into a bit of trouble…I don’t want to offend my future sister and mother in law by letting them know the cost of the hair & makeup, but hopefully they’ll understand that it’s optional although I don’t want them to feel left out.

Rehearsal Dinner: Traditionally hosted by the groom’s parents, with a rehearsal of the ceremony processional at the venue followed by a seated dinner at a restaurant or someone’s home.  Fiance’s family had no idea what this was, so my parent’s have planned it.

Reception Meal:  I have never been to a reception with a seated dinner in Louisiana–it has always been a buffet or passed butler items.  At the wedding we went to in Wales, there was a 3 course seated dinner, followed by speeches. Which brings me to….

Speeches: Really only done at the rehearsal dinner by the Maid/Matron of Honor and Best Man.  We are planning to make a short toast at the reception to thank all of our guests for coming, especially since most will have travelled so far!

Gaps: Nope. Nope. Nope. It was really important to me to have our ceremony and reception at the same venue so we could eliminate transportation issues for our guests and have the party start immediately! 

Length of Wedding: This has been our biggest cultural difference that we’ve had to deal with.  Our ceremony will be about 30 minutes, followed by a 4 hour reception (so from 6:30 to 11:00 pm.) My fiance was absolutely shocked that that’s “all we get.”  Both weddings we went to in the UK were about 7 hours long, but had a 3 hour gap for photos were we just sat and drank…I was so drunk by the end of them haha!


Post # 80
14 posts
  • Wedding: February 2016

Where: Lincoln, NE

cash bar: acceptable, I always bring money to a wedding (you’re expected to tip your own bartenders even if it is a hosted/open bar). 

save the dates: expected

gap: expected for the most part, unless it’s a Friday! Not really over an hour and a half though. 

food at reception: sometimes plated, but mostly buffets. Plated dinners are usually only one option though (I don’t eat meat so I always pre-eat before weddings anyways). 

Things here are pretty casual! I wouldn’t expect large gifts, either. Honeyfunds wouldn’t be totally strange, but I’ve never been to a wedding that had one. People get married pretty young here, and pay for it themselves, so they’re not usually super formal affairs! 

Post # 81
2704 posts
Sugar bee

I never realised how significantly different wedding celebrations are in the U.S compared to Australia. I’d be really curious to understand when weddings became multiple event productions over there, or whether it has always been that way. In Australia we draw from British and European customs. I think that reflects in what is expected @ weddings.

Location: Sydney, Oz

Socioeconomic Status of Friends: Middle – wealthy to academics with less $$. I’m 33 BTW 

Cash Bar: We do not pay for drinks. Anglo weddings usually have beer and wine, and other cultures will have all types of spirits etc

STD: Not typical but starting to be done.

Paying: Typically the couple with contributions from the parents i.e. may pay for alcohol or much more if they can afford it. 

Paying for bridesmaids: Not expected although strictly speaking I think etiquitte here would dictate that you should. All of the weddings I have participated in / been to the BMs would have paid for their dresses, and maybe even hair and MU. 

Inviting people to parties and showers but not wedding/Tiered reception: Sometimes done. For example a couple may have a huge engagement party and a very intimite wedding. Although it is rare.

Including gift list/information in invitation: Done but considered rude by many. 

Honeymoon funds/dollar dances/Asking for money instead of gifts: Asking for money: Sometimes. But having a cash registry: Absolutely not. 

Bridal Shower: I have never heard of having a gift registry for anything other than a wedding itself, and even that is a modern development (my Mothers generation would be aghast!). We may have kitchen teas but they aren’t gift giving events. 

Engagement Party: Sometimes. They tend to be self catered and again, gifts are a nice to give, not a must give.

Inviting SO’s: Married, engaged, live in, long term.

Potluck: Not for a wedding or an engagement party. 

Gaps: It used to be typical to have the wedding in the mid / late afternoon and then the reception int he evening with a gap however these are becoming less common with many people organising drinks and nibbles, and perhaps games, in between. 

Wedding Favors: Not expected.

Rehearsal Dinners: Not done. People may do a quick run through of the walking order etc but it’s not followed by an event. 

Post # 82
1702 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

Location: Upstate NY


Cash bars:  In my circle, people sort of expect an open bar if the family is able to afford it.  If the couple/family can not, cash bars are fine, but people do tend to grumble about it and not drink much.

Save the dates:  Everyone I know has sent them.  I sent one.  I don’t think people would be upset if someone did not send them though.

Registry info on invitations:  I have gotten 3 shower invites this year and all of them had registry info on them.  I told my bridesmaids I thought that was sort of tacky, so they just put a link to my wedding website, which had the info on it.  I think it is now common in my area to put it on the shower invite, but it would be unacceptable on a wedding invite.

People invited to shower but not wedding:  This is considered rude unless it is a work shower given by all the coworkers.  I would also think it was fine if it was an out of state wedding where the couple has ties to another state, but doesnt expect everyone to travel for the wedding.

Honeymoon fund:  Becoming more common but sort of sketchy.  I did put a link on my wedding website to our honeymoon resort website, which does offer gift cards to the restaurant and spa, so people would be able to find a way to contribute if they wanted to.  I had a friend who did a crowdfunding website to pay for her destination wedding which no one was invited to (which she constantly advertised on social media, and then blamed everyone for not contributing enough when they couldnt afford their dream destination) and that definitely bothered a lot of people.

Bridal showers:  Most people have at least one, I know some people who have had 2 or 3.  And an engagement party.  I refused an engagement party but am having one shower hosted by my 2 maids of honor.


Post # 83
378 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2016

Location: Manitoba, Canada.

One of our biggest traditions is the social. You invite all of your friends and their friends and they get drunk, dance, and buy 50/50 and raffle tickets as a fundraiser for your wedding. I’ve heard of some people in Northwestern Ontario and Saskatchewan doing a similar thing, but it’s definitely a Manitoba wedding staple. Pretty sure that anyone outside this region would faint at the idea of having a FUNDRAISER for your wedding, lol.

STDs: Most couples don’t seem to do them. My cousin from Edmonton (raised in MB) sent one for her wedding this year, though.

Cash bar: nonononononono

Reception meal: I’ve been to an equal number of buffet and seated dinners.

Kids at the wedding: I don’t think I’ve ever been to an adults-only wedding. Weddings are typically big happy family affairs, and the kids are always involved. FI’s cousin is having a no-kids backyard BBQ wedding this summer and she is getting SO much heat for it, lol.

Cash gifts: I’ve never seen anyone bring an actual gift to a wedding. I can’t remember anyone ever explicitly asking for cash gifts either, I’ve just always been under the impression that you give money at the wedding.


Post # 84
10489 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

What a fun thread, I read  every word going  “oh  really  is that  so , imagine that, yes I see that,    no never,  good heavens”  etc etc all the way through .

Thanks OP!

Post # 85
114 posts
Blushing bee

This is such a fun thread! I find it super interesting to see all the variations in traditions out there. I thought of a couple more after reading more responses: 

Location: South Carolina

Dry weddings: we talk a lot about open bar vs cash bar, but not  lot about dry weddings. I live in the heart of the Bible belt in the Deep South, and no one blinks an eye at a dry wedding (though open bars are common too).

Gap: not common at all other than maybe a cocktail hour if the reception is at different location than the ceremony. 

Venue: most ceremonies are at a church, but definitely not all. It’s very common for the reception to be held at the church too (hence the dry weddings referenced above). I find most couples to this because it is usually Soooo much less expensive than off site locations that the no-alcohol trade-off is something they are willing to do. 

Speeches: almost always at the rehearsal dinner. The father of the bride usually welcomes the guests and thanks them for coming at the reception, and the Maid/Matron of Honor and the best man sometimes say something but that is about it. 

Length: usually about 3 – 4 hours start to finish

Honeyfunds: so not a thing here and would be considered really gift grabby

Adult only weddings: also not really a thing here. Many couples will opt to get a baby sitter for young children and leave them home so they can enjoy a date night with each other, but the kids are almost always invited. Also, most couples around here get married fairly early (by mid twenties) so a lot of the guest list is usually young people who don’t have kids yet or have young kids and want a date night. But there have been multiple kids at every wedding I’ve ever been to

Post # 87
172 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2016 - Cambridge Mill

Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Cash bars: No. 

STDs: Acceptable, not very common, mostly used for destination weddings

Inviting people to parties and showers but not wedding: Not acceptable. However I have seen it done, and people complained about how rude it was

Including gift list/information in invitation: Only acceptable on the shower invitation (of course), but not on the wedding invitation.


  • This reply was modified 6 years, 6 months ago by MrsMtoBE2016.
Post # 88
185 posts
Blushing bee

This thread is hilarious – I can’t believe the differences ๐Ÿ™‚  I’m from Ireland, living in Vancouver but haven’t been to a wedding here so will go with the Irish customs – 

Location – Dublin, Ireland

Cash bar – yes, every single wedding I’ve ever been to has been a cash bar.  This is linked to length of wedding below as I think that might have an impact!  Usually champagne or a welcome cocktail is provided on arrival and wine is always provided with dinner plus another toast drink.  So in general, guests would get probably 4-6 free drinks – more if you’re at a table where there are teetotallers ๐Ÿ™‚

Length of wedding – Irish weddings typically start at 1pm or 2pm with the ceremony (latest would be 3pm) and the reception will start immediately after.  Usually canapes/drinks/tea/coffee until about 6pm, then dinner, then speeches (could be over an hour), then live band, then “afters” food (because the later tiered guests arrive and they must be fed as well!) at about midnight, then a DJ for more dancing and finally the residents’ bar generally finishing up at 3-4am – although I’ve been to one wedding which went on all night.  So it’s a 12-14 hour event hence why no one provides free alcohol for the entire event!

Dry weddings – Hell no!  I have NEVER heard of this and quite honestly, I think plenty of people simply wouldn’t get it or understand it.  They’d probably just bring their own drinks.  Paying for drinks isn’t a problem but not having any available….!! OMG no! lol!

STDs – acceptable, not common

Engagement party – acceptable but not common but it is generally a friendly gathering for drinks and nibbles with canapes and maybe a toast drink provided by the hosts.  Gifts are not expected and hardly anyone gives them – maybe some very close friends/family.

Showers – never.  Would be seen as totally gift grabby.  I was invited to a shower here but not the wedding and thought it was incredibly rude as I was basically thinking – so, she wants me to get her a gift but isn’t inviting me to her wedding?  Bizarre!  But maybe it’s the norm here.  I dutifully got her something from her registry but I was pretty offended!

Hen/stag/bachelor/ette parties – always.  Would never invite someone who wasn’t invited to the wedding and gifts are not expected nor are they given.  

Bridal party attire – always paid for by bride and groom.  Dresses, tux, shoes, hair, makeup etc.  When I was a bridesmaid for a friend she also paid for tanning and manicure/pedicure so I would do the same if it were me.  Wedding parties are much smaller than in the US though.

Including gift list/registration information on invitation – uncommon but acceptable.  Almost everyone gives cash gifts though – usually given to the best man on the wedding day.  I have never seen someone bring an actual gift to a wedding.

Potluck – God no!  Would be seen as the height of rudeness to have to bring food to a wedding ๐Ÿ™‚  90% of weddings are 3/4 course sit down meals.  Some are buffet style – the grannies and grandads grumble about that and generally think it’s cheap.

Parents paying for wedding – not common.  Sometimes they would pay for something e.g. reception food, band etc but never the whole thing.



Post # 89
2704 posts
Sugar bee

View original reply
ScarlettOHara:  all of this except the cash bar! Wish I could go to an Irish wedding now ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 90
782 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

Location: Canada

Cash bars: Acceptable

STDs: Really common here

Inviting people to parties and showers but not wedding: Not acceptable!

Incluuding gift list/information in invitation: I have not heard anyone say anything about this so I am not sure. I would not do it though

Something that also seems acceptable here.. but i don’t like it is wedding evite invitations.. I think it is tacky!

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