If you haven’t been to a wedding before, you might have a few questions about what to expect. Derrick Valenti, wedding planner for the Warwick Allerton Chicago, offers advice for 20-somethings on how to navigate the wedding day like a pro.
Check it out below!
Invitations & RSVP Etiquette
Receiving a wedding invitation is a kind gesture that comes with certain expectations of the recipient. If you are unable to attend, you may simply check the box that says ‘no’ and return to sender. No excuses are necessary. However, if it’s a close friend, you should send the couple a card thanking them for the invitation and a gift.
If you do plan to attend, pay close attention to the name(s) indicated. If just your name is present, only you are invited to attend. A plus-one is allowed if clearly stated on the card. DO NOT call the bride or groom and ask if you can bring a date – be respectful.
At many weddings, guests are asked to sit on either side of the bride or the groom. However, be sure to check with a member of the family. In some cultures, it may be customary for you to sit on one side rather than the other.
At the reception, be respectful of your seating assignment. You may or may not know the other guests sharing your table, but this doesn’t give you permission to sit elsewhere. Your meal choice may also determine your seat placement.
Social Media & Photography
It’s natural for 20-somethings to share significant life events on social media. If the bride and groom have a personalized hashtag, sharing photos or videos may even be encouraged. If you’re taking photos of the big day, it’s important to be conscious of the official wedding photographer. This will help to keep cell phones from dominating all the wedding photos.
Do not assume ceremony photography is allowed. A current wedding trend trend is an unplugged wedding, or a no phone policy during the vows. Be aware of the couple’s wishes and respect them on the day of the wedding.
The Open Bar
Many weddings offer an open bar at the reception venue. This means guests will not have to pay out-of-pocket for drinks. While an open bar is a definite wedding perk, guests should proceed with caution. A good rule of thumb is to drink a glass of water after each alcoholic beverage. Try to act like you’re at a gala, not a college party.
Don’t feel like you have to shell out hundreds of dollars to give a great wedding gift, but you also shouldn’t show up empty-handed. A heartfelt card with a small check makes for a thoughtful present that won’t break the bank. If you don’t bring money, you should buy something on the registry.