I recently was reading an article about weddings and it stated that December is the most popular month for couples to get engaged. That means at the start of the year many newly engaged couples are tasked with planning their upcoming nuptials. While weddings in the past had very strict rules for what was acceptable, it is now 2018 and some of those rules have changed, relaxed or become more inclusive. New wedding etiquette can be confusing for engaged couples because they may not be aware of the new rules. Below are some dos and don’ts regarding the new wedding etiquette rules for the 21st century.

  • Do include your four-legged children in the wedding. One new and exciting addition to weddings that I have seen lately are people including their dogs or cats in the ceremony. I must warn you however that you should consider your pet’s personality before putting them in your wedding. If your pet is friendly then giving them a role such as the ring bearer or flower girl is fine, but if your pet is skittish it may be best to leave your four-legged child at home. Also make sure to take them to the “bathroom” before the ceremony because when a pet must potty, they will go anywhere and anytime — including during your ceremony.
  • Don’t be turned off from the idea of having a cash registry instead of a gift registry. With more couples choosing to cohabitate before marriage, or marrying later in life, many couples have already furnished their homes and therefore the gift registry is not needed.  A cash registry may sound crass to some, but it makes more sense for older and established couples. This type of registry, although new and unusual, lets wedding guests contribute to the newly married couple in a way that is more beneficial to them. They can use the money for things that they really want or need, such as a honeymoon or renovations to their home.
  • Don’t be afraid to mix up your wedding party by having male bridesmaids and female groomsmen. This new rule may be difficult for some to grasp, but now it is totally acceptable for people to have their besties and close friends of the opposite sex as attendants in their wedding. For example, you may want to have a Man of Honor instead of a Maid of Honor, or a Best Woman and a Best Man. Ultimately, you should pick people for your wedding party who you love and want to share your wedding experience with regardless of their gender.
  • Don’t feel that traditional wedding favors are a must for your wedding. Gone are the days of newly married couples only giving out traditional wedding favors at their weddings such as champagne flutes, bells or candied almonds. More couples are now opting to give unique and creative gifts that represent them and/or the ceremony, or opting out of giving favors at all. I once received an hourglass that used the sand from the beach where the couple got engaged. At another wedding I got a flash drive with the couple’s favorite songs. Unique gifts such as the hourglass are the type of gifts that will remind you of the couple and their wedding even if it is 10 years later.