Celebration hacks: Wedding season etiquette

Dos and don’ts for the I Dos

Wedding season is nearly upon us, ladies. For brides, that means you’re hunkering down to fine-tune guest lists and book hair and makeup. Guests, you’re probably eyeing off the pile of pretty invitations as RSVP dates loom ever closer. In the age of wedding hashtags and Facebook invites, people can sometimes forget what’s required of them as either the people getting married or the lucky guests attending. We’re not here to reinforce archaic traditions; consider these our survival tips for the modern wedding season!

RSVP in the method asked of you

Some couples still love to send you the gorgeous paper invitations with an RSVP card included. In this situation, sending a text will not do. If you’re provided with an email address to RSVP to, send a short email with your yes (or no). However they ask you to respond is how you should do it. Remember, they’re keeping track of a lot of guests, so make it easier for them! Also, seeing the bride at Friday drinks and saying “By the way, I’m coming to the wedding!” doesn’t cut it.

Know the plus one deal

If your invitation doesn’t say “and guest”, do not bring a guest, and don’t make things awkward by asking if your new Tinderfella can tag along. Couples have to factor in the cost of every single person they invite. If you have a long term partner, it’s expected that they be included in the invitation. If you’re single or just started seeing someone and it’s not serious, it’s perfectly normal that you don’t get a plus one.

Gift it right

Engaged couples, you’re perfectly within your rights to provide a gift registry. Guests, it’s a good idea to follow this, as often couples already have a lot of things once considered a good wedding gift. For example, if they’re living together, they’ve probably got a toaster! Gift cards and cash are totally acceptable wedding presents too. And it’s common practice to have a wishing well or similar to hold cash gifts at the wedding – but brides, don’t think you won’t get any physical presents. People love to give presents, so let them!


Respect the couple’s wishes

If they ask that you don’t take photos during the ceremony, don’t. Leave it to the pros they’ve hired. Trust us, your smartphone snap of the couple’s first kiss will not be as good as the photographer’s expert shot. And when walking down the aisle, the bride wants to see the smiling faces of her loved ones, not a bunch of arms holding phones up!

In the same vein, if a couple makes other requests, it’s important to respect them. If they choose to have a child free wedding, arrange a babysitter or ask if the couple can recommend someone. If they don’t want photos on social media until the following day, don’t post. Understand that this is their day and they’ve put a lot of thought into how they approach it.

The art of the thank you note

It’s polite to thank a couple for having you at their wedding. Obviously you’re special enough that they wanted you there on their day; the least you can do is send a nice thank you note or email (a text is fine if they’re more casual people or you have that sort of relationship). And couples, it’s very important that you thank your guests for attending, especially if they brought a gift. You can hand write and post your thanks on pretty stationery or send well-written emails – as before, it all depends on who you are and who your recipient is. But however you choose to do it, you must thank your guests, and personalise the message with a comment about the gift they gave you. It may seem outdated in a world of instant updates, but it’s polite, and the personal thanks is appreciated.

A lot of the old “rules” of weddings have gone out the window, such as the bride’s parents having to pay for the whole thing. But there are some things that are still the politest course of action, such as RSVP-ing, and not wearing white if you aren’t the bride. Remember, you’re a part of the couple’s special day, so respecting how they want to do things is the best way to ensure everyone enjoys themselves.


Hanna Sloan is studying a Creative and Professional Writing degree at QUT. She grew up wanting to be either a writer or a professional dancer, or both. Nothing has changed. She is passionate about performance, fashion, and social progress, and is a confirmed #NastyWoman. Hanna is the proud curator of a shoe collection surpassing sixty pairs, and always thought Andie Anderson in 'How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days' was crazy for not wanting to write about shoes for a living. In her spare time Hanna can be found devouring a book or magazine, watching 'Friends' or asking her parents for Snapchats of the family’s two beagles.