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Wedding Etiquette for the Gent
The summer is almost upon us, and we’ve covered how to look your best at summer weddings in not one but two articles. We thought it would make sense to revisit some wedding etiquette as well, which will be helpful if it’s been a while since you’ve attended one - for many of us it will have been at least one year.
Before the wedding
Respond promptly. If you’ve ever been part of wedding planning (or been married yourself) you know that nobody loves a “last minute guest.” You are making the couple’s lives easier (and yours too) by responding as soon as you can.
If the invitation specifies “John Smith and guest” you can bring a guest. If the invitation says, “John Smith and family” you can bring the kids. If the invitation just says “John Smith” you cannot bring a guest. Keep in mind that couples are often planning seating arrangements and catering based on these responses so don’t throw them off by bringing someone they didn’t invite or plan for.
Plan Your Outfit
Previously dress codes were often mentioned on wedding invitations, though that is less the case anymore. If a dress code is not explicitly mentioned, a Gent should always strive to be better dressed than the average attendee without calling attention to himself.
Without a dress code to guide you, look to the location and venue to for clues. If it’s a church or a ballroom, the dress is going to lean formal. If it’s a barn or a beach, less formal. Don’t bother the bride and the groom about these things (they’ve got their hands full). Check with the venue or with people in the bridal party if you need some suggestions about what to wear.
Wedding days can sneak up on you - don’t forget to schedule a visit with us, even if it’s not on your regular cycle. It’s not just about looking and feeling the best for yourself, but for the wedding ceremony and reception, of which you are a part.
Arrive On Time
When it comes to the ceremony, you want to be there early. If the wedding starts at noon, that means the wedding party will be walking down the aisle at noon. You should be there 30 minutes early, in your seat, relaxed.
This is not the case for the reception. If the reception starts at 6pm, don’t show up before 6pm.
Be Sparing with Photos
Very often there is going to be a professional photographer employed by the couple to grab the best pictures. This doesn’t mean there’s a ban on photography, but a Gent doesn’t want to be part of a distracting group of people constantly with their phones out as if they were at a concert. Sneak a discreet picture here or there, if you’ve got a great angle. Otherwise, leave the phone in your pocket, relax, and be present.
Give Space to the Couple
The couple have their hands full trying to spend a few minutes with each guest, some of whom may have come from much further distances than you. Therefore, don’t go up to the couple's table unless you’ve been invited. They’ll come around to see you, no doubt.
Stay for the Couple
You weren’t invited to a dinner party or a dance party, so you don’t just get to eat, do a few Electric Slides, and leave. The couple have invited you to share the beginning of their new lives together. Honor that with your presence and stay as long as you can. That will help keep the vibe of the reception going for everyone else and gift to the couple one of the most meaningful presents of that day: your time.
Do you have a tip you would add to this list? Share in the comments below.
About Ben Davis
A serial entrepreneur, Ben Davis is founder of The Gents Place and a leading investor in gentlemen's refinement and confidence.
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