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Wedding Etiquette

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Let out the screams!

Let’s just talk about this one for a minute. When you get into your 20’s it is crazy the amount of weddings and showers we are asked to attend. I have been out of college for two years now and have attended probably over ten weddings and showers combined. I would say by wedding twenty we will all have it down to a science! Which presents to get, appropriate attire for each event, who to send bridal shower gifts to, when is lingerie an appropriate gift? The list goes on. But ladies it is ok. I may not be on my twentieth wedding but I will say I have a niche (and a serious OCD problem..) for making sure everything is perfect. I NEVER want to show up somewhere under dressed with the wrong gift (I have probably had nightmares about this!). I have put together things to know for you gals so you can be prepared for everything and know the proper etiquette when it comes to the “wedding season”.

(Let’s just say this is also a hint to all the ladies and bridesmaids that will be attending my future wedding festivities!)

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PRESENTS

Presents seem to be a hard one for people I am starting to realize. But I can’t blame them, with three different parties to attend on top of a wedding and the expectation to bring gifts to all of them it gets confusing. Here is the best way to break it down so you know what to be prepared for.

  • Engagement Party – With engagement parties there is not an expectation for guests to bring gifts. Usually there is not a registry by this time but the engaged couple can put one together before the party and have the hosts send the information out. If they do not and you still want to bring a gift it should be a gift for both the bride and the groom. Bottles of alcohol, picture frames, gag gifts, decorative things for the home, etc. Something personal is always better, that way the couple will remember that you gave it to them. But remember, a gift is not expected.
  • Bridal Shower – A gift is always recommended when attending a bridal shower. But the biggest thing to remember is that this is a shower JUST for the bride. Not the bride and groom. So this is the time to shower HER with gifts for HER. Not the two of them. So that does not mean buy her something off of the registry. Ladies! Listen to me now, the registry is for wedding day presents, not a list of presents to give throughout the wedding celebrations. However, a bride can also do a separate registry for bridal shower gifts which will be printed on the bridal shower invitation. Otherwise gift ideas include: things for her honeymoon (outfits, accessories), beauty products, spa treatments, bridal accessories, etc. Things to spoil this beautiful woman even more!
  • Lingerie Shower – This one is pretty obvious and doesn’t need much explaining. Lingerie! Whether it is a classy set or something scandalous, have fun with it!
  • Bachelorette Party – There seems to be a trend of inviting all of your girlfriends to your bachelorette party rather than just your bridesmaids. But there is no expectation to bring a gift to this event. Unless it is asked on the invitation. Panties seem to be the favorite thing to ask guests to bring to bachelorette parties, so if there is a specific item asked don’t stray away from that.
  • Wedding Day – The day of the wedding of course you cannot show up without a gift. Always, always, always stick to the registry. You should never buy them something random the couple did not ask for. However, if you are a close friend or family member and want to get them something a little more personal this is definitely ok.

ATTIRE

There are many mistakes made with dressing for all of the wedding events. Sometimes it is very confusing because you aren’t sure what type of event it may be. Take these simple tips into consideration when you are picking out your outfits!

  • Engagement Party – Totally depends on the venue and type of party. If it is at a nice restaurant or fancy location stick to cocktail attire, heels and a nice top, dress pants, etc. Don’t show up in jeans. If you know it is more relaxed jeans and a top is ok. There may be a dress code written on the invite.
  • Bridal Shower – Once again it depends on the venue. A tea or brunch you should dress as if you were attending church. Really for any type of bridal shower a pretty dress and a cardigan works perfectly. And remember don’t show up wearing white, the bride will likely be in white. Other colors to stay away from are red and black. Wear something colorful to express your optimism and happiness for the bride!
  • Rehearsal Dinner – If you are invited to the rehearsal dinner (or apart of it) the dress is also dependent on the type of event that is being held. Traditionally the dress is a little more casual than the wedding day. So a simple cocktail dress and heels will do best. Once again stay away from white or any form of white dress. The bride may be wearing white for tho event.
  • Wedding Day – I realize Kim K. on her first wedding started a trend allowing guests to show up in white, but we aren’t all Kim K. White is NOT ok at a wedding. Unless… the bride specifically tells you personally you are ok to wear white. Otherwise, it is NOT ok. Not even if the dress is half white or off white. Just don’t do it. You look like a fool and most likely there is a group of girls in the corner saying ”how dare she”. Don’t be that girl.

HOSTING

When one of your close friends, daughters, or siblings becomes engaged it is very confusing to know who of the family or friends is in charge of what party. Here are things to know.

  • Engagement Party – While traditionally the engagement party is hosted by the bride’s parents, in these untraditional times it often turns out that friends of the bride and groom, or other relatives, want to host an engagement party as well. In that case, you may opt to have two or more parties: one for relatives and family friends, for instance, and another for your own friends. All the same, a good rule of thumb is to let the bride’s parents have the opportunity to be the first to celebrate the engagement; even if a veritable stream of parties follows, theirs should be first.
  • Bridal Shower – Traditionally the bride’s immediate relatives, such as her mother, future mother-in-law, or sister, since it would appear that they were asking for gifts. The maid of honor or another good friend usually hosts, or several people, often bridesmaids, share the responsibility. It is common for a bride to have more than one shower; when this happens, the hosts should consult one another about guest lists to avoid duplication. Showers are generally held from a couple of months to a couple of weeks before the wedding. Make sure if you are the host you are standing along side of the bride greeting guests into the party.

WHO IS INVITED

  • Engagement Party – The traditional rules of etiquette suggest that guests invited to the engagement party should also be invited to the wedding; however, the guest list will likely be shorter. Often the idea is to make this a more intimate event than the wedding itself. But this is no longer the only accepted approach. Now, because so many people have very small weddings or hold their ceremonies far from friends and sometimes even from family, the engagement party often includes people who may not be invited to the eventual wedding. Make sure to invite the immediate families of the bride and groom as well as the parents close friends along with the bride and grooms close friends.
  • Bridal Shower – This event a bride should invite their closest friends who are also invited to the wedding. There tends to be many bridal showers hosted by different people so it is ok to invite some friends to one and not the other. Don’t worry, it gets repetitive for them and not everyone wants to attend a bunch of the same showers.
  • Rehearsal Dinner – Traditionally the rehearsal dinner includes the bridal party and close families. It is better to stick with this. Close friends are ok too, but it is also dependent on how many guests are ok to invite. Always note to invite bridesmaids and groomsmen’s significant others so they do not feel left out.
  • Wedding Day – The obvious one, invite whoever you want! The biggest thing I have come across though is friends being upset because they did not get a plus one (even though they are single) and their friends in relationships did..
  • RULE OF THUMB: If your friend has a long-term serious boyfriend you know will still be in a relationship with him or her, make sure to always invite them. DO NOT fret about giving your single friends a plus one. Put it this way, why should you have to buy dinner for your friends one night stand? Plus weddings are the perfect place for your single friends to mingle with other single people! However a plus-one is thoughtful for anyone who is single, but won’t have any other friends attending. But if someone is single and will be amongst friends or family, giving them a plus-one is not necessary.

Image from Wedding Chicks ( Check out their feature on this Bridal Shower Here )

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