The Perfect Wedding Guest
One joy of our early spring mail box is receiving thick velum envelopes, curly calligraphy scrolling it’s way across the front; which can only mean one thing; we’re invited to a wedding, or several, depending on the year. I love the buttery feel of good paper, and opening the series of envelopes that lead the invitation. I, for one, am glad wedding invitations are still sent by mail, at least for now.
Today’s weddings range from ultra simple to elaborate; vows are exchanged before guests and an officiant as always, but every other detail is up to the bride and groom.
Weddings are held on beaches, in old barns, remote castles and in trendy wine bars. Couples exchange vows underwater and skydiving from planes.
Bridal gowns are no longer confined to white and ivory; a bride may choose any color, pattern, length or style that suits her fancy. As a matter of fact, she may change as many as three times during her special day.
Ceremonies and receptions are full of thoughtful surprises and new traditions…which leads guests to wonder…what to wear, what to give, and what to expect of the modern wedding.
The Perfect Gift
Shortly after engagement, modern couples set up wedding websites which often include a registry. Guests are given links to the website either in the invitation or via email. Bridal websites are a great opportunity to learn more about the couple and their families as they share photos, ‘how they met’ stories, bits about the family and wedding party. They often contain a registry with shopping links so you can make purchases and have them sent to the couple. You may even get some clues as to what to expect at the wedding, such as it’s theme, additional events, things to do in the area, maps to the venue and, if you are lucky, the dress code.
One may not necessarily find requests for silver, china and crystal on the registry, however. Instead, couples may ask for “experiences” such as trips, dining, or other activities. They may ask that funds be donated to charity, or toward a single big ticket item such as a piece of furniture or toward a down payment on a home.
Grooms add items to the registry these days, and may ask for lawn equipment, tools, sporting goods, and camping gear. And while it was considered very poor taste for a couple to directly request cash, some of today’s couples do. In researching this post, I found several articles advising couples that, while it may be frowned upon by some, asking for cash is acceptable.
Back in the day, we were in good stead if we sent gifts to the wedded couple within a year of the nuptials, however, with the speed of the internet today’s couples expect to receive gifts before or within a few months of the wedding.
We can still take the gift to the wedding though, right? You shouldn’t, say today’s wedding planners. Since ordering gifts and having them sent to the bride and groom directly is so simple, and dealing with gifts after the wedding can lead to complications, it’s best to send the gift ahead rather than taking it to the wedding.
The Perfect Outfit
A stylish guest will have one simple question. What should she wear? One wedding can be held on in a rustic barn, another in a chic loft. Unfortunately, clues such as black tie, or dressy casual aren’t always provided in today’s invitations. You may find the information on the wedding’s website, otherwise, it’s best to call and ask. Don’t assume that a barn wedding will be casual, sometimes the combination of formal and rustic is what the bride is going for. As always, a stylish woman wears the appropriate outfit for the occasion and would at all costs avoid choosing a color or style that mimics the bridal party or competes with the bride on her special day.
The Perfect Etiquette:
It’s still considered impolite to ask the bride if you can bring additional guests including children. However “plus one” can include a non married partner according to today’s etiquette experts.
Having a drink too many, taking a bottle from the bar on the way out, or sneaking alcohol to a dry event is still frowned upon, as are sexual improprieties with the groom or any other married guest. I know my Dear Readers already know this particular bit of information, but shockingly, these things still seem to happen with some regularity in spite of the rather unpleasant effect it can have on an otherwise delightful wedding.
Personal conflicts should be left at the door as well. Seeing one’s ex with his overt new “friend” can cause one to see red, but it’s far classier to behave like a lady you are and key his Lamborghini on the way out rather than causing a scene on the happy couple’s special day. In seriousness, having known of couples who delayed getting married for years because they feared the scene their parents or friends would make at the wedding, I beseech you to put grievances aside for the day.
The Perfect Guest
Today’s ceremonies and receptions range from simple minimalist chic to elaborate week long events, so sit back, purchase the gift with the click of your bedazzled mouse, wear an amazing outfit, and enjoy.
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