What is Wedding Etiquette?

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Originally posted on May 20, 2023 @ 7:26 pm

Weddings are one of the most important and memorable occasions in a person’s life. From choosing the perfect dress, decorations, and food, to selecting a venue and inviting guests, weddings require a lot of planning and preparation. However, it’s not just the bride and groom who have responsibilities when it comes to the big day. Guests are also expected to follow proper etiquette to ensure that the event runs smoothly and is enjoyable for everyone involved. In this article, we will discuss some general etiquette guidelines to follow for weddings.

Understanding the Significance of Wedding Etiquette

Wedding etiquette is a set of guidelines that outlines how to behave during a wedding ceremony and reception. It is important to understand that the rules of wedding etiquette are not arbitrary or outdated; rather, they are designed to help guests and hosts alike navigate the wedding with grace and respect. By adhering to proper wedding etiquette, guests can show their appreciation for the couple’s special day and ensure that everyone has a memorable and enjoyable experience.

The Importance of Wedding Etiquette

Weddings are special events that are steeped in tradition and symbolism. As such, they require a certain level of decorum and respect. Wedding etiquette helps ensure that everyone knows how to act and what to expect at a wedding. This can help reduce anxiety and uncertainty, allowing guests to fully enjoy the celebration.

Proper Wedding Etiquette

Dress Code

The dress code is an essential aspect of wedding etiquette. The couple will typically provide information about the dress code on the invitation. However, if there is no dress code specified, guests should dress appropriately for the venue and time of day. For example, a formal evening wedding requires a suit and tie for men and a long dress or gown for women. A daytime wedding may allow for more casual attire, such as a dress or slacks and a blouse for women and a sport coat and slacks for men.

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RSVP

RSVP is a French abbreviation that stands for “répondez s’il vous plaît,” which means “please respond.” It is a common practice to include an RSVP card with the wedding invitation. Guests should promptly respond to the invitation, either by mail or online, indicating whether or not they will attend. This allows the couple to finalize their guest list and make any necessary seating arrangements.

Gift Giving

Gift giving is an essential aspect of wedding etiquette. Guests are expected to bring a gift for the couple to celebrate their union. It is customary to give a gift that is appropriate for the couple’s lifestyle and tastes. If the couple has a registry, guests should choose a gift from the registry. However, if there is no registry, guests can consider giving a monetary gift or a thoughtful and personalized gift.

Ceremony and Reception

The ceremony and reception are the heart of any wedding. Guests should arrive on time for the ceremony and remain seated during the ceremony. Guests should also refrain from talking or taking photos during the ceremony, as this can be distracting and disrespectful. During the reception, guests should follow the lead of the hosts and participate in the planned activities, such as dancing and toasting.

Social Media

Social media has become an integral part of our lives, and weddings are no exception. However, guests should be mindful of their social media behavior during the wedding. Guests should not post photos of the couple or the wedding without their permission. Additionally, guests should not use their phones during the ceremony or reception, as this can be distracting and disrespectful.

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FAQs for What’s the Etiquette for Weddings

What should I wear to a wedding?

The appropriate attire for a wedding depends on the dress code indicated on the invitation. If the invitation specifies a dress code, be sure to follow it. If not, consider the venue and time of day. For daytime weddings, semi-formal attire like a sundress or suit will suffice. Evening weddings usually require formal attire, such as a cocktail dress or a tuxedo. Avoid wearing white or anything that may draw attention away from the bride and groom.

Can I bring a plus one?

Check the invitation to see if a plus-one is mentioned or if the invitation is addressed specifically to you. If the invitation does not allow you to bring a guest, don’t assume that you can. Only bring someone if the invitation specifically indicates that you may bring a guest. Otherwise, it is best to attend solo.

How much should I give as a wedding gift?

A wedding gift is usually based on your relationship to the couple, but there is no set amount that you must give. The general rule of thumb is to try to cover the cost of your plate, which is often around $50-100 per guest. However, you should also feel free to give a more or less expensive gift based on your budget and your relationship with the couple.

When should I RSVP?

The RSVP deadline is typically indicated on the invitation, and it is important to adhere to that deadline. Respond promptly to ensure that the happy couple can finalize their guest list and accommodations for the wedding. If there is no deadline indicated on the invite, respond within a week of receiving the invitation.

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Can I take pictures during the wedding ceremony?

It is best to check with the couple or wedding planner before taking pictures during the ceremony. Some couples may prefer an ‘unplugged ceremony’, where guests are not permitted to take photos. If photography is allowed, be sure to stay out of the way of the hired photographers and to turn off the sound on your camera.

Can I bring my own alcohol to the wedding?

Bringing your own alcohol to a wedding is generally discouraged, as most venues have their own rules about outside food and drinks. It is best to check with the couple or wedding planner before bringing any beverages to the wedding. Remember that this day is about the couple, not your personal preferences.

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