With summer comes weekends on the lake, backyard barbeques, baseball games and weddings – lots of weddings.
I was talking to a coworker the other day and he said he had nine weddings to attend this summer – nine! That’s a lot of weddings.
According to The Knot, in recent years, June has actually been the most popular month for marriages, with 15% of all weddings happening in that month.
With wedding season upon us, it’s a good time to brush up on some wedding basics. Not sure what to wear to all of your weddings this summer? Trying to decide if giving a gift is necessary? Then you’ve come to the right place!
I talked with wedding experts and industry professionals about the do’s and don’ts of wedding etiquette so you can be the best guest you can be. See what they had to say!
You get the invitation in the mail and it immediately goes up on the refrigerator or in some kind of mail organizer. Out of sight, out of mind, and the same is true for the pesky little RSVP slip. It might seem like a small thing, but remembering to RSVP is crucial.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into planning a wedding, and those in charge need to figure out number of attendees for the caterers, decorators, the seating arrangements, etc. and these numbers are the ones that are paid for in advance,” says Courteny Geigle, co-founder of My Wed Style.
Don’t Take Pictures During the Ceremony
This is one that I’m very guilty of – taking pictures of the bride and groom during the ceremony. It seems innocent enough, snapping a photo on your smartphone of the newlyweds during their first kiss as a married couple, or the groom’s reaction when he sees his bride walking down the aisle. While it seems harmless, it can actually get in the actual photographer’s way.
Cassandra Tackett, photographer and owner of Northern Native Photography says, “I sell myself as a storyteller, so imagine my dismay when intimate pieces of those stories have the guests buried underneath their smart phones. The couple that you are showing up to support has not only invited you to witness the day, but has specifically hired someone to capture those moments. The photographer has a job to do and you have one as well. Remember to live in the moment and celebrate with your friends and loved ones. Don’t miss out on some beautiful memories because your phone is in the way.”
It’s also a good idea to wait until the bride or groom has posted their own photos to social media before you post any, so they can choose when to show off their pictures.
Do Bring a Gift or Card
Though gifts are never expected, it’s a nice gesture to give a gift or card. Anne Chertoff, editor of Twirl Weddings, offers a few points to consider when deciding how much to give. She says when you’re calculating the cost of a wedding gift to think about the following things:
- What you can afford to spend. Your friends don’t want you to go into debt over their wedding gift. If you can’t afford a gift, a heartfelt card is a much-appreciated gesture.
- Where is the wedding? If it’s a destination, the costs of your travel and accommodations may be gift enough.
- If you’re on a limited budget, consider a physical gift instead of cash or a check. You can watch for sales of items on the couple’s registry, or use a coupon to snag a good price.
Don’t Wear White (or Casual Attire)
While some might think this is a given, others think it’s old-fashioned, but according to Sharon Schweitzer, the author and founder of Protocol and Etiquette Worldwide, white is still reserved for the bridal party only.
“Avoid wearing a dress, suit or ensemble that is any shade of white, ivory, off-white, pearl, ecru, eggshell or cream to a wedding. These colors are reserved for the bride, and if you wear them – she will certainly spot you, and not in a favorable way,” she says.
But white isn’t the only wedding attire no-no. You don’t want to show up too formal or too casual either, but it can be hard to determine what’s appropriate for different weddings. How do you know when to wear your formal attire and when to go more casual?
“As a general rule, anything after 6 p.m. is considered formal, especially if the wedding is held in a ballroom,” says Chertoff. “For a formal wedding opt for floor-length or hi-low dresses for the ladies and a tux or formal suit for the guys. Daytime weddings can be less formal but not casual. Dresses above or to the knee in a color are acceptable, and for the men a suit is still probably the way to go, but you can go with a lighter color, or in the summer, linen or seersucker. Check the invitation, or the couple’s wedding website, to see if the couple listed any attire suggestions and if you’re not sure what “country chic” or some other unfamiliar term means, just ask. You’re probably not the only one who’s confused.”
Don’t Bring an Unexpected Guest
I’ve seen this happen countless times – guests bringing a date when they weren’t offered a plus one, or they already RSVP’d for just themselves. It happened at a wedding I was at just a few weeks ago and the couple had to set a whole separate table and rearrange other guests because someone decided to bring an unexpected date. It seems harmless, but it can actually have a domino effect on other areas of the wedding.
“Believe it or not, the guest count impacts not only fitting one extra seat at a table… but a domino effect of decisions (meal count, rentals, favors, seating assignments, place cards, transportation, etc.) that were made and include numerous vendors who required final counts at least a few days if not weeks out from the wedding,” says the Take a Seat Events team. “Not to mention added stress to the bride or groom last minute to make any surprise adjustments day of. With that said, be courteous of your host, especially on THEIR day. If they did not include a plus one on your invite or if you just RSVP’d for one – don’t bring an extra guest.”
Keep these do’s and don’ts in mind and you’ll be ready for anything this wedding season throws at you!
Photos from Northern Native Photography.
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