If you haven’t been to three weddings already this year, you are either under the age of 30 or very lucky because other people’s nuptials are expensive and a minefield of manners and societal expectations. Here’s our guide to modern wedding guest etiquette. Read it now, or forever hold your peace.
Photographed by Rog Walker
1. It’s ok to wear white – as long as it’s not teemed with a veil (cf Solange Knowles)
2. If your invitation comes from the parents of the bride it means Ma and Pa have remortgaged their house to pay for the thing.
Be sure to single them out on the day and thank them warmly for such a lovely day even if you were sat on a table full of B-list university friends, someone she once worked with and the creepy uncle.
3. Likewise send a thank you card after the event to the parents (if they ‘hosted’) and the bride and groom.
This may seem archaic to Generation Snapchat but it’s just good manners.
Highlight a lovely moment from the day or share a funny anecdote they may have missed.
Keep it friendly and personal.
4. If you're at a Jewish wedding, the mother of the bride is the star of the show (according to herself) so smother her with appropriate praise and attention
5. Do not complain loudly that there is not a free bar. In fact do not complain about anything on the day even if you hate every minute of it, particularly if you happen to be standing next to the person videoing proceedings
6. Get drunk enough to be good fun but not drunk enough to be sick in the toilets
7. Try your best to smile in all photographs particularly with the married couple
8. Guess what, gay weddings are JUST WEDDINGS and are as weird and wonderful as any straight wedding! Do not over-compensate by coming dressed as a rainbow coloured unicorn.
And definitely don’t buy the couple a card that says ‘to the bride and groom’ and try to customise it yourself with a marker pen.
Liberty and many other shops sell a great range of same sex wedding cards
9. Take the advice offered on the invitation: If it says ‘instead of presents we’d like you to donate money to this charity’ – do it.
If it says ‘no presents at all’ respect this and do not turn up with an elaborately wrapped-up duvet set that will just make everyone feel awkward.
If there’s a wedding list choose something that is not the cheapest option.
And if your friends just ask you for cash, with no explanation - in this writer’s opinion it may be time to get some new friends.