A Guide to Modern Wedding Etiquette

Wedding traditions aren’t always what they used to be. It’s 2018, and not surprisingly, wedding etiquette has evolved and changed over the years. Some traditional elements have remained, while others have been adapted or ditched completely.

If you’re getting married, or you’ll be attending a wedding sometime soon (and you might not have done that in a while), here’s our complete guide to modern wedding etiquette in 2018.

For Guests:

Photo etiquette – unless you’ve been supplied with a wedding hashtag by the bride or groom (yes this IS a thing) and specifically given permission to do so, do not post photos on social media before the happy couple themselves. This is a momentous day in their lives, and most couples want to be first to share the snapshots with the world.

If you are given a hashtag- you should use it when you do post on social media. This will allow the newlyweds to see all the images taken at their wedding- the more picture memories, the merrier.

Finally, stay clear of the professional photographer when taking your own photos! This one isn’t new per se, but with most of the population owning phones with amazing cameras on them, suddenly there’s up to a hundred photographers at each wedding. This is great, however, never obstruct the paid professional.

Dress etiquette – There once was an unwritten dress code forbidding black dresses at weddings as it looked too much like funeral attire. This is no longer the case. Black is a classy, elegant (and slimming!) choice that is usually fine to wear to most nuptials.

What IS still a ‘don’t’ in this department is wearing an ensemble that’s entirely white. This is the bride’s big day, and most will still opt for a white or off-white dress, meaning guests who wear the same can be seen as detracting attention from the bride. It’s perfectly fine to wear some white in your outfit, like a white shirt and coloured skirt, but nothing completely white.

RSVP etiquette – Always, always RSVP. This is good etiquette for anything, even kids birthday parties, but especially for weddings. RSVP should be made in the form requested by the couple in their invitation. It’s rather difficult to plan who is coming and organise seating arrangements when brides and grooms have to check their texts, emails and letterboxes for responses. If the invitation includes a return card, return that. If text or email are advised, follow these instructions. You will be saving your loved ones time and stress.

Also, pay attention to the names on the invitation. If your children’s names are not included, they are not invited. Never assume someone is included simply because they live in your household, wedding invitations are addressed to those who are recorded on the guest list.

Attendance etiquette – If you have been invited to someone’s special day, be honoured. This is a massive chapter in their lives and they want you to join them for the very beginning of it. They haven’t just invited you to the ceremony or the first half hour of the reception. Unless the circumstances are unavoidable, never leave a wedding early or during speeches or other important festivities. Be present and enjoy the entire event with the happy couple as they intended you to.

Privacy etiquette – Got a problem with the wedding plans? It’s not really your big day, so problems for you as a guest should be minimal. However, we do now live in a day of social media and airing dirty laundry to the world, so it’s important to be mindful of privacy etiquette. If the bride or groom (or both) have offended you with their plans, don’t slap it all over Facebook and Twitter. Talk to them personally, either via phone or in person. Most issues are easily resolved with open communication and don’t require commentary from friends, family and strangers.

For the couple:

Gift Etiquette – Things have changed from the days when wedding gifts would set a new couple up with the necessities of life. Most couples now live together before marriage and typically, couples are marrying later. This means that come time for the actual wedding, you’ve already got the toaster and the kettle and the tablecloths.

In 2018, it’s perfectly ok to politely ask your guests for a monetary gift instead, however, it’s still considered polite to inform the guests what you will be purchasing with the money received. For example, you could let everyone know you’re saving for a home deposit, a new car or a honeymoon. Some couples are quite creative nowadays and have cool wishing wells set up for collecting cards with money in.

Invitation Etiquette – Here’s some traditional etiquette that’s lasted the test of time- invitations. Emails and text messages have replaced the humble hand written letter in general, however, a paper wedding invite is still considered the classy way to go. There’s some wonderful businesses that can help you construct custom invites, or with modern apps and computer programs even the average artist can DIY a design that’s just fine.

Expenses Etiquette – Tradition says the bride’s family covers the cost of the wedding, modern wedding etiquette is more equitable. With the rising age of persons entering their first marriage, it’s becoming more common for the couple themselves to fund the wedding expenses. Often both sides of the family offer to contribute, and gone are the days of fathers of daughters having to mortgage their homes to pay for expensive weddings (think Steve Martin in ‘Father of the Bride’).

As you can see, in the world of weddings, some etiquette has changed and some has remained constant. Whether you’re about to be a guest or a bride or groom, keep politeness and consideration in mind. This is a big deal and one that should be shared with all those you love, enjoy the moment and don’t sweat the little things.

Now that the unwritten rules of etiquette have been explained to you (in writing), if you’re planning a wedding and looking for an amazing rustic wedding venue, without the wedding price tag, give us a call at Buttai Barn on 0409 459 269 or download our comprehensive wedding package brochure here.