I am something of an etiquette zealot. Perhaps you’ve read my rant about fingers, and how they’re not knives. Maybe you’ve agreed with me about the various times it’s annoying (and therefore rude) to say “sorry.” I don’t want to go so far as to call myself an etiquette expert, but, after receiving my Lady Mary Manners Masters Degree, I kind of am.
However, I know nothing about wedding etiquette. Speeches, yes. But not proper weddiquette; I recently arrived at a bridal shower and surprised everyone because I forgot that I RSVP’d “no.” There are so many questions. There’s so much gray area. And all those “what ifs.”
Luckily, Molly Guy, founder of Stone Fox Bride, has all the answers.
Can I wear white?
Never. Unless otherwise specified or instructed, white is for the bride. Do not wear off-white, do not wear ivory or cream. White with florals? Still no. I also highly suggest never wearing anything on your head. No flower crown. Nothing that would suggest that you are trying to take attention away from the bride. It’s not your day.
Dress codes can be confusing — is it better to be overdressed, or under?
You have to tailor it to every different situation. In New York, we can basically go to a wedding in ripped jeans and feel comfortable, but that’s usually not the case. It’s best to err on the side of fancy.
My philosophy when it comes to weddings is: it’s not your day, don’t piss off the bride. It’s a very easy opportunity for you to push someone’s buttons. Just give them what they want!
I wasn’t given a plus one, but I want to bring the person I’m dating. Can I ask if he/she can come?
No. Save for very special, extenuating circumstances, if you don’t get a plus one, you do not ask. Your boyfriend’s plate is going to cost your friend $600. Suck it up and go by yourself.
But I’m in the bridal party! And yeah, I’m single now. But what if I meet someone?
The funny thing about this is that we’re acting like we’re in the age of Emily Post. We’re in 2015! Still, the rigid Emily Post answer to that is, “No, she doesn’t get a plus one unless she meets her soulmate before the wedding and calls and begs the bride.” But we have to think of it in terms of money; a plus one is an added expense.
Also, it’s not going to kill you to go sit by yourself at a wedding. It will actually make you stronger. It’s cool. It’s great. You can meet someone, hook up with someone — you can make new friends. Have fun!
How drunk is too drunk?
When you’re falling all over the place or start crying, you’re too drunk. Don’t make it about you. When the bride says, “I want everyone drunk and having a blast,” she doesn’t want you to get sloppy, embarrass yourself or hurt others. Know yourself and your limit.
You mentioned hook ups earlier. What’s the deal with the bridal party or groomsmen? Are they off limits?
You can do whatever you want. However, when it comes to hooking up with someone related to the bride, out of respect for her, I wouldn’t do it. Get the number at the wedding, and hook up on another day.
I’m in the bridal party and I don’t just casually dislike the hairstyle or dress — I hate it. Can I say something?
It depends. If you have a scar that you prefer to hide, or a body part that you’re extremely self-conscious about, the best way to go about this is to have conversation before she’s chosen the dress.
Bottom line is, it’s not 1951. We’re all autonomous beings with strong minds and morals, so you can say to the bride, “I am so honored to be in this wedding, and I couldn’t be more grateful to be chosen as one of your nearest and dearest to celebrate this day with you. However, I feel really uncomfortable and bummed out about the fact that this dress makes me feel really (fill in the blank),” and then try to figure out a solution.
I think the wedding registry is dumb. All she wants are wooden spoons. Can I deviate?
Normally I would say no, but if you know your friend well enough and you’re positive you know what she’d like, then yes.
I don’t think the wedding registry is dumb, but I can’t afford anything on it.
There’s a website called Zola that allows you to go in on a gift with a group of friends. If you have a friend who’s struggling financially (like Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids), a really nice thing to do is ask if she wants to go in on a gift with you.
And if you’re invited to the bridal shower, the bachelorette, the brunch, etc., you don’t have to bring an elaborate gift to every single one of these events. Get her a really beautiful card for the bachelorette, or bring flowers to the shower. Think outside the box.
What is the number one thing that makes you cringe?
Making the day about yourself as opposed to the couple getting married. It’s a really vulnerable place to be when you’re getting married, to invite all of your friends and family together in one room and expect everyone to get along and not make you mental. You want everyone who’s surrounding you to make you feel comfortable and at ease.
Weddings are not only hard, they can also be very confusing. For example, you may not know if you’re in a Prada Campaign, a Nickelback album cover, or part of a Pinterest board. The “what to wear” part is even harder, but Leandra can help you with that.
Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis.