Weddings 101 | Wedding etiquette and trends for guests and brides

Posted on 4:22 am

Whether you’re recently ringed, the mother of the bride, or a friend of a happy couple, when it comes to weddings, there are countless parties to plan for. The wedding may be the Main Event, but friends and family of the bride and groom warm up for months with showers and bachelor/bachelorette parties.

With so many parties to attend, knowing what to wear, what to buy, and current etiquette rules can be exhausting. Have no fear – Kristin Ashley Events is here!

 

Engagement Parties – Don’t feel like you need to bring a gift; just come and enjoy the excitement that follows moments after a couple gets engaged! If you feel like you need to do something, bring some champagne or a nice bottle of the couple’s favorite wine to help them stock their soon-to-be shared bar. Another fun gesture for the bride is to bring the latest issue of a bridal magazine like The Knot or St. Louis Bride so she can get excited about planning!

 

Showers – If you’re the bride, depending on your guest count, don’t register at more than three places. You want to give your guests options, but don’t overwhelm them. If you are seeking monetary gifts, consider giving guests the option of contributing to your honeymoon at honeyfund. Many people like to give personal gifts rather than just writing a check or buying a gift card.

If you’re a guest, when in doubt, stick to the registry. But if you’re closer to the couple, you can consider going rogue with something off the registry that is handmade or off the registry. Whether you buy from the registry or not, try and make your gift fun and exciting for the bride to open by buying several gifts with a shared theme or adding in unexpected details to bring the gift full circle. For example, you could create a BBQ set with grilling tools and round the theme out with some nice spices and rubs. Or a pie plate, rolling pin, a cookbook all about pies and a bushel of apples!

If you are gifting towels, consider embroidering a few with the couple’s new monogram – remember, the first letter is the bride’s first name, the large middle letter is the couple’s last name, and the third letter is the groom’s first name. If you are in the wedding and want to do something thoughtful, get some custom stationery made with the bride’s new last name! After all, she has a lot of Thank You Notes to write so can never have too many!

 

The Wedding – As a guest, try not to bring a large package to the wedding; instead, opt to ship the gift. Most registries will offer private delivery to the couple’s home and for most sites, orders over $100 offer free shipping. For value, don’t try to guess how much the couple is spending per plate and match that value for your gift. Instead, give what you feel like you can and take into consideration how close you are to the couple. We like to recommend these basic guidelines as a starting point: Co-worker/distant family/loose friend $50-$75 per guest (even if you can’t make it). Relative or close friend $75-100 per guest. Close relative $100-150 per guest.

 

Paper etiquette – We called our friends at Cheree Berry Paper Company to help us with the dos and don’ts of modern day invitations.

Is it okay to offer an email RSVP? For showers and rehearsal dinners, email is totally fine. And if you are having a casual wedding, brides can get by with email RSVPs – whatever is most comfortable and easiest for you and/or the hosts. However, as a bride or host, if you want a more formal affair, stick with the traditional snail mail.

Should you specify dress code on the invitation? The invite sets the tone of the event so you don’t need to state what to wear unless it is black tie or white tie. Oh and please, do not list your registries on the wedding invitation! Instead, provide your wedding website on your Save the Date, which will have links to your registries.

 

What to wear – We asked Carrie at Bella Bridesmaid what’s trending in wedding party attire. Adrianna Pappell is a great designer that offers beautiful sequins dresses (long and short) which photograph beautifully and offer an unexpected yet classy look for your bridesmaids. Another great designer we love is Jenny Yoo. Her tulle fabric and illusion necklines are very in right now. Blush pink is a hot color for wedding parties, but feel free to mix and match styles, fabrics, patterns and even colors. As long as it’s cohesive it’s totally acceptable!

As a wedding guest, it apparently bears repeating (because we see it all the time): do not wear white. Or ivory. Or white with some gold or black or any other color in it. Unless the bride has specifically instructed you to wear white, find another color to wear. Is it the end of the world if you do wear white? Well, no, of course not. But you can wear that beautiful white frock another day. On the wedding day, we think it’s the bride’s day to wear white!

Other attire to steer away from unless specifically requested on the invitation or by the couple: jeans, cowboy boots, t-shirts or tiaras.

 

See more from Kristin in this clip from KSDK’s Show Me St. Louis when she was asked to come on the air to be featured as a wedding etiquette expert!