Wedding Etiquette – The Do’s & Don’ts
Wedding etiquette had come a long way from when your parents tied the knot. What’s the deal with wedding hashtags? When can you start drinking on the day of the wedding? We asked Stefanie Cove, who plans the weddings we always seem to be bookmarking, to share her tips on what to do and what not to do if you’re a wedding guest this summer. She let us in on everything from what to do if you have questions to why you should take it easy on the dance floor.
Wedding season is here. It’s time to prepare for weekends full of dancing, socializing and celebrating happy couples. Wedding guests have a responsibility to help make the day go as smoothly as possible for themselves and everyone else. That means making sure they do come prepared and don’t bug the couple or immediate family too much. Here are some critical dos and don’ts for this season’s wedding fetes.
WEDDING GUEST 101
Between being profoundly experienced in binging Say Yes to the Dress marathons to seeing our friends getting popped the question all over our I.G. feeds, you can say we’re practically experts in prepping for the most beautiful time of the year – summer wedding season.
I love attending weddings – they are such happy moments and always a blast! We haven’t been to weddings in quite some time as most of our friends at this point are married, but we have T.W.O. This month and naturally, this mama is excited to get dressed up. I’ve had several requests to feature wedding guest attire on here, so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to share some summer Wedding Guest Dress options with you and how to transition them to fall!
Wedding R.S.V.P. Do’s & Dont’s
Do: Try to respond as soon as possible; otherwise, you may forget—which makes planning difficult for the hosts.
Don’t: Ask to bring a guest. If it is not on the invitation, you are being invited solo.
Months of preparation go into planning a wedding, which means every single guest is accounted for. It can be a drag and a time-suck to have to track down every guest who hasn’t sent back the RSVP card. Save the couple a few hours of logistical work and RSVP on time — whether you’re sending a card in the mail or checking a box on a wedding website. They will appreciate it immensely!
As a lover of well, l o v e, nothing makes us experience so many feels quite like weddings. Surrounding ourselves with endless love, pure joy, and catching a glimpse of the groom with tears rolling down his face when seeing the L.O.H.L. walk down the aisle just melts our hearts.
NO, we’re not crying, YOU’RE crying!
I found two perfect, inexpensive dresses from Nordstrom that are great for the end of summer, early fall season! I’m showing you how I styled them below for summer, but I’m linking a few items below that can easily transition them to a fall wedding as well.
Wedding Guest dress codes
Do: Follow the dress code but incorporate your style. I love when the guests’ personalities shine through the typical black-tie or formal attire.
Don’t: Wear white or anything that could steal the show.
Do prepare for any weather
How many times have you been caught unprepared for rain when the weather has been nothing but sun for weeks? Or how many times have you gotten a sunburn on half your face from sitting in the same place during the hottest part of the day? Stock up on facial sunscreen, grab a wedding-worthy sun hat and pack a picture-perfect umbrella in case the weather doesn’t go your way.
The lovely bride and groom maybe your closest friends or you might be a special someone’s plus one, so gone are the days of sitting at the kiddie table. Your new dilemma? Finding the right wedding guest dress!
For these long occasions, looking glamorous while feeling comfortable is always preferred. Not to mention for one night only, the dress better as a killer price tag. As a wedding guest or bridesmaid for a summer wedding in full bloom, start with following specific guidelines made by the bride(Zilla) and dress accordingly!
I love the simplicity of this Infinite Glory Body-Con Dress by Lulus, which makes it appropriate for a day or nighttime wedding. I wore it in the Dusty Rose for an early afternoon wedding, but it’s also available in navy and wine which would be stunning for a fall wedding. It fits true to size, and I’m wearing an X.S. here.
Bringing your children to a Wedding
Do: Confirm if they can join (when invited) and if they have any dietary needs.
Don’t: Assume. If your kids aren’t listed on the invite, they are probably not invited, and you should check in with the hosts if you have questions. Looking for the best Wedding Stylist in Melbourne? Look no further, Boutique events group has you covered.
Do bring dancing shoes
Your shoes are adorable — indeed the perfect complement to your carefree, summer wedding-guest dress. But weddings are lengthy, and you don’t want to have to sit for the entire reception. Instead, you may consider ditching the stilettos after a couple of hours for some flats or flip-flops. And who says comfort has to compromise cuteness? Try these rose gold flip-flops to slip out of blistering heels and into an effortless night of fun. You might even make it to the after-party.
So whether it’s a formal church, backyard, or destination wedding – get ready to dress according to the occasion and be a knockout! Most importantly, let the bride have her shining moment in white too. Once the reception starts, get out on the dance floor and show them a good time!
But FIRST, don’t forget to R.S.V.P.!
It is very figure forming, so don’t forget the Spanx! I love this pair that I wore with it. They’re lightweight and don’t add too thick of a layer underneath (which is excellent if it’s hot!). I also added these simple Sam Edelman heels, which are my go-to for more formal events because they work with just about anything. They are high, though, so if you’re looking for a shorter version, I suggest this pair right HERE (same shoe, smaller heel!).
Do: Arrive on time! And turn off your cell phone before the ceremony.
Don’t: Show up half-way through the ceremony and walk right in. If you must, quietly make your way to the very back of the room as in as subtle a way as possible.
Don’t text the bride or groom
Can’t find your way from the ceremony to the reception? Don’t know what time the post-wedding brunch is on Sunday? Don’t ask the busy, overwhelmed bride or groom. It may be tempting since they’re just a simple text away, but it’s not fair to burden them if you haven’t taken the time to visit their website. Plus, it may not be the most effective way to get a response.
You believe in the fairytale and the serendipitous nature of finding the perfect wedding guest dress so here you are. You’ll be such a catch in these dresses featuring pretty lace trims in bright shades for summer or deep burgundy for fall/winter. Not sure what colour you’re feeling? Try out the “it” colour for summer in lovely lavender hues, in short, flirty hems. Don’t lie; we know you want to catch the bouquet.
The second dress I scooped up is Topshop Plunge Slipdress. This is more for an evening wedding with its plunging neckline, but I love that it’s classic and straightforward otherwise. I’m wearing a size two here which fits like a 0.
Wedding Posts on Social Media Etiquette
Do: Be respectful of what you post. Not every bride and groom wants to publicize their wedding on social media, or sometimes they like to be the first to get it out there.
Do book a room ahead
Unless you want to cramp someone’s style by ordering up a cot after you realize you don’t have a place for the night, book ahead. It’s the first rule for not being stranded after a long night of fun and cocktails. It sounds basic, but it happens. Find great deals at Hotels.com or Expedia.
You like to pay attention to the fine details, and you are always on time, like always. How do you do it? You already make the perfect wedding guest so that the perfect dress may be a sophisticated sleeveless midi length gown or classic wrap silhouette. Feel free to step out of your comfort zone a little bit in midi dresses with eye-popping prints or full ruffle details which are so now for the season.
I’m still wearing the same Sam Edelman heels (they do go with everything!), and added one of my favourite clutches of all time by Clare V. This clutch is definitely on the pricier side, so I found a slightly less expensive option for you right here! For jewellery, I added this Y choker necklace from BaubleBar to accentuate the plunging neckline. However, statement earrings with no necklace would also be beautiful!
Don’t: This isn’t a rule, but my personal preference is that guests don’t use their cell phones for photos during the ceremony. This way, the professional photos don’t show everyone with their phones in the air!
Not sure how you want your wedding stationery to look? Check out our list of 28 Wedding Invitation Ideas to help you choose.
Do buy a Wedding gift
It doesn’t have to be much, but a gift is a gesture of thanks for the wedding festivities (which undoubtedly cost the couple a pretty penny). It’s also an excellent way to wish them all the best in their new marriage. If nothing else, a thoughtful card from will do. They have a vast number of congratulations cards for newlyweds, including a large selection for same-sex couples. And if you are attending more than one wedding this summer, buy in bulk to save on shipping.
You love, LOVE! And with that, you also LOVE a drink or three. The romantic stuff is excellent and all, but you could use a little drama in your outfit. Look just as hot as the bride in these edgy maxi dresses with an open back and deep v for some subtle sexiness. Try a fitted bodycon dress with charming halter detail in stand out gem tones or choker neckline for a contemporary edge.
One simple tip to transition these to fall: add a pashmina! A classic pashmina scarf is a wardrobe staple because it can easily be draped over these dresses as a shawl for some added warmth. A neutral colour will be sure to go with just about everything. Another option would be to add a blazer!
Do: Address both people in the couple—not just one or the other. Also, I always think it is nice to thank the families hosting the events when applicable.
Don’t: Speak too long. 2 – 3 minutes is the perfect time for toasts! This keeps peoples’ attention and allows the night to continue without delays.
There’s nothing more disheartening than a guest telling the newlyweds they weren’t a fan of the food or thought the ceremony was too long. If you have opinions — which is bound to happen for those of us who attend multiple weddings every summer — keep them to yourself or those closest to you. Don’t let any negativity inadvertently dampen an otherwise beautiful day for the couple.
You’re the type of person that just feels the romance in the air, so why not opt for light and airy? Looking ravishing in floral ruffles, go for pretty boho details, or maybe a v-neck silhouette with flirty bell sleeves is more your style.
On Drinking at the Wedding
Do: Drink and have a wonderful time but maybe avoid mixing different types of alcohol, so your hangover isn’t terrible.
Don’t: Get so drunk that you might embarrass yourself or the bride and groom, remember these are memories that last a lifetime.
Do relax and have fun
The newlyweds and their families have gone out of their way to make the wedding as welcoming and fun for guests as possible. Forget what’s happening at work, the traffic you fought to get there and the price of the hotel room you booked for the weekend. While you’re there, do your best to enjoy the celebratory atmosphere and the food, and soak in love from the happy couple — knowing you’re part of the inner circle!