On Wednesdays we talk about weddings….

As a recent bride and current attendee of many, many weddings, I feel like I am obligated to impart my wisdom, observations and knowledge on proper modern-day wedding etiquette. Every Wednesday I will divulge some important wedding rules for not only the bride, but the bridal party & guests too.

First topic: Wedding fashion (of course)

Brides:

I’m not going to tell you what to wear. It’s your day, after all. But what I will tell you is to think about the photos being taken at your wedding, and how those photos will most likely be the one (material) part of your wedding that will live on forever. Your grandchildren will probably see those photos! That pink glitter veil or pair of sparkly Converse sneakers may seem like a good idea today, but just give it a moment of thought for down the road. When you look at your photos in 5, 10, 15 years… are you going to look back and be happy with the choices you made? If you have any doubts at all, rethink it!

Edit:  I’ve been asked to include what the Groom should wear.  Boys, wear what your bride tells you to wear!  Seriously. Usually it’s a black tuxedo or suit.  Sometimes if the venue is right a tan/cream linen suit may be appropriate.  Ties/vests should be black or in a coordinating color to the bridesmaids.  Be sure to get the tux/suit fitted to you appropriately.  Sleeves and pants should be at the correct length, not too short or too long!

My husband and I right after walking down the aisle from our wedding ceremony

Bridesmaids:

Wear what the bride asks you to wear. It’s her day, not yours. Now maybe you have some wiggle room for negotiation if she’s asking you to buy a $500 dress, $200 shoes and then pick up the tab for a bachelorette trip to Vegas, but if the dress price is reasonable and doesn’t resemble something that Little Bo Peep would wear, then just go with the flow. And if she hasn’t decided on dresses yet, a little nudge in the direction of J.Crew’s bridal site won’t hurt.

Dresses your bridesmaids will actually want to wear again!

Guests:

This area tends to be most controversial….

First and foremost, don’t wear white unless the invitation explicitly asks you to wear white.  Also, creams and nudes are pretty much a no-no, however, contrary to traditional beliefs wearing black is OK! Don’t panic if your dress has a stripe of white or a cream flower, we’re talking about full-on white/cream dresses. Weddings are also a great place to embrace wearing color, but if you know the bridesmaids are all wearing teal, maybe pick a different color for that particular event. It’s not a hard rule, it’s just polite.

Dress for the venue. If the wedding is outside in a garden or vineyard, for the love of Manolo Blahnik, please leave the stilettos at home! Wedge heels are a great option for those who want to be able to walk through the terrain gracefully, but don’t want to wear flats.

If you know you will be attending a formal and religious ceremony, please practice some modesty and bring a pashmina to cover your shoulders, at least while you are in their place of worship.   You can always remove it later.

My husband and I at a wedding in June.  The pashmina came in handy for the church ceremony and looked great at the reception!

Do your research and find out how formal/casual the wedding is.  A beach wedding or Sunday afternoon ceremony usually signifies that the event is on the casual side, however an evening wedding in New York City will probably be black tie formal. They say you can never be overdressed, but believe me you don’t want to show up in an evening gown when everyone else is wearing a Lilly sundress.  Now if its a formal affair, “black tie” dressing can be a bit intimidating at first, but with sites like Rent the Runway and Lending Luxury it’s easy to look like a million bucks without paying the high price!

Finally, don’t upstage the bride! The aisle is for HER to walk down, not for you to use as your personal runway. As mentioned earlier, unless the invite specifically says to wear something white, outrageous, sparkly, etc., stay far away from any serious attention attracting items. A well tailored and polished cocktail dress will turn heads without ruffling anybody’s feathers or taking attention away from the bride.