Wednesday 24 April 2019

Seven wedding etiquette rules you absolutely CANNOT break

Don't wear white and for goodness' sake don't announce a pregnancy then propose to your girlfriend during your best man's speech!

Michelle & Gavin Moore for a Real Irish Wedding feature. Picture: Mrs Redhead Photography
Michelle & Gavin Moore for a Real Irish Wedding feature. Picture: Mrs Redhead Photography
Karen Birney

Karen Birney

For most people, 'etiquette' is just basic common sense, and skimming through a list of dos and don'ts before attending a wedding isn't their best use of time at all.

But for others, it seems, there is very much a need to familiarise themselves with how to behave during an occasion they've probably seen more than one example of in their lifetime, and a quick run down of definite don'ts could be well worth a look.

Notepads at the ready, then. Here are seven things to avoid doing if you want to stay on the newlyweds' good side after the big day...

1. Don't propose to your partner during the speeches

One would assume this goes without saying but after the weekend's story of the best man who took his wedding speech as an opportunity to announce a pregnancy and also propose to his girlfriend, it seems some points on etiquette need to be very much stressed.

Don't try to make the day about yourself, this day is for the happy couple and the happy couple alone (lord knows they've probably done, and paid, enough to deserve it). By all means have a heartfelt conversation about the future with your other half in private but ask them to marry you in you own time, and leave the pregnancy announcements until at least a day later.

2. Equally important, don't end your relationship with your partner during the speeches

There's nothing like a friend's wedding to make you feel completely loved up and appreciative of your own wonderful relationship with your adoring partner. Equally there's nothing like witnessing two people madly in love to shine a light on how absolutely toxic or dead-in-the-water your own relationship is, bringing you crashing to the conclusion that it must end and it must end right this second.

Whatever you're feeling, resist the urge to make any major relationship decisions during your friend's important (and expensive!) day. Keep everything light and convivial and out of the couple's way, and deal with your own relationship woes in your own time.

3. Don't wear a big white dress

There are some absolutely stunning white summer dresses on the high street at the moment, and with the blurred lines between bridal and regular occasion wear now a real and genuine issue, that's exactly where they should stay when it comes to weddings. While dress codes have certainly become more fluid concepts for modern weddings (and no, that doesn't mean you can get away with your sweats or sexy Lycra gym gear) one rule remains for the wedding guest wearing white: Don't.

There has certainly been a trend lately of bridesmaids and the mother of the bride wearing off-white, cream or ivory to the wedding, but that issue will already have been well thrashed out between those in the bridal party behind closed doors.

4. Don't just 'bring along' a plus one

Quite a bizarre practise for Irish wedding guests sees people simply 'bringing along' uninvited extras to a wedding celebration and assuming that they can squeeze them in somewhere. These guests are probably unaware of course of the absolute military precision to which weddings are actually planned these days, whereby every succulent centrepiece, chalkboard sign and candy buffet bag has been counted, signed off and registered on a big bride's book somewhere and any changes to the their setting will immediately set off alarm bells in a hairless coordinator's office.

If you haven't been given a 'plus one' on your invites, you're going solo, end of, and don't even think about asking! On that note make sure you RSVP, and do so in a timely matter (eg before the date specified on the invite). Late RSVPs post all sorts of issues that if you're not getting married yourself, you need not know about.

5. Don't take the wedding as an opportunity to air your grievances

Weddings are very much family affairs, and often the only time that members get to see each other for an extended period... usually over a couple of celebratory beverages. They are often also the times when issues that have been bubbling below the surface can come to a head.

Not the time.

Leave your family feuds at the door and do your best to avoid getting into a situation where words are exchanged.

6. Don't post dodgy pics on social media

It seems couples are either displaying personal hashtags for the world and its mother to follow, or they're issuing an outright ban on phones, pigeon carriers, smoke signals and any other means of communication with the outside world during their big day. Whether the wedding is pro or anti social sharing, one thing for sure is there's no need to share any dodgy snaps you might have taken online. Everybody is well aware these days of how an image can go viral, so if anything occurred, funny or otherwise at the wedding, check with the couple if it's okay to share the 'lol's. Perhaps more importantly, don't go posting photos of the bride and/or groom when they're not looking their best. Nobody wants to be mates with that guy.

7. Don't assume your kids are invited

The second-degree burn-inducing hot potato that is 'children at weddings' is one of the most divisive issues when it comes to big day politics. Some people say it wouldn't be a wedding without them, others are absolutely horrified at the thought of them running around among the white linen tables and floral arches unsupervised. Whatever you think of children being invited to a wedding, just don't assume they are if they aren't mentioned on the invite. That goes for babies, toddlers, teenagers and your already-wed children. If their name's not on the list they're not getting in.

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