Monday, January 3, 2011

How To: Wedding Guest Etiquette

Embedded in society’s rule books and generated from a clash of conservative and modern day ideas, the etiquette of a wedding guest developed. Avoid learning through trial-and-error by using these top tips.


• RSVP promptly. If you haven’t RSVP’d, it is inappropriate for you to attend the ceremony without speaking to the hosts. Receptions are often paid for by head and not returning your RSVP card can make matters difficult for the bride and groom.
• If you RSVP to say that you are attending and have to cancel, contact the bride or groom immediately to let them know.
• Wherever the ceremony is being held, it is imperative to be respectful and silent where appropriate.
• Always arrive 15 minutes to half an hour before the ceremony to avoid being late.
• Taking photos during the wedding ceremony is often advised against unless it is a relaxed gathering where you have been given the go-ahead to do so. The bride and groom will use a professional photographer to capture the ceremony and it’s like they won’t require your rookie snaps.


• Rule number one for females is: do not wear white. It is said that it takes the spotlight off the bride, however unintended. The same rule applies to creams, ivory and any type of off-white. This has been around since the dawn on man and should be adhered to. Floral print dresses are often fail-safe.
• The invitation, location of the wedding and reception are easy indicators of the style of the wedding whether it be a relaxed beach ceremony or an evening black tie event.
• Avoid high heels for outdoor weddings to avoid heel sinking. Flat sandals are often fine for this type of occasion.
• For a semi-formal to formal occasion, men don’t have to wear a full suit or tux. Instead, you can opt for a dress shirt, pants and shoes. A tie and jacket is optional.
• Avoid looking like you're going clubbing or heading to Rosehill Racecourse, keep your dress length and cleavage classy. For men, jeans and shorts are a no-go unless it’s a casual gathering.
• Wearing Black used to be advised against but for a black tie or cocktail event, it is suitable.
• A personal note, I’m no fan of the maxi in general and at a wedding it can look like you’re the odd bridesmaid. It comes hand-in-hand with not trying to take away the spotlight from the bride, groom and the bridal party.
• For a black or white tie event, a tux and a formal gown or dress is appropriate dressing. This may be the only instance where you can disregard most of the above and wear a floor length gown with some extravagence.

Anthony & Standford's wedding - The perfect example of guest in black tie attire


• Weddings are extremely expensive so it is not acceptable to ask to bring a friend or your brother, particularly when your invite does not say ‘plus one’. It is often fine for you to ask privately if a long-time partner can attend but apart from that, it is generally quite rude to impose on the hosts in this way. That said, if a guest was invited to the engagement party or received a ‘Save the Date’ and wasn’t invited to the ceremony, it would be fine to have a quiet word with the bride or groom about it.


• Gifts are not compulsory. Keep in mind that you have a year after the wedding to give a congratulatory present. It is also customary to give a gift even if you are not attending.
• Bringing your gift to the reception is often advised against, instead have it delivered to the address attached to the gift registry.

For Brides to be, I suggest Amour Amour for truly beautiful inspiration.

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