Wedding etiquette changes with the times and trends. Couples now send out eco-friendly invitations through email, complete with a power-couple tag for Instagram. The rules are getting rewritten every day as couples switch up the traditional.

But what about guests? How does this impact the etiquette of showing up at the wedding, and how are you supposed to know all these new rules? Don’t worry and check out this guide to wedding guest etiquette redefined.

  • You Can Wear White Accents to the Wedding
  • Some brides-to-be shun the traditional white gown that’s been popular since Queen Victoria’s wedding, so why not allow guests to show up in a little white to symbolize a new beginning for the couple? How do you know if it’s OK?

    Guests shouldn’t be afraid to include white in an outfit overall. Especially if the bride’s wearing a different color, you can go for a little white. Just make sure white doesn’t symbolize mourning in the culture of the bride or groom. That doesn’t mean you can show up in a white wedding dress of your own. Many brides still hold true to the tradition of wearing white.

    You Can Wear Black, Within Reason

    People usually reserve black for funerals and other formal occasions, but everyone looks so good in black! Why not wear it?

    Don’t show up head-to-toe in black, unless your couple leans goth, but there’s no harm in wearing a cute black dress and jazzing it up with colorful accents or a subtle floral print.

    Guests Can’t Dictate the “Right Way”

    In this eco-friendly, health-wise and animal-conscious age, everyone expects their niche to get covered and their glass filled. However, guests should remember it’s best to leave their assumptions at home. Your mother-in-law has an opinion about your hair and weight, and your third cousin has flip-flopped her diet again, on the day of the wedding. Where does it end?

    Inviting everyone your parents ever knew boosts the odds of unexpected issues. Don’t feel out of place at your wedding. Pay someone to coordinate the day. You can make it your special day by planning everything early on, and that’s that.

    Don’t Posts Photos on Social Media Before the Bride

    With great technology at weddings comes great responsibility. Nowadays, couples encourage guests to whip out their phones and use that power couple hashtag. You get interesting candids as a result, but you don’t want to post unflattering candids of the couple.

    Never post wedding photos on social media before the bride gets the chance to post hers and make an announcement. Just enjoy the wedding.

    Never take or post photos of children at the wedding without permission from the parents. In the age of over-sharing, many millennial parents want their children to have a life as free from social media as possible while they grow up. Who wants their kid to be a meme? What’s worse is: Who wants some creep stalking their kid?

    Guests Excuse Themselves Quietly from Non-Preferred Traditions

    While the old rule of attending the full ceremony and the party still holds true, its counterpart of “thou shalt participate in all the wedding traditions until your feet fall off or you weep” are not as essential to many couples today.

    Many brides understand it’s no fun getting shamed into catching the bouquet or garter because they were once there. Bouquets were once sachets of herbs and spices meant to ward off evil, but now peonies and gardenias do the heavy lifting. Don’t be afraid of the flowers or what they imply!

    Guests should know their bride. If the tradition is especially important to the bride, be a good sport and participate. If you feel the walls closing in, don’t make a scene. Quietly excuse yourself from the non-preferred tradition with a later explanation if needed. Make yourself inconspicuous, which means not sticking out like a sore thumb on the sidelines.

    Get out while you can with proper manners, so you and the bride save face. Don’t ditch a tradition while it’s happening.

    Answering Invitations as Requested

    While most prefer not to leave a carbon footprint, wedding invitations are beautiful keepsakes. Instead of getting judgy, answer the invitations in the form the couple requested. If that’s by snail mail, don’t text the couple. If it’s via RSVP email, log into your email account and respond.

    Not responding as requested just makes the couple’s special day more difficult and frustrating because someone must chase down and organize all those rogue RSVPs. Never wait until the last minute to respond, and don’t ignore the invitation. All that can offset the entire budget. If you can’t make it, still RSVP properly, but also consider sending a gift in your place.

    Changing traditions for couples signal a shift in modern etiquette for guests who attend the wedding. While some classics remain, such as only the bride wearing a white dress, many other traditions that don’t make any sense get left behind. One thing is certain: The day belongs to the happy couple.

    Content written by Kacey Mya