While every couple should have a wedding in the style and level of formality they desire, there’s always a chance that more lavish, formal celebrations are unfamiliar to some of the guests. Perhaps you grew up in laid-back coastal California and your college roommate was raised in high-society Manhattan. Or maybe you are from a small Midwestern town and your husband’s cousin is a Southern belle who had a debutante ball in her youth. Receiving an invitation to an event that is more opulent than which you are accustom can be intimidating. You may think you know how to act and behave at weddings until you are set to attend an affair that you’re confident costs more than your childhood home. However, there are plenty of methods to follow in order to avoid committing an egregious faux pas.
Use the invitation as your guide. The wording is a good indication of how formal the wedding will be, as is the actual design. A multi-piece invitation suite with laser-cut details is likely to be more lavish than a simple card with casual phrasing. If the invitation itself does not list a dress code, check the wedding website. Often details that didn’t fit on paper can be found online. Still no luck? Sometimes couples use customized attire guidelines like “California Formal” or “Comfy Semiformal” and leave guests confused. As long as it’s not on the big day itself, it is completely acceptable to call a bride or groom to ask for a better idea about appropriate attire.
Oftentimes you will hear the advice that a wedding gift should cover the cost of your plate at the reception. Do not worry about this. First of all, how would you know how much the couple is spending? It’s certainly not polite to ask! Second of all, guests should be invited because their presence is desired, not because the newlyweds are hoping for more gifts. However, it is proper to bring a present, so just make sure it’s what you can afford. Empathetic and kind people generally understand that not every one of their friends and family members is of the same economic status.
Overall, while you should pay close attention to proper etiquette when attending someone’s luxurious nuptials, don’t stress out so much that you forget to have fun! This could be the fanciest party you ever have the privilege of attending – make the most of it and enjoy yourself.