William Hanson reveals the the wedding etiquette errors to avoid

As soon as we see Easter in the rear-view mirror, wedding season is upon us once again.

It’s a good time to make sure any of today’s brides and grooms don’t make any silly, narcissistic mistakes.

From adding the gift registry to the invitation to a lengthy gap between the service and the wedding breakfast, here is my guide to the top 12 mistakes of millennial matrimony.

Etiquette expert William Hanson has revealed the worst wedding etiquette blunders you can make (stock image)

Going social prematurely

Many couples now shun the traditional route of announcing an engagement in a newspaper and opt instead for a social media post.

Fine, if this is what floats your boat, but make sure you tell all your good friends and family before posting anything online. 

It will only cause resentment if those closest to you find out via Facebook rather than being called and told personally.

Enjoy sharing your happy news over and over again rather than going for the ‘catch-all’ approach via social platforms.

Pre-wedding party perils

Couples can also keep resentment at bay by making sure that any pre-wedding party (which includes the tedious stags and hens) only includes people who will be invited to the wedding.

William is very much against destination weddings and hiring a country pile 

William is very much against destination weddings and hiring a country pile 

If you don’t have the budget to have everyone to the big day then don’t have a pre-wedding party. No one is making you.

Conventionally, any guest invited to an engagement drinks party, stag, hen or bridal shower (urgh) will expect an invitation to the wedding day itself.

Announcing the gift registry too early

The invitation (never ‘invite’) is meant to tell people where to go and when. It is not a call-out for presents, so do not list your gift registry information on the reverse.

Enclosing information about the registry within the envelope is a more modern trend, and whilst I am not totally against that, it is by far a smarter policy to only proffer the registry information when asked.

Remember, you are getting married to cement your undying love for one another; not just to get some nice teacups and hand towels.

Mind the gap

What does your choice of wedding venue say about you? 

Church: The best option for a traditional English wedding. The religion bit isn’t essential but always helps.

Registry office: An excellent choice if you have no social climbing ambitions or if marrying for the third time. No one likes a fuss the third time around.

Hired country house: It’s not yours, is it, and we all know it. I wouldn’t bother.

Hotel in the country: Probably the next best option if a private house of your own isn’t available. Expensive, and avoid any hotel that has a ‘function room’.

Parents’ country pile: This is the best option, and usually its the bride’s parents house, unless the groom’s ancestral house is startlingly better.

Somewhere abroad: What a faff for your guests. Keep it domestic and save yourself and the guests’ a financial and logistical burden.

Your old school: Let go, let go. Stop clinging on, love. I’m sure Freud would have had something to say about this.

At many weddings today there is always a protracted wait between the service ending and the wedding breakfast beginning (usually due to interminable photographs).

A drinks reception is the norm, allowing for guests to arrive from one venue to the next and greet the dramatis personae, but this should be limited to 60 minutes maximum.

Even then, make sure there are enough chairs and areas with shade (if in the summer) for guests of any age to rest and relax.

No receiving line

When the wedding breakfast begins, the couple, plus the mother and father of each, should form a receiving line to officially greet each guest.

Unless the wedding is a very small and intimate affair, these are essential as it means everyone meets everyone and is acknowledged.

Do us a favour…

If you are giving the guests a joyous day, food, wine and entertainment then you do not need to give them naff trinkets on their tables. Why are you giving them anything else?

Don’t waste money on wedding ‘favours’. They are a modern ‘tradition’ and totally superfluous.

Rent a crowd

Do not fall into the trap of inviting more guests to the evening reception, after the service and wedding breakfast has finished, in order to keep the party going.

If they weren’t good enough for the whole day then why invite them at all? Again, it’s a good way of severing friendships.

A traditional wedding cake can never be replaced by a wheel of brie (stock image) 

A traditional wedding cake can never be replaced by a wheel of brie (stock image) 

Do feed the staff! 

If you are having the wedding breakfast at a private house then it is your responsibility to feed the staff and vendors.

Many millennial couples fret endlessly about things that really needn’t be fretted over, only to forget to nourish and quench the staff who have been slaving away all day to make the big day happen.

Allow plenty in your budget for food and soft drinks for the help.

A traditional wedding cake is a must 

Granted, it is your wedding and you may very well be paying for it, but deciding to shun a traditional fruit or sponge cake in favour of some cheese concoction is not the same thing.

You may think how novel and edgy you are being by going for some looming lactose but your guests will feel short-changed and fail to see any merit in your pretension. Just serve a proper wedding cake.

That said, I think I may prefer a slice of brie to a cutesy lemon and elderflower creation like the one that will be served at a certain upcoming royal wedding…


More from William Hanson for MailOnline…

Destination weddings

The idea of marrying on the sun-kissed shores of the Costa Plonka may indeed be appealing and make the photos of the day look like something from a glossy magazine but you can bet that, despite their slowly tanning faces, many of the guest list will resent having to fork out to witness the day.

No one in this country can afford to get married anymore as they’ve all taken numerous days off work and spent their money attending everyone else’s wedding.

By all means go abroad for your nuptials but don’t get too cross if your nearest and dearest RSVP in the negative. It’s not a slight on you, just your inconsiderate choice of venue.

Make haste with your thank yous 

The rulebooks used to say that brides had up to a year to thank guests for whatever present was given to them. Today, in an age where everything happens so fast, this is one etiquette rule that needs updating.

It shouldn’t just be brides that send the thank you letters. Divide the work up and have the groom thank his friends and family for their presents and the bride thank her side.

Get the letters in the post no later than two months after the day itself.

Show age concern

Finally, when planning any aspect of the wedding, consider everyone from your six year old cousin to Great Aunt Margaret, aged 92.

A happy compromise should be found so that everyone has a good time and not just your peer group. 


Read more at DailyMail.co.uk