Whether you are attending a wedding for the first or fifth time this season, it is good to brush up on your wedding etiquette before you go. Here are some must-read tips for wedding etiquette to take you from the church to the last dance.
- Dress appropriately
This will show respect to the bridal couple and also help you feel comfortable at the wedding. Wedding etiquette states that you should wear light colors to a daytime or summer wedding and dark colors to an evening or winter wedding. Wear a dark suit or an evening gown to a formal wedding. A tuxedo or floor-length gown are the only options for black-tie weddings. Remember to dress for the location, though. If you will be going to a barn dance for the reception, make sure you have shoes that can handle the atmosphere and clothing that can stand up to movement and heat.
- Help the bridal couple enjoy themselves
Many brides and grooms never eat anything other than the ceremonial exchange of cake. This, along with the abundance of alcohol at many weddings, can lead to light-headedness and a difficulty enjoying the wedding. Many guests don’t know how to approach the bridal couple or what they should do after they’ve said their congratulations. A good guest doesn’t monopolize the bridal couple’s attention. They expresses gratitude and have a lot of fun. Other than memorializing their love, what bridal couples want most is to know their guests are having a good time.
- Be respectful of the space
That said, don’t enjoy yourself too much. Keep your drinking under control so that you don’t say or do anything you’ll regret later. Be mindful of the space you’re in and the people you’re sharing it with. If you’re the center of attention, that’s probably a bad thing. Keep noise levels low and consideration for others high.
- Bring an appropriate gift
Depending on the type of wedding you’re attending, the only gift likely to be accepted at the actual ceremony or reception is a monetary one. Make sure to send gifts other than money beforehand and to the correct address. If you have any questions about gifts, ask the maid of honor or the mother of the bride well before the wedding. They are the ones likely to know what to send and where to send it. If you make it to the day of the wedding and still have no idea what to give as a gift, money is always a welcome and appropriate gift.
- Be on time
Be aware of the ceremony and reception times, and leave room for travel, especially if in an unfamiliar city. Arrive early or on time, and don’t stay later than the bridal couple is comfortable with.
The most important thing to remember when worrying about etiquette is to put consideration of others first and to act with confidence. If you are treating those around you with compassion and are genuinely enjoying the wedding experience, you’ll naturally follow rules of etiquette without needing to try at all.