What is Wedding Etiquette?

When it comes to weddings, like many significant events, we find that everyone is different… and what’s more, ‘the big day’ is a wonderful opportunity for couples to express themselves and their style. That said, the concept of tradition is never far from weddings, and you may find that couples, their family, friends and guests can ‘come to the table’ with certain expectations – that can be incorporated, or not. Weddings as events have never been so customisable and non-traditional but undeniably there are some ‘rules of etiquette’ in place that guide the approach of couples themselves and their guests to certain factors throughout the day.

If you’re lucky enough to be invited to a wedding – you might find yourself asking ‘what is the etiquette’? While this might be anything from what others expect from you, what is polite, what you’re comfortable with and more in between, etiquette need not be an overly formal or restrictive factor, but you may find yourself guided by some popular ‘dos and don’ts’, whatever your role in the celebrations.

For the majority of guests at a wedding, your job on the day is to turn up and enjoy. Unless you are part of the wedding party or have been assigned a task, you’re there to celebrate the day and the love of your friends; they’ll want you to relax and have fun, but etiquette still applies to guests – ways to, and not to, behave at such an occasion.

Here’s some considerations we still believe are relevant to even the most modern or non-traditional of weddings:

Dress the part

What to wear is a common consideration when attending a wedding and can range from strict black tie, to ultra-casual, to a specific theme. If there are any ‘special instructions’ to work to, chances are the couple will have made you aware, perhaps on the invitation. If that is the case, do your best to meet the brief if you can. If that’s not the case, and you’re not sure what’s best, a good rule of thumb is to dress semi-formally. Some simple and well-known (for good reason!) ‘no-nos’ include, unless you’re advised otherwise, not wearing casual clothing like jeans and avoiding white/ivory/off-white dresses to prevent any potential clashes with the bride or wedding party. Take a look through our stunning range of wedding outfits for some inspiration.

Attendance and arrival

A lot of work goes into planning a wedding and chances are the couple have spent a fair amount of time considering guest list, budget, and more – it is extremely helpful to couples that you play your part. If you’ve received an invitation, we’d suggest RSVPing as soon as you can and remember: letting your friends know you are NOT attending is as important as confirming that you are. Invitations should specify which parts of the day you’re invited to, as well as whether plus-ones and children, are welcome – every couple’s preference and budget will be different – but bringing extra people or arriving early unexpectedly on the day is always to be avoided. Respect the wishes of your friends, arrive on time and enjoy the day.

Sharing the fun

Photos are a huge part of an event like a wedding and there will be no shortage of them after the day. If you snap your own during the afternoon or evening, be mindful that the couple may not wish for them to be shared on social media straight away, especially of elements like the dress, cake, decorations, venue etc which they may wish to ‘reveal’ themselves later, or that guests attending for the evening may wish to see only once they arrive. If you’re unsure, or have not seen any specific guidance, we’d suggest holding off for a day or two – or at least until the end of the evening – to be safe.

Be positive!

A wedding is always intended to be a joyful occasion and you have been invited along to join in the celebrations. The day itself is the time to be happy and positive; while you may have views or opinions on some aspects of the wedding – perhaps you don’t agree with marriage, have had a hard time with love, would have chosen a different venue, menu or dress, or perhaps even one of the couple is not your favourite person – today is not the day to make those opinions heard. There will always be time for a ‘debrief’ later – show your support and love for your friends in the moment.

What does the mother of the bride wear?

Once the boundaries of tradition and convention often constrained choice when it came to fashion at a wedding. Pastels and shades of beige were the order of the day for the mother of the bride or mother of the groom, as each was required to express an elegant subtlety to reflect attention towards the glowing bride.

But times have changed. More than ever, a bride’s wedding day is an individual celebration of her personality, the nature of her relationship with her partner, and the influences of friends and family on her life to that point. This has opened up many more opportunities for a freedom of expression that allows everyone at the wedding to have a greater sense of being themselves and to express themselves, particularly in what they wear. This has allowed the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom to break free from those reserved shackles and really strut her stuff.

Of course, you’ll still want to strike the right tone, so before you start shopping, take some time to really think about what is going to suit you and the sense of occasion in this most special of life landmarks. Start to understand the plans in place for the big day, as these are going to shape some of your decisions. What time of year is the wedding taking place? Is the wedding breakfast in a hotel, in a field or on the beach? How are you travelling to the ceremony and then on to the reception? What are the colour schemes of the wedding and what will the bridesmaids be wearing?

Working out the answers to all of these questions will start to help you determine what type, colour and style of outfit will prove to be the best fit. Once you are armed with this information, it’s never too early to start your shopping search. Naturally, with any wedding there will be plenty of things on the jobs list the closer you get to the big day, so anything you can plan early is a benefit. Equally, the earlier you start shopping for your mother of the bride outfit, the more choice you are likely to have. Seasonal collections change and you don’t want to see the perfect outfit and then be panicking as you wait for stock to come in. Also, the sooner you have your outfit in the (shopping) bag, the more time you will have to find the perfect accessories to complete the look. And there is no need to worry about any last-minute tweaks to your outfit, as the team of seamstresses at The Wedding Shop will ensure you look and feel at your perfect best on the day.

So what should you actually be looking for to get the right look for you? In this day and age you can certainly be more daring, rather than continuing on your search with just one colour in mind. The wedding day of your son or daughter is a landmark occasion and a moment to celebrate, so try not to feel a compulsion to play it safe. Shop with an open mind and don’t be afraid to look at bolder colours or patterns, even if that means stepping out of your usual comfort zone.

Shopping in store with an experienced team like the one at The Wedding Shop, you will find helpful advice and exactly the expertise you need to point you in the right direction of the perfect outfit. Our team can remember countless times when a gentle push to try something different resulted in a joyful surprise as a customer suddenly discovered ‘the one’.

Not only will our team be able to offer tips and advice on the styles and colours that might work for you, but they will also talk you through making the right choices to ensure you stay comfortable throughout the day – making sure you are ready to dance the night away rather than desperate to kick your shoes off.

Whatever outfit you choose, you will be wearing it all day – and it’s likely to be a long and emotional day full of fun and laughter. We will help you find that balance between looking stunning and feeling comfortable. When you try on different outfits, particularly those that end up on your shortlist of

possibilities, take a moment to understand exactly how the outfit might feel to wear for the whole day, and make sure you try sitting down.

We understand the need to make you feel relaxed and at ease as you try on different outfits. This might not always be easy with other members of the wedding party around. While it is nice to get some advice from those closest to you, it can be quite daunting to be the centre of attention, particularly if shopping with other people around is an unusual experience for you or if you are lacking in body confidence.

Having dressed thousands of mothers of the bride and groom over the years, Suzy and her team know exactly how to make women feel amazing from head to toe, and completely spoilt as they take the time to pick out the outfit for them. Our experienced assistants will dress you to flatter all body types, whether introducing a stylish jacket to conceal arms or find the perfect dress length and style to suit your shape, so browse our collection online now or book an appointment at our store.

Make Your Dress Shopping Experience Amazing with The Wedding Shop!

Congratulations! You’ve set the date, booked the venue and now comes the really fun part… choosing your wedding dress.

Even just the thought of booking an appointment and stepping through the doors of a bridal boutique can be pretty daunting and cause a few sleepless nights, never mind actually making a decision on what dress everyone will see you in on your big day! Here at The Wedding Shop we want to instantly calm you nerves and make your experience special every step of the way.

From the moment you book an appointment, whether on the phone or through our online booking system, you’ll feel at ease and excited about visiting our store! Our talented and friendly team of consultants are some of the loveliest girls you will meet and are passionate about helping you find a dress that wows and when you walk down the aisle, you are wearing a gown that not only looks sensational but makes you feel amazing and confident.

Your first visit to us is all about luxury and being made to feel like the most important person in the room. We are dedicated to making your time with us as special and enjoyable as your wedding day! You’ll be greeted by your own bridal consultant who will look after you and your bridal party for an hour and a half. You’ll be taken to a stylish fitting room and comfy sofas where your consultant will get to know you and your needs for the wedding day, from your favourite designers, budget and time frame, then show you our beautiful gowns where she will help you choose a selection to try on. Remember that our consultants help brides-to-be’s find their dream dresses every day, so relax and trust their suggestions and be prepared to try on the occasional wild card!

You may feel most nervous about stepping behind the curtain and trying on the actual dresses. Many ladies worry that the dresses may not fit, if they are wearing the right underwear and fret about losing weight, but please bear in mind that our dresses are all sample sizes and it’s ok if they don’t fit just right. Your consultant is a pro at nipping, pulling and helping you visualise how the same dress would look in your size using clips and clever tricks. Plus, once you’ve tried on a couple of our dresses you will soon feel like you are with a friend shopping.

When you’ve found The One and toasted your decision with a glass of fizz and taken plenty of snaps with your bride tribe, we’ll go through the ordering process and explain exactly what the months ahead will involve. This is the perfect time to ask lots of questions and make sure you are 100% happy about signing on the dotted line. Once your dress arrives in our shop, it never leaves the shop and we will store and insure it for you too, so you don’t have to panic about finding somewhere to keep it or hide away from your fiancé!

We also offer an in-house alteration service so your dress can be tweaked and fitted to perfection. Our fantastic team of seamstresses have many years of sewing experience and working with brides and are here to make sure you feel totally wonderful and without a care in the world when you step into your dress on your wedding day. Your dress will be quality checked, fitted, altered to your specifications and customised if you would like, whether it’s extra sparkle, new straps or a gorgeous lace jacket, we will work with you to achieve the look you’ve been dreaming of. We’ll also steam your dress ready for collection on the week of your wedding day.

After your incredible ceremony, the reception and hopefully a well-deserved honeymoon, we want your gown to be stored and treasured perfectly, so we offer a specialised cleaning service for your bridal gown all year round that can be boxed beautifully afterwards. We feel honoured to be part of your journey and hope you will remember your experience from start to finish with a smile and for many years to come!

Ready to come and visit us and feel the magic? We can’t wait to meet you so book your appointment today by calling 01206 767359 or book online at theweddingshop.uk/book Saturdays and Sundays get very busy at TWS, so booking in advance is always advisable.