common wedding guest questions

Say “I Don’t” to a Wedding Faux Pas

Thoughtful tradition or wedding faux pas? When wedding season is here, the difference between a beloved custom and good taste can become blurred. Jamie Field, owner of Jamie Field Events weighs in on how guests can be considerate before and after the wedding. Make sure you, as a guest, know the truth about these common wedding guest questions.

Do you bring a gift to an engagement party? 

“Yes you do. It can be something small, from the registry or not, but not as big as the wedding gift.”

When guests receive an invite, when should they respond? 

“A reply is expected on or before the requested response date on the invitation.  It is important to be courteous and comply so the wedding is planned to properly accommodate the number of guests.”

Another tip on “RSVP”— 

Many people in today’s society do not respond to an invitation when they see RSVP. This poses a problem for a host to adequately plan. In short, RSVP is French for: ‘repondez  s‘il vous plait’ meaning please respond. That means…the invited guest must tell the host whether or not they plan to attend. It does not mean to respond only if you are coming. And it does not mean only respond if you are not coming (that is for ‘Regrets Only.’) So, next time you receive an invitation with RSVP, make sure you reply Yes or No by the requested date.”

Is it “OK” to wear black or white to a wedding?  

“Generally, yes it’s OK.  Historically, it was frowned upon to wear black to a wedding because black is traditionally connected with mourning and has been thought to convey negativity to the bride and groom. Adding colorful accessories like a scarf or jewelry is a good idea. However, there are exceptions in some cultures where black is not permitted. You also need to consider the bride and her personality.”

If you cannot attend the wedding, do you send a gift?  

“Yes, it is the proper thing to do. There are still some etiquette guides that say one year from the date of the wedding is OK to send a gift. That is an archaic belief probably from when mailmen traveled by horse. My personal belief is within three months of the wedding. Put yourself in the bride and groom’s shoes. If you receive a wedding gift a year later, how would that make you feel about the person who sent it?”

What if the invite doesn’t include a “plus one,” can someone request to bring a date? 

“Unless you are married or engaged, absolutely not!”

How do guests decide what to wear if it is not included on the invite? 

“Options: 1) Ask the bride or groom. 2) See if the bride and groom have a website. 3) The location can tell you what to wear. Is it outside at the beach? On a farm? Or at the Ritz Carlton? 4) Is the invitation formal or informal? Dress according to invitation style.”


Jamie Field

Jamie Field has been in the event planning business for over 25 years. Prior to starting her own event planning company, “an affair with jamie, inc.” in 1991, she served as Alumni Relations Director for Washington University in St. Louis and planned events for Nationwide Singles Cruises. With a high demand for her event planning services from others, and long before event planning was a widely recognized industry, Jamie turned her alumni relations profession into her own successful event planning company in the early 1990’s, with Washington University as one of her top clients.

This article appears in the July 2015 issue of SpaceCoast Living.
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