Rules of Engagement

Important wedding debates, resolved.

A photo reads "No. 9: No kids."
both would be Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Getty Images Plus.

This is part of Say Yes to the Mess, a pop-up Slate series on the unsettled state of the American wedding in 2023.

As Slate contemplated the state of the wedding for our series this week, a number of opinions emerged. Because some of our staff had to do things other than write about weddings, we did not pursue pieces on all of those opinions, but they do clear up some long-running wedding debates. So, here you go:


1. No more engagement parties.

2. No outdoor summer weddings.

3. Your closest friends, not you, should control the guest list.

4. It is entirely fine to deny anyone a plus-one for any reason.

5. Skip the bridal party.

6. If you have a bridal party, you pay for costs incurred. But skip the bridal party.


7. Never say “black tie optional.” Choose.

8. It is fine to skip a wedding for any reason, but RSVP early.

9. No kids. If kids are needed for the ceremony, a car should be waiting.

10. Just because they invited you to their bachelor party or wedding doesn’t mean you have to invite them to yours.

11. Do not give wedding favors.


12. If you do give wedding favors, give them on arrival Friday and make them edible.

13. If you travel from out of town, you don’t need to get the couple a gift.

14. Actually, all gifts are banned.

15. It’s fine if someone else wears white.

16. No one has to walk you down the aisle.

17. Give us a good kiss.

18. Posed photos are over.

19. No more his-and-hers cocktails.

20. Just make your vegetarian option vegan.

21. Buffets are always better than plated dinners.

22. Speeches must be pre-written.

23. All the dances—first dance, mother-son, father-daughter—should be two minutes or less.

24. Spend time, at least one conversation, with the couple’s parents.

25. Dancing is mandatory for everyone able.

26. There must be real food at the after-party.