Ok, I’m just going to put it out there: I love weddings! I actually have a wedding this weekend and I’m really looking forward to it; it’s a great night out. I am also engaged and although we have not started planning our wedding yet I find myself thinking about it more then I probably should. I know a lot of people who have recently got engaged or will be getting engaged soon, meaning there’s a lot of weddings in my future and I couldn’t be happier about it!
Whether you love going to weddings or dread it, everyone feels a little awkward and unsure of themselves at these events. Especially at the very beginning, before things really start to get rolling. Everyone tries to feel out the vibe of the event in order to act appropriate to what is expected of them. No one wants to ruin anyone’s big day by doing something wrong or disrespectful. Below I put together a short list of basic wedding guest etiquette guidelines to help ease those wedding jitters:
*Respond promptly to your invitation, that way you won’t forget to RSVP (and plus, the bride and groom really do need to know how many people are coming). If you need to cancel last minute, make sure to call one of the parents or the bride/groom.
*Don’t assume you can bring a guest. Only bring the people that the invitation is addressed to, if it says “and Guest” then by all means, bring whomever you’d like.
*If you accept an invite to a wedding, you must send a gift. It’s always safest to stick with the registry and it’s best to just send the gift to the designated address on the registry. You don’t want the bride and groom to have to worry about lugging a bunch of gifts home after the wedding (they have other things on their mind).
*If you don’t accept the invite, you aren’t required to send a gift but it’s highly practiced and encouraged. At the very least you should send a congratulatory card.
*Make sure you dress hour and season appropriate. Day weddings are more casual. Night weddings require cocktail attire unless otherwise noted. In the spring/summer, lighter pastel colors work well and for fall/winter go for some darker hues. It’s ok to wear black; it’s totally classy (I am wearing a black dress with bright red pumps this weekend). But you should stay away from all shades of white; don’t steal the spotlight from the bride.
*It’s really, really important to be on time to the ceremony.
*Don’t be obnoxious with your picture taking (especially during the ceremony). Stay out of the way of the professional photographers, there is a reason why they are there.
*Don’t bypass the receiving line. Make sure to sure to say your congratulations to everyone in line, shake hands/hug, and say thank you for inviting you to the wedding.
*At the reception, sit in your assigned seat. Introduce yourself to the people at your table if you don’t already know them and make sure to talk with new people. The bride and groom probably sat you all together because you have something in common.
*Usually the bride and groom are the first ones to dance, but after that the dance floor is all yours (and that’s usually where you will find me).
*Monitor your drinking. No one likes a drunken wedding guest.
*Don’t skip the bouquet toss (and make your male guest(s) do the garter toss). If you aren’t a big fan of the tradition, just stand in the back of the group but still participate.
*Stay until after the cake is served. Before you leave, find a parent and thank them for inviting you and try to find the bride and groom.
Enjoy yourself! Be honored that the bride and groom wanted to spend their special day with you and just have fun.
Now, go practice your ‘lipstick confidence’!