Welcome to the final part of our series “The Art of Etiquette”! As women who seek to further God’s kingdom in our day-to-day lives, we are entrusted with the responsibility to govern the hearts of ourselves and our families. Whether you’re single, married, with children or an empty-nester, these simple and practical tips on behavior, manners, conduct and etiquette will inspire and encourage you to continue to serve the Lord with excellence.
Now, grab yourself a cup of tea and let’s journey together through “The Art of Etiquette”!
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. | Romans 12:10
Etiquette Tip #10: Wedding Etiquette
It is an honor to celebrate marriage with a couple. Brides and their families put countless hours of work into making the day special for everyone and it can be easy to overlook a few simple polite practices as wedding guests.
- RSVP by the deadline requested. You can begin to honor the couple the moment you receive the invitation by submitting your RSVP in the manner they request (online or by mail, etc.) as soon as possible, and definitely before the deadline listed.
- Be mindful of who was listed on your invitation. Traditionally the invitation or RSVP card will list exactly who is invited. If you are allowed to bring a guest it will be indicated by including “plus one” or “and guest.” If the invitation does not list your children’s names or include “and family” the couple is not planning for your children to attend.
- If the invitation listed a dress code then it is very important to observe it. If nothing was listed, you can infer the level of dressiness based on the venue. If it’s at a casual church, wear church clothes. If it’s in a ballroom, opt for something formal. Beach and outdoor weddings are traditionally more casual. To be safe, error on the side of overdressing. And don’t forget, it’s never appropriate to wear white at a wedding unless you’re the bride!
- Arrive at the ceremony early. Arrive early enough to sign the guest book, drop off gifts, and be ushered to a seat well before the wedding start time. The first time a bride is seen by guests as she walks down the aisle is a powerful time, so let her have that moment without guest filing in the back door at the same time.
- Do not bombard the bride or groom. When the couple is in a place other than the area of the reception, allow them privacy. Designated changing rooms, restrooms, and waiting areas are to be left for the couple, the bridal party, and those they invite only. Save your well-wishes and hugs for the reception time when the couple can give you their attention.
- Gifts are customary at weddings and registries make it easy. Don’t be fooled into thinking that if you get a gift from the registry it will be boring – after all, the couple has specifically asked for these items. You’d be surprised at how excited they will be to receive those salt and pepper shakers! If you purchase a large gift, have it delivered directly to the couple so they do not have to transport it from the wedding. If all else fails, get a gift card so they can shop as they desire!
- Be mindful of others when taking pictures. It has become culturally common to snap many photos at a wedding, but take note of a few courtesies. Do not take “steal photos” from the photographer (standing next to the photographer and snapping your own identical picture) because they have created the scene and are being paid for their creative ability to set the atmosphere and identify photographic moments. Also, do not block others or draw attention to yourself when reaching to snap your perfect shot. If the bride and groom have asked that guests refrain from taking photos, be respectful of their wishes.
- Many couples encourage posting on social media, while others ask that you enjoy the moment sans social media. Either way, respect the couples wishes. Silence your phone and take time to enjoy the moment, the company, and allow yourself to be fully present.