Why it's never okay to wear white to a wedding - and 9 other rules to abide by
It's Victoria Beckham's universe; we just live in it.
That certainly seems to have been the former Spice Girl's thinking last weekend. At the wedding of footballer Sergio Ramos and his fiancée Pilar Rubio, Victoria stood out in a white midi dress from - where else? - her own collection. 'Stood out' is putting it mildly: the society wedding had, by all accounts, a very strict dress code and 'specific' colour scheme. Guests were reportedly advised against wearing red, orange, green, white or pink. Vic's white dress was teamed with hot pink shoes; a sartorial two-fingers if ever there was one. Wearing white to a wedding has long been considered a no-no, footballer's nuptials or not. But it being the season that's in it, it's also pertinent to remember a few other ground rules as a guest:
Please log in or register with Independent.ie for free access to this article.
1 Don't arrive empty-handed
The unspoken premise of an Irish wedding is that the married couple gets a gift from you, and you get fed and watered. "Most couples nowadays would have a wedding list and it really is about whatever you feel comfortable spending," says Orla Brosnan, CEO of the Etiquette School of Ireland (etiquetteschoolofireland.com). "As a rule of thumb, a cash gift is around €200 per person, but it really is about what you can afford."
2 Don't bring an unexpected guest
Whether you're there all day or just nipping into the afters, bringing a plus-one (unless it's been specified beforehand), is a serious no-no. The wedding couple might be the most easygoing and casual pair ever, but any sort of deviation from the plan, puts the newly married couple on edge. This goes doubly for children. If it's an adult-only affair, don't presume that your gorgeous bundle of joy will pass muster. "If you get an invite with just your name on it, don't presume that you can invite others," says Orla. "That said, your significant other should always be invited too."
3 Don't hog the bride and groom
The bride and groom have a lot of people to press the flesh with over the space of an afternoon and evening. They may be someone you've not seen in years. They may be the only person you know, or even like, in the room. But that doesn't mean you can monopolise them.
4 Don't get fussy about the beef or salmon
It's perfectly fine to have dietary requirements, once the happy couple is advised of them well in advance so that provisions can be made. Declaring your commitment to the vegan/paleo/5:2 lifestyle at the champagne reception isn't likely to go down well. "Generally there is a vegetarian option but add a note when you RSVP about any allergies or requirements," suggests Orla.
5 Turning down an invite
Perfectly acceptable wedding etiquette - around 41pc of those surveyed by One4All admitted to responding to a wedding invite with regrets. There's no need to give a reason or make up an excuse if you're declining an invite. "The fact that you were considered for invitation should be acknowledged so generally I'd suggest to get a small, token gift if you can't make it," says Orla.
6 Remember whose big day this is
Ergo, no big pregnancy announcements, no getting down on one knee to propose to your own partner during the first dance, no dramatic breakups, no sparking up family feuds, and so on. The bride and groom have probably paid enough to ensure that all eyes are on them.
7 The dress code
Whatever about doing a Vicki B, there are many ways to contravene the rules. Keep an eye for a dress code on the invite: 'black tie' means 'black tie' and not 'sure, boho might work'. If you think there's a chance your sparkly headpiece runs the risk of upstaging anyone, leave it on the hanger.
Equally, erring on the side of casual is strictly for boys under seven. "If you're the mother of the groom, your hat should never be bigger than that of the mother of the bride," explains Orla.
8 Get into the spirit of things (but not too much)
Fine, you think that weddings are a part of patriarchal society that no longer hold any relevance blah-de-blah-blah. Even if you disapprove of the institution, the dress, the groom or even the dessert wine, having a demonstrative huff and being a bit above it all is verboten. Sometimes it's not easy to be a guest (hello, single girls being asked about where your non-existent 'fella' is), but be polite and don't get into it.
"There are basic things to remember: be on time, don't heckle during speeches, and be supportive of the couple in general," says Orla. And while the temptation may be there to drink the day away, just remember that the day will be over quicker than you think.
"And, even if your 'fella' is still at large, your own wedding day will probably roll around eventually, and you can be as rule-making (or breaking) as you like.