Weddings are meant to be a joyous time in our lives. There is a lot of intricate social etiquette that goes into them, as well, even though it might not all be obvious on the surface. Today, my goal is to help you understand those a little better, even if you have already gone to a ton of weddings in the past.
Now, keep in mind that these might not all be universally applicable. Certainly, if the couple state something else on the invitations or tell you otherwise, then you can ignore some of the traditions. That being said, keep reading if you would like to learn a little bit more about how to be polite and still enjoy yourself if you were invited to one.
First Steps: The RSVP Process
I know, I know. It might seem a bit silly to get so specific that there are even “rules” surrounding how to respond to a wedding invitation. Hear me out, though – you might be surprised at how important this part is for the people planning. You can read a bit more about that on this page: https://www.theknot.com/content/how-to-be-a-great-wedding-guest.
Now, in most cases, you will probably get your invitation about three to six months (sometimes longer) prior to the big event. It is best that you give your answer sooner rather than later so that the hosts know how many guests to expect and how much food they should be ready to prepare. Obviously, there will always be last-minute folks showing up or cancelling, but this is still just a common courtesy when it comes to invites.
In addition to that, if you are filling out an official RSVP card, make sure that you do so in an accurate fashion. Give all the correct information and do not leave anything out unless it is truly not applicable to you. This helps them prepare properly and lets them reach you if necessary, significantly if things are changed about the venue or the menu.
Some final things to keep in mind here are that you should read the invitation as closely as possible. Look for the plus one guideline and make sure that you stick to them. Do not be the person who brings a bunch of extra people if it is not welcomed. Also, bear in mind that some weddings are child-free, so do be cognizant of that.
Attire: What to Wear
This is undoubtedly one of the biggest points of contention when it comes to guests at an event like this. The biggest unspoken rule is that you should not wear white. This is especially true if you are looking to wear a dress – you should not be wearing the same colour as the bride.
Now, there are a ton of options out there. You can find some examples on Shop The Mint if you are feeling a little lost on where to start. Just remember that some brides are a bit more particular about colour schemes, so you might want to filter by colour when exploring your potential outfits.
For example, sometimes you will be asked not to wear anything too bright or colourful, as it could conflict with the overall palette of the wedding. For their special day, I do believe that we should mostly concede to the wishes of the happy couple getting married. That is especially true when their asks are not going to result in you needing to spend hundreds of dollars on a dress.
When in doubt, I would say just check in with the bride and make sure that your selection is appropriate. Most of the time I find that they are pretty easygoing so long as you are following any of the spoken or unspoken etiquettes, so there is no harm in asking. Find something that you feel comfortable and confident in. You can read more on that topic in this article.
Gifting: Some Dos and Don’ts
Generally, it is expected that guests bring a gift for the happy couple. There are a few things that you should try to remember when you are preparing for this, though. The first thing I would like to highlight is that you should go shopping as early as possible. It might seem a bit silly, but trust me when I say you do not want to be scrambling last minute to find something that they will enjoy.
Of course, there are a ton of blogs out there that can provide you with some inspiration on what to get if you are feeling uncertain. In most invitations, the wedding couple will put a list of some things that they are hoping for, as well! So, hopefully, your shopping experience will not be too gruelling.
However, just remember that you should not bring a huge item to the wedding itself. If you do want to purchase something large for them, consider bringing a smaller gift to the event and then giving it to them on a separate occasion.
I know that this list is getting pretty long but bear with me. There are still a few other things to consider, some of which you can read about in this magazine article: https://www.cosmopolitan.com/lifestyle/g39750775/wedding-guest-dos-and-donts/. I find some of the social rules surrounding these events to be fascinating, especially since not all of them are overly obvious at first.
Something huge is making sure that you do not interrupt the ceremony with the noise from a smartphone. In general, it is considered poor etiquette to be on your phone at all while the official vows are being exchanged. However, I would say that the most important thing here is making sure your phone is on silent and will not cause any disruptions. Even vibrations can be quite loud depending on the venue.
Let the professionals take care of you
What are some other aspects to remember? Well, if there is a wedding photographer, do your best to keep out of their way. They are there to get a job done, after all, and the couple probably wants them to have good photographs to show them after!
The final note that I would like to make is that you should remember to have fun. It is totally okay, and even encouraged, that you party at the reception! A lot of wedding couples worry a lot that their guests will not end up having a good time, so make sure that you do your best to enjoy the festivities. Don’t forget to offer your congratulations before you hit the dance floor, though!