Modern Wedding Etiquette

So you've been invited to a wedding. Many of us attended weddings with our parents when we were younger, weddings of our aunts and uncles, older cousins, and family friends. We remember dancing, ceremonies that seemed to take forever, and the adults in our lives acting weirder and giddier than we had seen them before. We remember getting all dressed up, and being disgusted and confused by the kissing that followed the clinking of stemware. But this is a different wedding. This is a wedding you will attend as an adult. This is a wedding of someone you actually know.

I'll never forget the first invitation I received that specifically had MY NAME and ADDRESS on it. It felt like that very first sleepover invitation, but even better - I got to bring a date! The initial reaction was pure excitement; I was happy for my friend that she found someone to spend her life with. This, of course, was followed by pure horror that I hadn't yet, and that I was going to have to bring someone with me. I also quickly realized that I knew NOTHING about being a wedding guest. Did I HAVE to bring a date? How fancy was I supposed to dress? What do I get as a gift? What is a wedding registry, and do I have to get them a toaster? If you don't know the answers to these questions, or have even more of your own, follow our little guide of the new rules for the modern wedding.

I Do, But Please Don't... The Dos and Don'ts of the Modern Wedding

Do - RSVP in a timely matter. 

There is a lot of planning that goes behind a wedding. Many venues have strict limits on the number of guests who can attend, and will charge the couple accordingly. RSVPing by or well before the date indicated on the invitation is of the utmost importance. Also, RSVP in the manner indicated on the card. Some couples are choosing to set up websites or emails dedicated to the RSVP, while others are following the more traditional "Return Card" approach. Either way, let the couple know that you will, or will not be attending.

Don't - Show Up Unannounced

In the case that you responded 'No', but find out last minute that you WILL be able to attend the wedding, make sure to clear it with the couple as soon as possible. Plans change, everyone knows that. For the one person who may last minute be able to attend, there are probably two who couldn't. It is likely that the couple has left a bumper for this fact, but DO NOT show up without checking with them ahead of time.

Do - Bring A Gift

Many young people these days feel uncomfortable purchasing an item from a Gift Registry. TBH, most couples feel awkward making them. In reality, Registries are often geared towards older wedding attendees that feel like they should be giving a gift that will help the couple build a life or home together. If you really want to get the couple a 'Thing', check the registry. Some couples have opted to create Honeymoon registries. I'm all for this idea, because I would rather give an 'Experience Gift' as opposed to a 'Thing'. If Registries really aren't for you, no one says no to cold hard dollah billz.  I personally like to give cash in the currency of the Honeymoon location, and give the couple a few tips of how to spend it. 

Don't - Feel like you HAVE to Buy Them The Big Ticket Items

If you do want to go for a Registry item, but can't afford to give them that brand new washer and dryer or Sea Doo (tip: always go for the Sea Doo), feel free to ask other guests to go splitsies on a larger gift. Just remember, the common courtesy is to gift back the approximate cost of you and your guest's seat at the wedding, but this is not set in stone.

Do - Use the #Hashtag

A new trend that we're seeing because of social media is the use of couple specific hashtags. This is a great way for couples to look back and see the pics that you and the other guests took during the event. Find out early on if there is a #hashtag, and make sure that you are spelling it properly. 

Don't - Take Pictures During the Ceremony

This is another big trend we're seeing - guests stepping into the middle of the aisle to take photos of the bride and groom at the alter. Most weddings these days have professional photo or even videographers that are hired specifically to get those primo pics. Careful that you aren't in their way! In addition, every wedding I've been to in the past 2 years has had a 'Photo Op' announcement after the couple is officially married. Wait to only take pictures when instructed to. If the opportunity is not given to you to take pictures, ask the couple to send you a couple of the professional photos a couple weeks after the wedding, or check out their album on FaceBook.

Do - Dress Up

Some couples like to have theme weddings. We've seen weddings with themes like Hallowe'en, Winter Wonderland, The '60s, Gatsby, Flintstones - anything! If the couple asks for a theme party, do your best to follow it.

Don't - Over-Dress The Couple, or Go Too Casual

If the wedding isn't a theme party, there are still some standard dress codes to follow. Take hints from the Invitation or from the venue information; if the wedding is at an exclusive country or golf club, it's likely to be a fancy affair. If you're off to Mexico on a destination wedding at the beach, you can probably get away with 'fancy' beach attire (hellloooooo Hawaiian Print, Flowy Dresses and Flip Flops). If you're really unsure, ask the couple a few weeks before!

Do - Tip the Bartenders

Is the wedding an open bar? Take a few extra bucks to give to the bartenders. Although the couple will likely tip them as well, it's nice to throw the lady that's pouring you free doubles a couple bucks. It may help you get your drinks a little quicker too ;).

Don't - Be The Drunkest Person There

Yes, you're supposed to have fun. Remember though, this is a family event. Gauge yourself by the older members of the family. Some couples may ask for a dry wedding, and yes, you have to follow this. It's their day, if they don't want 100 drunk people at their party, don't do it. 

Do you have any more times for the modern wedding go'er? Let us know, and we'll add them to our list!