Thou Shalt Not Break These Wedding Rules

There is plenty of flexibility for a couple planning a wedding. Traditions change. Styles change. Music changes. The very nature of marriage is even changing. But there remain some hard and fast rules that are meant to help make your wedding as stress-free as possible. And breaking them may expose you to a lot of needless headaches. Here they are. 

Make it simple for your guests to accept your invitation. Send them each a stamped, self-addressed envelope, so all they have to do is sign, seal and mail. If you want them to RSVP online, give them the direct link.

A wedding isn’t a date. Guests may bring their boyfriends or girlfriends; but ideally, the invitation should include the NAME of the significant other — not just “plus one.” You want couples in committed relationships. Otherwise, the girlfriend-of-the-week may get bored in a room full of strangers and nag your friend to leave the reception early. 

Your gift registry isn’t just for rich guests. Choose gift ideas in all price ranges, so each guest can shop from a selection that’s budget-friendly. 

Don’t forget your marriage license. Unless you actually have your medical tests, get your license, and get it signed by your officiant, your wedding is just an entertaining play. Be sure when you get your license that it won’t expire before your wedding day. 

A wedding gown is not just for posing. Choose something that allows you to sit comfortably, and dance! If you want to buy a separate cocktail-length dress for dancing, that’s fine. But if you plan to wear your gown all day, consider comfort as well as looks. 

You look just fine. Don’t experiment with last-minute enhancements. Many brides go on crash diets, or get spray tans, or try out new makeup, days before their weddings, often with disastrous consequences. As long as you maintain a responsible diet and get your rest, you’ll have a healthy glow at your wedding. 

Say thank you. Some brief remarks thanking your guests for coming to your wedding will always be appreciated. If you’re prone to stage fright, express your thanks in a sentence on your wedding programs. Remember to shower special praise on the people who went the extra mile to help you plan and execute your dream wedding. 

Eat! In the excitement of the day, you may forget to eat lunch, or even dinner. And a single drink could leave you drunk and light-headed. Assign a member of your wedding party to remind you to eat, so you can maintain your energy and enjoy your entire wedding day. 

Expect a few curves. Whether it’s a rainy day, a late attendant, a late vendor, or some unexpected behavior by a guest, you need to stay focused on the bigger picture — marrying the one person you want to spend the rest of your life with. It’s almost impossible to perfectly choreograph a 16-hour day. Plan for alternatives where you can, but don’t let those little surprises ruin your special day. 

Mail thank-you cards. Anyone who cares enough about you to buy you a wedding gift is entitled to a little appreciation. If you’re leaving for your honeymoon right after the wedding, leave yourselves a note to fill out and mail your thank-you cards as soon as you get back. 

There are a lot of other guidelines to a perfect wedding, but these are the absolute essentials. Follow them, and your wedding day will be a wonderful memory for everyone involved. 

© Fourth Estate Audio, 2017 – Jay Congdon is president of Fourth Estate Audio, a professional Chicago DJ and Chicago Wedding DJ company.  

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