Wedding Etiquette

“For the Unseasoned Guest”

With spring also comes wedding season. As this season approaches a barrage of unseasoned wedding guest will begin to flip questions in their heads on what they should and should not do at a wedding. The following are some questions answered that may be on the minds of the unseasoned.

The invitation is only made out to me; can I bring my boyfriend/girlfriend?

Majority of the wedding budget is the food, and food costs are driven by the amount of guests. So, if the couple decided to extend an invitation to only you, and not you plus one respect their decision and understand that it is more important for them to have close friends and family there to share in their special moment.

I received an invitation in the mail and I am unable to attend, should I still send a gift?

Yes, if the bride and groom extended a formal invitation to you to share the big day, a small token and a well wish on your behalf would be received with great appreciation.

I replied to the RSVP and I am going to the wedding, but there is no registry. What do I do for a gift?

There are more and more couples living together or separately in fully furnished homes today then there has been in the past prior to getting married, and some are opting out of having a traditional wedding registry.  Therefore, causing a little problem for some wedding guests who were relying on the registry for insight on buying a gift based on what the couple wants or needs. Keep in mind that cash is always a no fail gift, and with the majority of couples paying for the wedding themselves receiving cash can help them offset the cost of the wedding and hopefully start they lives debt free. There are also more and more websites that offer “experiences”. These experiences can range anywhere from Segway city tours, hot air balloon rides along with even a NASCAR speedway ride along. It is important to base the gift on the couple's personality. If philanthropy is there thing then maybe a donation in their name for a cause they believe in would be the perfect gift. 

I am attending a wedding and I have not a clue on what I should wear. The invitation says formal/semi-formal/informal what does that mean?

The general consensus for dress codes at weddings is as follows:

At formal weddings conducted during the day, women may wear a street length dress (hit right below the knee and is shorter than tea length). Men may wear a dark-colored suit and tie. During the evening at a formal wedding women may typically wear long gowns or nice cocktail dresses and men would typically wear a tuxedo. 

For semi-formal weddings occurring during the day women can wear a nice street length dress for the day, and a cocktail dress during the evening. Men may wear a dark suit and tie for both day and evening events.

A causal wedding is pretty much what it is. A guest will dress for the scene; such as, the beach, park or a backyard. Nice day and street dresses for women and slack with a sports coat for men. But remember the site will be the major driving force on what to wear at an informal wedding.

There are some songs that I just love to dance to, can I ask the DJ for a song request?

This all depends on the couple’s preferences. Some couples have mapped out a play list for the entire night that they want the DJ to adhere to for the reception. However, to be sure ask the Maid of Honor or the Best Man for any insight on the couple’s wishes.

Can I take the centerpiece/flowers/or other decorations home?

No, the couple had bought, borrowed or rented these items. Unless specifically told,  leave them there and take your favor home as a small memento of the day.

Here are few little tidbits to keep in mind.

RSVP as soon as you know your availability.

Please turn off your cell phone prior to the start of the processional.

Be cognizant of flash photograph during the ceremony.  

Make sure that your card is securely fastened to your gift. This makes writing thank you notes by the couple a lot easier.

And please be on time.

I hope this helps the not so seasoned wedding guest to go and enjoy themselves without worrying about breaking any wedding faux pas.