Five myths and a truth: Surprising wedding facts

wedding coupleCan you hear it? It’s the sound of wedding bells. It’s the time of year when many true loves become married.

My husband and I recently attended his nephew’s wedding in Philadelphia. On the plane I met two other people who were flying to attend weddings.  As we gear up for these joyous celebrations I thought it would be helpful to share some interesting and helpful wedding myths and truths.

Myth: Only the bride can wear white

It was believed at one time that if guests wore white it would take away from the bride. But, that has mostly changed. You can wear white, just be sure your dress does not come close to looking like a wedding dress. Avoid wearing a white dress with lace, tulle, sequins, or that is strapless, low cut or is a maxi or full length dress.  If the bride is more traditional, it’s best to avoid wearing white, which could offend her.

Oh, and black is okay to wear to a wedding as well. In fact, I wore a black dress to my nephew’s evening wedding.

Myth: You can’t give cash as a gift

Cash is a great gift. When my husband and I got married we were surprised and touched by how many people gave us cash. It helped pay for the wedding and honeymoon.

When you give money, put it in an envelope or card with your name if you bring it to the wedding. You may also send a check with a greeting card to the couple before the wedding.

Truth: Don’t make a toast until the best man and parents have toasted the couple first

If you’re eager to make a toast, wait until after the best man, any of the wedding party and the married couple’s parents have made toasts before offering yours. Often the best man or another member of the wedding party will invite guests to make toasts at the appropriate time.

Myth: The bride should wear a garter, throw the bouquet and adhere to other wedding traditions

Weddings have many traditions such as the bride wearing a garter that is removed by her new husband and tossed to the men in attendance. Just because it’s been a custom doesn’t mean you need to adhere to it. If you don’t like the practice you don’t need to do it. It’s your wedding. When I think back to my nephew’s wedding I don’t remember anything related to a garter, a bouquet toss, cake being smashed into each others faces or rice being thrown at the newly married couple, and still it was a lovely wedding.

Myth: If you can’t attend you don’t need to respond to the invitation

When you receive an invitation with a response card – you know, the one the couple paid to have printed and has a postage stamp on it – it is meant to be returned, whether you can attend the wedding or not.  Not responding does not mean you can’t attend.  Attending or not, you MUST respond to the invitation. Too time consuming to write your name on the response card and pop it in the mail? Then call or email the couple. Take two minutes to let them know if they can expect your presence. And, if you said you were going to attend, do. It’s hard to plan a wedding, or any event for that matter, when you don’t know who is attending or when people who said they were coming don’t attend after all.

Myth: You can bring your boyfriend or kids

Unless the invitation is addressed to you and a guest, or has your boyfriend’s or kids’ names on it, they are not invited. Don’t ask if you can bring them. The betrothed or their parents have budgets to adhere to and if guests start bringing kids, boyfriends and girlfriends the budget will quickly be blown. Also, weddings are pretty boring for children – they have to sit through a ceremony, reception and a fancy dinner that doesn’t include chicken fingers. Leave them and anyone else who was not named on the invitation home.

A toast to all of you happily engaged couples and well-behaved guests. Wishing you all a stress-free, joyous and enjoyable wedding.

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Arden Clise is founder and president of Clise Etiquette. Her love for business etiquette began in previous jobs when she was frequently asked for etiquette, public speaking and business attire advice by executives and board members. The passion for etiquette took hold and compelled Arden to start a consulting business to help others. Read more >>

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