You can time the arrival of spring to the arrival of wedding invitations. The most popular months for weddings are June, August, September, and October, according to wedding website The Knot. Regardless of if you’re attending one or ten weddings this year, you need to come prepared. If you don’t, you risk making an embarrassing faux pas. Here are 3 questions all wedding guests need to be asking.
Where Are They Registered?
If you’ve read the invitation three times and still don’t know where the spouses-to-be are registered, then don’t panic. Wedding etiquette says it’s bad form to write something like, “Bonnie and Bobby have a wedding registry at Target," directly on the invitation. However, go back and look inside the envelope, since the couple may have added a slip of paper that directs you to their wedding website. That’s considered perfectly acceptable, because it’s more subtle. It may seem like a weird distinction to you, but most couples don’t want to come across as greedy gift-grubbers. Appreciate that impulse.
If there’s no wedding website URL, then you’ll have to do a bit more digging. Ask other wedding attendees what they’ve heard about gifts. They may say, “Oh yeah, they’re registered at Macy’s.” They might also say, “They don’t want any gifts, but they’d love for guests to give donations to their favorite charity.”
What if the couple spreads word that they would prefer to give cash gifts? That’s a tough subject that still divides people. You may have no problem writing a check for the couple to renovate their house or even hire a swimming pool contractor in New Jersey, but some traditionalists will no doubt be upset. Do whatever feels right for you and let other guests follow their own moral compass.
What’s the Dress Code?
The dress code can vary depending on the couple’s preferences, as well as any possible venue requirements. If your friends are getting married in a park in the summer, then look for wedding guest dresses that are cool and comfortable while still being stylish. But if the couple wants you to wear specific colors to match their theme, then try to accomodate that to the best of your ability.
But what if the wedding is being held at a swanky country club or historical cathedral? In that case, then you need to proceed with a bit more caution. It’s helpful if the invitation gets specific about what they mean, with terms like “white tie,” but not every invitation will do that. If you’re confused, one of the best things to do is talk to the other guests and see how they interpreted the language in the invitation. If you still aren’t sure, you can pick one of two options. The first option is to simply ask the bride or groom what they have in mind, but if that feels too daunting, then it’s better to risk being overdressed than underdressed. You don’t have to show up in a full tux and tails, but make a little extra effort if you aren’t quite sure what to expect.
What Food Will Be Served?
The common expectation for a wedding reception is that you’ll arrive and either get a sit-down dinner or line up at a buffet. But more and more couples are opting to save money on their reception by serving appetizers and cake. That’s their right to do so, but they also need to let guests know what’s going on so they won’t show up expecting a full meal.
The invitation will often ask you to select a meal preference on your RSVP card. If it doesn’t, that means you should do a little more research. Next time you see someone who's in the wedding party, just say something like, “Can’t wait for the wedding! Any idea what we’ll be eating at the reception?” If you keep it light, then you should get the answers you need without offending anyone.