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Home Lifestyle Why wedding etiquette matters: a guide to celebrating

Why wedding etiquette matters: a guide to celebrating

by Staff GBAF Publications Ltd

Why wedding etiquette matters: a guide to celebrating

By Elizabeth Soos, Founder of Auersmont School of Etiquette & Protocol

Have you been invited to a wedding recently?…did you want to go?  Some love attending weddings, and some loathe the idea!

Those who loathe the idea want to avoid dressing up, being on a schedule, talking to people they don’t know, and eat with only two choices or foods they cannot pronounce.  I am here to say that it’s not all bad.  Weddings are a time to celebrate those who consider you ‘near and dear’ to spend time with you and their money.

Weddings can be used to socialise and connect with those you haven’t seen in a while or never before.  Understand cultural customs, enjoy traditional foods, and discover the couple’s creativity and essence on a particular day.  Weddings are enormous undertaking, from religious-governmental paperwork to the traditions of the bride and groom to meeting, eating, and thanking guests at the banquet.  Considering all of this, there is a need for wedding etiquette.

You may be pondering right now what wedding etiquette is.  It is a set of guidelines for guests and sometimes even the couple themselves to ensure an effortless and respectful celebration of the union of two people.  It’s about being conscious of the hosts and their wishes while contributing to a positive atmosphere for everyone.  Here are some vital aspects of wedding etiquette for guests:

RSVP – Generated from the French phrase, ‘répondez s’il vous plaît’ or in English, ‘respond if you please.’  Even though there is a please at the end of the English translation, it doesn’t mean respond if you can be bothered.  It means you must respond by letting the bride and groom know who is coming so they can account for how many will attend and considerately fit you into the upcoming festivities.  Once you receive your invitation, respond in three to four days.  Consider making your ‘yes’ a definite yes and ‘no’ a definite no.  It is better to do this than flip-flopping, causing the couple anxiety and sleepless nights.

Dress codes – Today, I have noticed that there needs to be clarity about what dress codes mean in Australia.  Here is a quick rundown of what to expect.  Your invitation will typically specify a dress code, whether formal, semi-formal or cocktail.  We are now in the ‘age of the selfie’, so please follow the guidelines to make sure you’re appropriately attired for the occasion.  Formal, you may be asked to wear white or black tie clothing: long dresses, high heels, beautiful accessories, and gorgeous hairdos for women.  The semi-formal for men is a matching suit and pants.  If you attend an evening wedding, use darker colours, whereas a day event uses lighter materials and colours.  Women can choose understated elegance, opting for a mid-length skirt in muted colours with minimalist patterns, mid-length heels or wedges.

Punctuality – Aim to arrive on time for the ceremony.  There is nothing like someone doing the walk of shame once the ceremony has started at a place of worship or civil proceedings. Arrive within a reasonable timeframe for the reception, so you can share in the joy once the newly married couple appear.  Punctuality shows others you respect their time and value commitments.

Gifts – It’s customary to bring a gift to help the new couple set up their house for years to come.  It is better to focus on the couple’s wants rather than feel obligated to a costly present.  Registries are a great place to help the couple.  A word of warning: purchase from the registry immediately, and you might be left with purchasing items that may be outside your budget.

Dietary restrictions V’s Allergies – Not long 10play made headlines stating, ‘Lufthansa Looks To Charge Passengers Extra For Meals With Dietary Requirements.’  Together with the increased cost of living, dietary requirements are becoming a thing of the past.  However, allergies are still as important and high on the priority list of caterers and event managers.  When you are RSVP’ing, there should be a provision to note your allergies, if any, not at the last minute due to pre-ordering food for the big event.

Being a gracious guest and celebrating the couple’s special day, you proudly contribute to a positive and memorable experience for everyone.