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22nd Apr 2017

Break all the rules: wedding etiquette for the modern guest


Welcome to The Bride Files – covering all things related to weddings as Laura prepares for her big day.

There’s a certain etiquette that goes with weddings.

There are some things that you aren’t supposed to do, usually it’s more of a suggestion rather than a steadfast rule. Therefore, you’re always able to bend the rules appropriately.

Here are some ways to break the rules.

Wearing white

We all surely know by now that only the bride should be wearing white at a wedding. Most of the time it’s the guests who spot the person in white, not the bride herself, and therefore it’s better to fit in with the crowd rather than sticking out like a sore thumb.

However, you can get away with wearing white if your outfit is not all white. You could have an all white dress that is covered in colourful flowers or a two-tone dress that the majority is another colour with some white on it.

Personally, I’d steer clear of anything even remotely white but if you really have to, then keep it as a secondary colour.

You can wear black

Gone be the days when a black dress was reserved for mourning.

You can definitely get away with wearing a black dress to a wedding, especially if it’s black tie or a winter wedding. You can still pull off a great black dress in the summer, you just need to match it with vibrant accessories or a colourful jacket.

It’s okay to wear flats

You do not need to break your back or feet in order to look fully dressed for a wedding. More and more people are opting to were flat shoes or sandals for weddings and we’re all for it.

It’s a long day, so after the meal is over you’ll be moonwalking your way to the dancefloor while your friends scramble for the flip-flops in the bathroom.

Men don’t have to wear a suit

There’s nothing worse than forcing someone to buy or wear something they don’t want to. If your significant other just isn’t in to suits, then he doesn’t have to wear one.

A lovely pair of chinos and a shirt will go down just as well. Finishing it off with a smart blazer for good measure. They may even get wear out of those items again, whereas a suit will just sit in the wardrobe until the next wedding.

You don’t have to bring the present on the day

It’s normal practice that guests arrive on the day of the wedding with a card or a gift for the newlyweds. Yes, it’s the right thing to do but it’s not necessarily a bad thing if you decide to leave it behind and give it to the couple the following day or deliver it to their house.

Very often it can be quite stressful for the best man to collect all the gifts and sometimes they go missing. So, the best way to avoid this is to present your gift to the couple the day after.

Choosing a side at the ceremony

There’s a long-standing tradition that the bride’s wedding guests go on the left-hand side of the church or venue, and the groom’s go on the right.

Unless the couple specifically request that you stick to this, you can sit wherever you like. In fact, it’s almost better for everyone to be mixed from the beginning so both sides get to know each other.

If you have any other advice or if you have a product/company you want to feature on The Bride Files you can get in touch with me [email protected] or on Twitter @LaurHolland.