'I Do' IQ: All About Wedding Etiquette

Celebrity wedding planner tackles big questions about the big day.

ByABC News via logo
November 4, 2009, 3:54 PM

Nov. 5, 2009— -- Wedding bells will be ringing soon for "Good Morning America" special contributor Melissa Rycroft and her fiance, Tye Strickland.

"I'm feeling really good," Rycroft said. "It's coming up."

As for Strickland, he said he's found the right way to be involved in the planning.

"I've learned to figure out what it is that I think she wants me to answer, and answer that way," he said.

They're still sorting out some important details, and the more they plan, the more questions they have about proper "wediquette" -- wedding etiquette.

Celebrity wedding planner and author of "The Wedding Book," Mindy Weiss, planned the nuptials for stars like Tony Parker and Eva Longoria Parker, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi, Heidi Klum and Seal, and Gavin Rossdale and Gwen Stefani.

Weiss has the answers to all of Rycroft and Strickland's burning questions ... and yours.

What's the Right Amount of Time to Mingle With Guests?

"I want to talk to everybody, but I want to enjoy the festivities and dance and eat," Rycroft said.

Weiss says that couples should spend 5-10 minutes at each table of guests.

"Reception lines are out," Weiss said. "The modern version is that you walk around to the tables during the night."

It is important to visit briefly with your guests, she said, just for a quick hello.

"People have come all this way to see you," she said. "Go around and try to see everybody. They'll remember that."

"My fiance and I found out that 18 couples -- mostly friends' parents -- have gotten together to host our next engagement party. Do we have to add the people who weren't on our guest list before? Help!"

Weiss says that in theory, anyone invited to the engagement party should be invited to the wedding. But these days, she added, people are much more understanding, especially if you're having a small wedding.

"It depends on the venue ... can you fit them and is it in your budget?" she said.

If the answer is no, "be honest." Tell those offering to throw the party that you would love to have them at the wedding but don't have the room.

"If you can invite them, get them there," she said. "It's easier."

"What should I do -- I have five bridesmaids I have picked already, but I have a few more friends who I love dearly, but they tend to be dramatic and I'd rather not have that around me on my wedding day. What is a good way to approach this?"

You don't want drama on the big day. A bridesmaid is someone who should be helping you.

Weiss said that in her experience, "it's not the bride, it's the bridesmaids that are the bridezilla."

Ask other friends to participate in the wedding in another way, Weiss says, such as by greeting guests, handing out programs, handling the guest book or doing a reading.

Rycroft and Strickland said they kept their wedding party on the small side, with four bridesmaids and groomsmen.

Is a Cash Bar a Faux Pas?

Maggie from Oklahoma City, Okla. wrote:
"What's acceptable for the bar at the reception?

The bar at the reception is one of the biggest costs of the wedding.

Many people wonder if a cash bar is acceptable, or what you need to include in an open bar. Can you only offer wine and beer?

Weiss says that asking guests to pay for their drinks is less than gracious, and it's what they'll remember most about your wedding. If an open bar is out of your budget, she suggests limiting the offerings to wine or a signature cocktail, or serve an array of non-alcoholic drinks.

"Don't do a cash bar," she said. "It's ok to have a soft bar which is wine and beer and maybe champagne."

The bottom line? When it comes to the bar, Weiss recommends cutting costs elsewhere.