We have often heard distressed exclamations from our couples like,
“I just don’t know what tradition is!”
or “I’m afraid of doing it wrong.”
or “I don’t want to offend anyone.”
We have come to realize that this all touches on thoughts of etiquette. The crazy thing about etiquette is that it is both constantly evolving and maintaining long standing traditions. So we decided to create a series of blogs about some of the more complex, or sticky, areas of etiquette worry.
We realized in writing this series that a major part of weddings were being left out. What about the 50 to 200 to 500 or more people who will be attending this wedding? So much thought is put into planning a wedding “just right” with all this etiquette in mind. But what happens when a few rowdy, late, or confused guests are sprinkled into the mix? So here’s a little guide to help guests know what’s what in the 2020s and how to best add to the beauty, fun, and ultimate success of a wedding.
So you found out you’re invited to a wedding?
A few things that have been lost in the tides of time when it comes to receiving a wedding invitation need to be addressed here. (hah! Get it?) First of all, the couple who sent you the invitation spent painstaking hours deliberating and delegating the ins and outs of putting a guest list together. This means, they know EXACTLY who they are inviting down to the EXACT number. What does this mean for you as a guest? It means you should offer a second glance to that envelope. The names listed on the envelope designate EXACTLY who is invited to the wedding. We are all aware that weddings are very precious and expensive events. So if you are in any way confused by who is invited, reach out to the couple to double check. Some couples allow for plus ones or whole families to be invited, and some do not. Either way, trust us, they know EXACTLY who is invited.
Once you have determined who is invited to the wedding, before your mind goes to dinner plans or work projects, or bath time, fill out that RSVP card and put it in the mailbox! Just as we mentioned the couple’s acute attention to who is invited, they are equally interested in getting those RSVPs back. Linens, florals, catering, rentals, bar, etc. are all affected by RSVP counts two weeks out from the wedding. So be sure to relieve the worry or confusion for your friends and mail that thing back! P.s. if there is a line for names, write who you are RSVPing for. Believe it or not, blank RSVPs stating “We are thrilled to come” have been received before!
Then, there’s the wedding gift. As you peruse the couple’s registries, consider mailing the gift to them. While it isn’t totally unheard of, as the times have changed, so have typical gift giving norms. It is totally normal to see a welcome table at a wedding with a sign for cards and gifts. However, the convenience involved in couples not having to worry about transporting their presents the night of their wedding is a huge plus of shipping it to their home. If you’d like to give them a card, go for it! That is much easier to stow away in an over night bag!
So you’re headed to the wedding?
It’s the week of the wedding, and you are packing up for a fun mini vacation or planning out your great date night. Here are a few tips before you leave the house. Be sure to save the address to the ceremony AND double check if the reception is in the same location. If it is not, go on and save that second address as well! Infinity Events is based out of Memphis, TN, but we’ve done weddings all throughout the South. Sometimes cell service isn’t strong enough for Google Maps or Waze to guide you. Best to go ahead and plug that in before you leave your invitation on the kitchen counter!
You’re all dressed up and ready to celebrate this gorgeous couple’s big day! A few things to remember about the ceremony. If we could pick from the dozens if not hundreds of wedding fallacies to wipe from the face of the events’ world, we would certainly like to be rid of the idea of “wedding time”! While wedding days are busy for the couple, their parties, and families, planners and vendors work very hard to arrange a timeline to the couple’s wishes. So remember 15 minutes early is best! That should give you ample time to find parking, make a run to the restroom, or even find the best seat!
Speaking of seats! Remember how we were talking about the cost of these romantic celebrations? Keep in mind when you are finding your seat for the ceremony that the couple set the room for the accurate number of RSVPs they received. Don’t be afraid to sit next to a family or group you don’t know. You’re here to witness this fantastic wedding! Help others witness it as well!
And finally, something we WISH we didn’t have to keep reminding wedding guests, but alas, here we are. Put your phone away! The couple has hired a professional to capture all these memories for them! With today’s social media minds, we PROMISE you’ll get to see them! Plus. you’ll snap plenty at the reception!
So you’re headed to the reception?
When planning out where you’re going for this wonderful wedding, consider how you are getting there. Some times venues are in downtown location with limited street parking. Other times, venues are private property that close their gates at the end of the event. Plan out who’s driving and what kind of parking there is. The last thing you want is for the couple to be charged hundreds of dollars for the venue to open their gate on a Sunday. (It’s true. This can happen!)
Next we want to remind you that seating at wedding receptions are different from event to event. General rule of thumb for couples deciding on how many to seat at a dinner table is based on the style of food or vibe of the reception. If there is not a formal dinner being served to each table by the catering staff, the couple may not have a seat for every guest. Again we are back to the dollars and cents of a wedding. If the couple is hoping for a more relaxed and mingled wedding reception, they can save on tables, rentals, florals, etc. by not seating 100%. The main thing for guests to keep in mind in regards to the etiquette surrounding dinner seating is to pay attention to reserved signs, and if you notice an elderly couple looking for a place to eat or observe the party, consider giving them your spot. You’d much rather be on the dance floor or in the photo booth any way, right?
Finally, the key to etiquette at a wedding reception is to focus on the love of the couple. Be respectful of the effort and intention that they put into their wedding day. While open bars are a happy site when you walk into a reception hall, keep in mind how you want your friends to remember their wedding. When in doubt, enjoy the amenities the way you might at a work function or formal fund raiser. Help the couple remember the magic, not the messy, of the wedding day.
We know weddings are ever changing and each one is its own unique flower, but as a guest, always keep in mind that the couple has asked that you witness their love and commitment to each other. They wish to have you with them on this amazing and irreplaceable day. So if you’re in doubt on how to act as a guest, Infinity Event’s door is always open to help clear up confusions!
XOXO, The Infinity Events Team