With weddings come rules. But, "as the wedding guest etiquette changes with modern society a few of the steadfast rules for wedding guests are changing as well," says Amy Nichols, owner of Amy Nichols Special Events and cofounder of the Poppy Group. And with that in mind, here are seven wedding guest rules you totally can and should break. The couple may even thank you.
1. Bringing a Gift to the Wedding
According Jaclyn Fisher, owner of Philadelphia-based Two Little Birds Planning, many couples actually prefer guests not bring a physical gift to their wedding, and would rather you ship their presents directly to their homes, before or even after the big day. "It's one less thing that guests need to bring, and one less thing that couples need to pack up at the end of the reception," Fisher explains.
2. Requesting Songs
Sure, the couple probably provided their DJ with a must-play list, and they probably have a style or genre to which they like to stick. "But that doesn't mean a guest can't make a request of the DJ," says Nichols. "It's up to the DJ to filter that request through the client's wish list to see if it's a fit and to determine when the best time to play that song might be. Remember, it's only a request, and there's nothing wrong with asking."
3. Wearing Black
In the past, wearing black was associated with being in mourning—not exactly the message guests typically want to send to a bride and groom on the happiest days of their lives. "But that school of thought is outdated," says Fisher. "Black is classic, fashionable, and chic!"
4. And Maybe Even White
This has been a non-negotiable rule for eons, and it can definitely be a major horror for some brides. But, Nichols says, "there are actually a surprising amount of weddings that are going all-white, and we're even seeing brides wearing a pop of color and the bridesmaids wearing white." Even if the bride isn't hosting an all-white soirée, "it's pretty safe to assume that white espadrilles or cream-colored linen dresses would be perfectly acceptable," says Nichols. "Just don't wear anything that screams bridal."
5. Choosing a Side
Years ago, guests were ushered to one side of the aisle if they were the bride's guest, and the opposite side if they were friends with the groom. But, "it's no longer necessary for the bride's guests to sit on one side and the groom's guests to sit on the other," says Fisher. "These days, mixed seating is OK. Not sitting on specific sides is a great way for guests to mingle and get to know each other."
6. Enjoying the Extras
Asks Nichols, "Did the bride and groom hire a food truck for late night arrival? Guests may probably be starving from all of that dancing and need to soak up some of the alcohol," so they will most likely dig in. Same goes for an open bar, if you have one. "There is nothing more upsetting to the couple than hearing that only half of the guests they paid for partook in the special surprise they had invested in and painstakingly planned for you," she explains. So guests, enjoy yourselves!
7. Leaving Before the Bride and Groom
Barring a special and planned exit, you don't actually have to stay at the reception until after the bride and groom depart. "With fewer couples planning an official exit and more couples staying on the dance floor until the very last song, it's not expected that all guests stay past the newlyweds," says Fisher. "It is, however, best to stay until after cake cutting."