Etiquette Tips From Local Wedding Experts | Lancaster, PA

Unlock the Secrets of Wedding Day Etiquette from Your Local Wedding Experts

Weddings are an exciting time, especially when you are the one getting married! And while you’re planning your outfits, the flowers, and the average cost of a wedding venue, you should keep a few wedding day guidelines in mind. At Melhorn Manor, our team of local wedding experts is here to guide you through the ins and outs of proper wedding etiquette, ensuring that your big day is filled with joy, elegance, and unforgettable moments.

This blog will delve into the essential aspects of wedding etiquette 101 for the marrying couple. From finalizing guest lists to expressing gratitude and personalizing your wedding, we’ll provide you with the expert advice and insights you need to make your special day a seamless and memorable affair. So, let’s embark on this journey together and discover the secrets of wedding etiquette that will leave a lasting impression on your guests. Don’t forget to schedule a tour of our wedding venue to experience the magic firsthand.

1. Be Clear on Who Is Invited

When it comes to wedding invitations, it’s crucial to be clear about who is invited. Will all your single guests be allowed to invite a plus one? Will your guests with children be allowed to bring them? The answer to this question isn’t the same for every wedding couple and is something you’ll need to decide beforehand. Here are some guidelines to help you make this choice clear:

  • Prioritize Plus Ones: Unless you have an unlimited budget, you should prioritize which guest groups get to bring a plus one. It’s helpful to categorize guests, such as cousins, co-workers, immediate family, etc., and create rules for the entire category. Typically, immediate family, close friends, an engaged guest, or one living with a partner are granted a plus one.
  • Address the Invitations Clearly: For couples, both names should be used in addressing the invitation. You can use single guests’ names followed by “and guest.” Once they confirm their attendance, you can replace “and guest” with the guest’s name.
  • Personalize the Response Cards: Including names on response cards is recommended to avoid guests adding extra uninvited plus-ones.
  • Avoid Drama: If you receive a response card from someone who indicates they’re bringing a plus one, but you didn’t invite a plus one for them, it’s best to be direct and honest. If there is no wiggle room in your guest list, stick to your decision for your wedding and politely explain to them that you cannot accommodate another person.

Another common wedding invitation challenge is whether you have children at the wedding and reception. Having an adults-only wedding is a personal choice; communicating this respectfully to your guests is crucial. If
you decide on an adults-only event, you can tactfully include it in your invitation. For instance, a phrase like “We love children, but this is an adults-only event” is simple yet effective. Include this information on the response
cards, your wedding website, invitation wording, and any follow-up conversations.

2. Don’t Forget to Tip Your Vendors

Tipping your vendors is a customary gesture of appreciation for their hard work and dedication. While it’s not mandatory, it’s a thoughtful way to recognize their efforts. Review your wedding contracts to check if gratuity is already included. If it’s not, consider tipping vendors based on suggested percentages, depending on the quality of service they provide.

Tipping can be done after or before the service to motivate exceptional work. Remember, tipping vendors such as your wedding planner, musicians, florist, caterer, and others show your gratitude for their contributions to
making your special day extraordinary. To ensure your wedding day goes smoothly, it’s wise to prepare envelopes with each vendor’s name on them and put the cash or check inside it to be distributed by a responsible person, such as a wedding party member.

3. Don’t Make Your Guests Wait for Extended Periods

Keeping your guests waiting for extended periods can dampen the overall experience of your wedding day. Try to minimize the break between the ceremony and reception, keeping it no longer than 1.5 hours unless there are specific reasons for a longer gap. If a longer break is necessary, ensure your wedding venue has ample cocktail hour accommodations and the caterer has enough food and drinks for the entire cocktail hour.

Alternatively, consider extending the cocktail hour, offering a range of entertainment and activities to keep guests engaged. We have had marrying couples provide yard games, such as corn hole, ladder ball, and giant Jenga, to keep guests entertained between events. Being mindful of your guests’ time and comfort will ensure they have a delightful experience throughout the day.

4. Consider Family Relations When Planning Seating

When planning seating arrangements for the ceremony, it’s essential to consider family dynamics and relationships. Traditionally, the bride’s family sits on the left side, while the groom’s family sits on the right. However, modern weddings often opt for open seating plans for ceremonies, allowing guests to choose their seats, especially when you have two brides or two grooms.

While flexibility is encouraged, it’s crucial to

use good judgment and consider potential conflicts or sensitivities. If one spouse’s parents are divorced and remarried but don’t get along well with each other, consider placing a neutral party between them at the indoor or outdoor wedding ceremony. Communicate the seating plans to guests through clear signage and ensure that close family members and friends are seated in a way that fosters a harmonious atmosphere.


Creating a seating plan for the wedding reception follows similar principles to planning seating for the ceremony. It involves considering family dynamics, relationships, and potential sensitivities. Ensure your guests know where they’re seated using clear signage, table numbers, or personalized place cards. This clarity helps avoid confusion and ensures everyone knows where they need to be.

Close family members and friends should be seated in a manner that encourages a harmonious atmosphere. Grouping families or friends who know each other well or strategically placing more outgoing guests with those who might be quieter to balance out the conversation is a good strategy.

When creating the seating plan, remember that the ultimate goal is for everyone to enjoy themselves. You want your guests to feel comfortable and relaxed to engage in the celebration fully. Each wedding is unique, so don’t hesitate to customize the rules to fit your event and guests best.

5. Make Your Wedding Personalized for You

Your wedding day should reflect your unique love story and personal style. Don’t be afraid to customize your wedding to make it truly yours. Choose the names you wish to be addressed by, and decide whether you want to incorporate specific traditions. Then be sure you communicate those choices to your officiant. Remember to use your official name on legal documents, such as your marriage license.

You can also consider honoring and recognizing loved ones beyond the wedding party, and don’t hesitate to have mixed-gender wedding parties if it aligns with your vision. Personalizing your wedding creates an intimate and meaningful experience for you and your guests. As your local wedding experts, we will do whatever we can to make your wedding the event you’ve always wanted.

6. Write Thank You Cards

Expressing gratitude through thank-you cards is a vital part of wedding etiquette. Send your thank-you cards in a timely manner, ideally within one to three months after the wedding. Break down the task by writing a few cards each week and share the workload with your partner.

Be personal and specific in your messages, acknowledging each guest’s presence and the gift they gave. Remember to include guests, parents, bridal parties, and vendors who

provided exceptional services. By taking the time to show your appreciation, you’ll make your guests feel valued and cherished.

To make the task easier, create a spreadsheet with all your guests listed, as well as their addresses and the gifts they gave. This way, you have an easy reference sheet when writing your thank you cards.

Ready to Plan Your Wedding with Local Wedding Experts at Melhorn Manor?

As local wedding experts, we understand the importance of proper wedding etiquette in creating a memorable and harmonious celebration of love. By being clear on who is invited to the event, tipping your vendors, minimizing guest waiting times, considering family relations for seating plans, personalizing your wedding, and writing heartfelt thank-you cards, you’ll ensure that your wedding day is a beautiful expression of your love story.

At Melhorn Manor, we’re committed to making your wedding dreams come true. We invite you to schedule a tour of our enchanting outdoor wedding venue, where you can witness the natural beauty, experience the spaciousness, and envision the perfect backdrop for your special day. Let our local wedding experts guide you through every step of the planning process, ensuring your wedding is an unforgettable event filled with joy, elegance, and cherished memories. Contact us today to schedule your tour and embark on the journey to your dream wedding.