It’s probably not your first wedding, and neither will it be your last with a recent survey by ServiceSeeking.com.au revealing 38 per cent of us have attended at least 15 weddings. But just as wedding fashions have changed through the decades, so have etiquettes surrounding the big day.
And while you might normally say “to hell with tradition”, when it comes to someone else’s wedding it’s not really your call to make. So be a nice guest and familiarise yourself with today’s do’s and don’ts of wedding etiquette.
Some things are black and white
Like wearing white: it’s still a no-go for women to wear white to a wedding. Leave it to the bride, even if you think it’s not important to her, some people will surprise you with what traditions they see as important.
But black is open for business – just don’t make it look like you’re going to a funeral. But classy, fun, sophisticated black is no longer taboo at weddings. In fact, it has become a popular colour choice among bridesmaids.
Hashtag photo bomb
It’s not funny or cool to get in the way of the professional wedding photographer. Do you know how much your friend is paying for that person behind the camera? Respect the little time they have to capture their magical day and steer clear of the professional pictures.
And just because you capture what you think is an awesome photo of the happy couple, doesn’t mean you should instantly share it across your social network. While the couple may have provided you with a hashtag or wedding slogan for social use surrounding their nuptials, it’s up to them to post the first wedding photo. Don’t be the one to trump them at their own wedding.
Don’t be a wedding crasher
If the invitation doesn’t include a plus one then you’re flying solo. Don’t presume your new partner is invited if the invitation does not stipulate it.
That includes your kids too – if the couple want an adults-only affair then respect their decision and don’t make a big deal about it. Find a babysitter and enjoy a night off!
Time is of the essence
Be sure to RSVP; don’t make them chase you. And RSVP in the manner in which the invitation has asked.
And speaking of time, be sure to arrive at the ceremony in plenty of time. Only the bride can be late. And turn off your phone.
Dress for success
Follow the dress code. If it’s a formal affair, then your favourite beach dress is not appropriate. And neither are jeans and runners for your date.
A wedding is about respecting the traditions the bride and groom deem important; not you deciding what you think is appropriate.
Take a seat
So maybe you’d rather sit with your old school pal, but the bride and groom have gone to great lengths to figure out the seating as best they can. So don’t make them feel like all that time and deliberation was wasted; find your name tag and get chatty with the people at your table.
And don’t forget your trinket at the end of the night. Even if it doesn’t tickle your fancy, they put thought into it and paid money for it so don’t just leave it on the table.
Even if it’s your sister, brother or best friend in the spotlight and you have a special bond, don’t use their wedding day as the day to steal all their attention. Congratulate them and let them move on to the next person; don’t monopolise their time. Everyone is there for them so they have plenty of talking to get through. You can catch up again tomorrow when there is less competition for their attention.
Include a gift receipt if making a purchase, especially if they have included a registry and you didn’t buy from there or they asked for a wishing well. While gifts are still greatly received and it’s very thoughtful you went to the effort, a lot of couples have already lived together and set up their home before getting married so your thoughtful gift might not be necessary in their home. So give them the option to change it if that’s the better option for them.
Most importantly: have fun and enjoy the magical love in the air.