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Wedding Guest Etiquette For The Modern Era: Keep From Turning Their Dream Into A Nightmare

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July 12, 2019

Everyone loves weddings! Most of us look forward with eager anticipation for the big day.

But sometimes a wedding guest can, unintentionally, turn a dream wedding into a nightmare for the bride and groom.

Don't be THAT guest. Esther Lee, senior editor at ‘The Knot,’ helps us wade through the many 'DOs and DON’Ts' surrounding weddings, in particular, gifting and dress codes.

"At modern weddings — with each couple and their nuptials being more unique than ever — questions of what to wear or what to buy or whom to bring as a plus-one can run the gamut."

Esther Lee shares her expert advice and experience on some of the most stress-producing aspects of attending a wedding - guaranteed to make sure you and the bride and groom remain friends after their big day!

1) How much should I spend on the gift? Does it depend on my marital/economic status?

"Lately, we’re seeing a range on how much guests are spending, but it’s contingent on each guest and the relationship with the couple.

"If you’re going to a co-worker’s wedding, your spending might be less than if it is a family member or best friend. We see couples spend between $100 to $400.

"Overall, it does depend on the number of wedding events you’re attending. So if you attend the bridal shower and bachelorette, then your overall wedding gift spend would be less."

2) How can I save money on the gift without looking cheap?

"So much of that is about putting a lot of thought [into it].

"Get a more thoughtful gift, even though it’s not as expensive. Do gifting early, and pick the lesser and smaller items. If you know other people going to the wedding, go in as a group on a big gift, and you could save money that way."

3) How can my behavior be an asset to the bride and groom at the actual ceremony?

"Follow the rules.

"The couple makes a website for a reason. Abide by the dress code. Be on time. Just be a good guest. Those are basics. Couples put a lot of time into planning their wedding day.

"We highly encourage guests to be present and be there for all of the wedding and reception. There is a lot of work that went in to celebrate the couple’s love for the day. It’s their journey, and they chose you to be there. Be present."

4) How do I dress for the occasion? What does 'Formal/Semi-formal' really mean? Do I REALLY have to abide by the dress code?

"Guests should always abide by the dress code because it really does lend to the space or the aesthetics of the wedding.

"Formal suggests less fancy than black tie, which is an after-5 p.m. ceremony, usually held in a nice event space with dresses longer in length. Formal is more scaled back: You can wear a glitzy dress, but it doesn’t have to be a gown.

"For women, statement heels and a fancy clutch are really good for a formal occasion. Men should consider accessories like cuff links or a nice shoeshine.

"Semiformal means a tuxedo isn’t required.

"In general, it’s better to be overdressed than to show up underdressed, because you can always remove something. Show up looking really good in support of a couple."

5) How do I prepare for an outdoor wedding? Especially on a hot summer day?

"Wear breathable, light fabrics like silk or cotton. For men, consider linen suits. It’s actually acceptable for men to forgo socks and wear boat shoes or loafers.

"There are portable fans that attach to your phone and operate on batteries. It’s a nice touch if the couple provides it for the guests.

"Stay hydrated. Guests should drink plenty of water the day before, and couples should provide a hydration station."

6) Is there anything else you think wedding guests should know that they might not have already thought of?

'Overall, the biggest thing, as a guest, is a gift from the registry.

"Follow the rules. If the couple is asking you to be there, be present, be supportive. The last thing a couple needs is a snarky wedding guest. They need the love and support of gracious friends and family members."

That says it all!!

Happy Wedding!

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