Unspoken Etiquette Rules Every Wedding Guest Should Follow


1. Is there a rule that says wedding guests can’t wear black or white?

Not anymore. Unlike the bridesmaids, you can wear any color you want. However, if you do choose white, make sure “it doesn’t look remotely bridal,” suggests etiquette expert Peggy Post, director of the Emily Post Institute. If you opt for black, “it should look chic, not funereal.” You should also consider the time of day, location, and any religious restrictions (for example, no bare shoulders or risqué necklines).

2. Speaking of church weddings, do I need to dress really conservatively?

It depends on the venue and time of day – some weddings are formal and others more relaxed, says Diane Gottsman, a national etiquette expert and founder of The Protocol School of Texas. Take cues from the wedding invitation. “That will give you a sense of the tone of the event.” A sleeveless sheath dress is generally appropriate for an afternoon church wedding.

3. I have the perfect present in mind. Do I really have to give something off the registry?

“I’m a fan of bridal registries: They help couples suggest gift ideas, avoid duplicate gifts, and simplify gift giving for their guests,” says Post. But choosing your own gift is also okay, she adds. “Often the most memorable gifts are those that guests select themselves.” Translation: Go with your gut. Or if you’re feeling generous, double up. Get something small from the registry, and splurge on the personal pick.

4. My friend is getting married but it’s her second wedding. I gave her a present the first time. Do I need to give another?

According to Post, if you gave a gift for the first marriage, you’re off the hook for giving again. Of course, some family and friends give anyway to celebrate the couple. Post suggests checking in with other family members before you do anything.

5. I’ve been invited to a wedding I can’t attend. Do I still need to send a gift?

In a nutshell, yes. Send it to the couple ahead of time, so they don’t have to lug it home from the reception, suggests Post. If you don’t ship it before the wedding, do it soon after. “The idea that you have a year is a myth,” says Post.

6. Is it really tacky to just give cash?

“You will not find many couples who would be offended by cash,” says Gottsman. As far as the amount, “what’s adequate is whatever you can give.” But a thoughtful note on a pretty card goes a long way. “The couple will know your gift was from the heart.”

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Source: Country Living | Natalie Gontcharova

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