Wedding Planning

Oops! How to Recover from 5 Common Wedding Etiquette Mistakes

We all would like to think of ourselves as cool and calm and collected. We wish we were the Kate Middleton or Meryl Streep of poise, always knowing the right thing to say or do. But we make mistakes.

We all would like to think of ourselves as cool and calm and collected. We wish we were the Kate Middleton or Meryl Streep of poise, always knowing the right thing to say or do. But we make mistakes. And when we do, we need to correct them.  Here are 5 common foul-ups, and how you can make things right.

You invite a bridesmaid too early.

If there is one etiquette dilemma I hear more about than anything else, it’s this one.  Especially for longer engagements, inviting bridesmaids too far in advance is just a bad idea.  Relationships change, things happen. And now you are locked into an invitation you made two years ago.  Usually there is no big drama. Most often it is simply a case of people losing touch or moving away.  The best way to deal with this is to stick with the girl you invited.  If you cancel on her, frankly, you are the one in the wrong.  And, this is definitely one of those relationship-ending situations. If you want to invite someone else, there is no reason why the wedding party has to be equal on both sides. By continuing to include your old friend, perhaps the two of you will remember why you were such great friends in the first place.

You forget to invite someone you intended to invite.

A sense of calm comes over you as you sigh deeply with relief. You’ve finally mailed all of your wedding invitations.  A couple weeks later, you notice that one of your dear friends is being a little chilly with you. What gives? Turns out you somehow neglected to invite her. She was on the list, but somehow you skipped her (maybe it wasn’t the best idea to address your envelopes while drinking margaritas during a Bravo reality show marathon).  So, now you need to reassure her that she was always invited. First, make sure to mail her an actual invite–don’t just hand one to her.  Next, have a direct and straightforward conversation where you briefly explain the mishap.  Tell her how much it means to you that she attend. And then, move on.

You still haven’t sent your thank you notes.

Your wedding was in June.  Most of your gifts arrived in May.  And it’s January and your desk is still covered in stacks of blank thank you cards. Every time you pass them you have a sudden urge to shame eat a sleeve of Oreos.  As with many things in life, once we neglect something and then experience guilt about it, we sometimes are that much more reluctant to tackle that task. But it’s time. Pull yourself up by your boot straps and just do it.  If you need Oreos, we understand.  Just get it done.  In the first sentence of the card, make sure to make a simple statement like, ‘I apologize for the delay of this, but please know how thankful I am for your thoughtful gift.’ Then, mention the gift specifically and even add in an anecdote about how you have used it.  You don’t need to address your tardiness any further.

You were rude to your new mother-in-law, or she was rude to you.

Maybe your groom’s mom overheard you making fun of her new haircut. Or perhaps you walked in on her impression of you doing your baby talk voice with your husband-to-be. Awkwardness abounds when it comes to this relationship dynamic. And as neither of you are going anywhere, you need to get used to each other and play nice.  If it was a direct confrontation of some kind, then you should have an equally direct resolution. Put it out there in the kindest way. Apologize when you should.  And come to some sort of an agreement about how both of you will do better in the future.  If there really wasn’t a direct moment, and it was all very passive-aggressive, try a subtler route.  Make an effort to be positive and supporting of her role. See if small changes can make a big difference in how you two interact.

You throw a diva-level fit with your bridesmaids.

There you are in the middle of the bridal salon being the worst nightmare that you swore you would never become. You wondered how the women on television lost their tempers (and minds) to such a degree over the silliest of wedding details. You scoffed. You judged. That would never be you.  But here you are, surrounded by taffeta and having a complete meltdown.  You’re saying things you don’t mean. Your mother is giving you that look. The one that is reserved for the most grievous of offenses.  But you just can’t stop the temper tantrum you are throwing. A few hours later you have regained your composure, along with a hefty side of mortification.  Call each of your ‘victims’ individually and apologize for your behavior. Be honest. Be humble. And expect that things might not be 100% back to normal for awhile. If your meltdown moment happened in a bridal salon or bakery or any other business that you plan on frequenting again, you should probably call the owner and apologize if you were disruptive. Weddings are stressful, and ultimately people will understand that.

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