Replying to the invitation
After you receive the invite, which is usually 6-8 weeks ahead of the wedding, don’t let it get lost on the table.
Check the date of the wedding and refer to your calendar to make sure there is nothing else happening on that date, then decide if you can attend. Respond to the invite as soon as you can as the couple will need to know who’s coming so they can let the caterer know.
If you reply late you are just adding to the planning stress of the couple, so try to avoid this.
Preparing for the big day
Preparing for the big day is important as the last thing you want to do is to feel rushed and flustered before the wedding.
Travelling to a wedding that is far away means extra organising such as booking your accommodation earlier.
By arranging where you are going to stay early it will save you stressing about it just before the wedding and will save you quite a bit of money as well.
You could always incorporate the wedding as part of a spa weekend break with your partner too. Even if the wedding ceremony and reception is quite local, you can still book a room for the night of the wedding so you don’t need to worry about driving or how you are going to get home.
It is commonplace for guests to put a bit of extra grooming effort in for big occasions like weddings.
In the build-up to the day it is often the case that the bride will enjoy luxurious beauty treatments, but this doesn’t mean the guests can’t.
Guests could consider facial treatments as they can make you feel and look great as the different treatments will help work wonders to hydrate and exfoliate your skin.
Men also need pampering and there are lots of grooming treatments for men; from facials to massages and even specialist grooming experiences.
Use fake tan ahead of the wedding
GoHen.com, the popular hen weekend organisers, recommend female guests to replenish their tans. You could try a St. Tropez spray tan at a Champneys city spa for an instant summer glow or use your favourite instant tan at home.
They add, “After a fabulous hen weekend hopefully you’re already looking tanned and lovely. If not it might be a good idea to make sure your legs have some colour for all those wedding photos (they’ll be around for a long time!).”
Consider getting your nails done
Attending a wedding gives guests (both male and female) the opportunity to get their nails done.
There are many hand and nail treatments available for men and women, whether just to help your hands and nails look and feel conditioned, well-groomed and healthy, or to add a statement colour. You could try our Jessica Deluxe Geleration Gel Overlay Manicure or the Jessica 50 Minute Manicure.
The Beauty Editor recommends women in particular to skip fancy designs and instead go for something more wedding-appropriate.
“So skip the fancy designs, the shatter, the glitter, and just go for a solid-colour mani-pedi (not necessarily matching, however). Since we're talking summer here, I'd avoid anything too dark, like black, navy or even deep red.”
Buying a gift
Buying a wedding gift can sometimes be tricky, especially if the couple hasn’t been clear on what they need.
GoHen.com believe that it is the thought that counts rather than buying a really expensive gift for the sake of it.
GoHen.com, says, “The pressure of buying a gift can be really tense. How much to spend? What will they already have? How many toasters is too many? With wedding gifts it really is the thought that counts. There are some wonderful personalised gift ideas online that don’t cost the earth so go for something memorable and personal rather than feeling obliged to spend more than you’re comfortable with.”
Blue and Gold Personalised Star Map Print
The Blue and Gold Personalised Star Map Print from Notonthehighstreet is a beautiful star chart print that is personalised to depict the stars, planets, and constellations at the exact moment and location of the customers choosing.
This means guests can personalise a star map to represent the day and time of their friend’s wedding and the text underneath the map simply states the location of your choice, for example, St Michael’s Church.
Kim, from the specialist wedding blog The Wedding Community, explains why giving money as a gift is a great idea.
She says, “Most couples these day don’t have a wedding gift list as they have lived together for a number of years and don’t really need another toaster. It’s the ‘done thing’ now to ask people to give money rather than a gift. Some couples will set up an online registry where you can select your gifted amount to them, or an amount towards their honeymoon or a particular item.”
A photo from the hen party or stag do framed
GoHen.com recommend guests who went on the bride’s hen party to get a photo of the group framed, “Get the hens together for one last surprise. After all these are the bride’s closest friends so why not have a photo framed of everyone at the hen weekend to give her.”
This is also a great idea for male guests who went on the groom’s stag do as it is a gift that they will really appreciate and can put on show in their home.
Set of Six Fern Design Champagne Saucers
If you are attending a special friend or family members wedding and you want to treat them, then the set of six engraved crystal champagne saucers from Notonthehighstreet are a great wedding gift idea. The set, which is a reproduction of a 19th century English design, is hand-blown and hand-engraved and can be used for champagne or cocktails. The glasses are great for newlyweds celebrating their recent marriage, but they can also be used by the couple when they host events at their home.
Other gift ideas
If you would prefer not to give cash or the aforementioned ideas wouldn’t suit the bride and groom, then there are lots of other wedding presents you can get them.
The Wedding Community’s Kim, adds, “Sometimes a bottle of Prosecco is a perfect gift. Or how about making the couple something if you are crafty. Another lovely idea is to plant up a lovely planter that the newlyweds can enjoy in their garden.”
What you could wear
So, you’ve sent back the RSVP, booked the accommodation for the evening, bought a gift for the bride and groom. Now it's time to hit the shops and look for the perfect wedding guest attire!
Of course, you will want to look your best, and there is no better excuse for splashing out on a swanky new outfit than for a wedding. However, tread with caution as there is the small issue of wedding guest etiquette to bear in mind!
It’s best to check the instructions first
Wedding Hand, a website that shares the latest wedding news and trends, describes why it is vital for guests to check the invite.
“First thing’s first. What does the wedding invitation say? If not on the wedding invitation, the couple may have added more details on their wedding website, so be sure to check this before you leave the house to avoid any un-cool mistakes.
“For example, women should generally not wear white as you may run the risk of not only upstaging the bride, but even worse, being mistaken for her! On a completely practical level too, white can be a hard colour to keep clean. Many wedding insiders say they have witnessed some memorable wardrobe malfunctions while working at weddings; involving red wine, tomato soup and mucky children, amongst other things. It’s enough to make you want to wear a boiler suit or bib.”
However – there is a lesson to be learned here as Kieran from Wedding Hand explains, “One Wedding Hand subscriber recently added to their website that the women should avoid navy blue and gold. The wedding was a Great Gatsby theme and she chose a website template and colour scheme to match the theme perfectly. Any female guests assuming that white was the colour to avoid and opting for blue and gold may well have had an issue on their hands.”
Consider wearing something timeless
We all have to walk that fine line when it comes to deciding what to wear to a wedding, but GoHen.com suggests wearing something timeless.
“Dress will be dictated by the invitation. A good rule of thumb though is to go for something timeless. There’s nothing wrong with showing off your summer tan but make sure you do it with taste and of course nothing that takes attention away from the bride and groom (even if you are single and think that this will be the wedding when you meet your own Mr or Mrs Right).”
What is meant by casual?
Evening guests can afford to be more relaxed. However, even if the dress code says ‘Casual’, it’s probably best not to turn up in jeans, t-shirts and trainers.
The experts at Wedding Hand, add, “Men should think more along the lines of chinos, a smart shirt without a tie and brogues; and women should opt for something along the lines of a smart top, crop trousers and sandals.
“If in doubt, go smart, you can always dress down as the day unfolds, removing any accessories, ties or formal fascinators.”
Shop in the sales or buy something you can wear again
If you buy a new suit or a new dress and then purchase a wedding gift you will be horrified at how much you have spent, but weddings really don’t have to be expensive.
Kim from The Wedding Community explains how guests can avoid shelling out large sums of money on their outfits.
She says, “Don’t worry, you don’t have to splurge (unless you have the cash to). There are so many high street stores that have sales on all the time so you are certain to find a real bargain if you shop around. You can always save money and find something lovely from the back of your wardrobe (the people from work who saw you wearing it two summers ago aren’t going to the wedding, are they?!)
“Or, buy a dress that you can wear again and again. Could you find a dress to match shoes you already have? Do you really have to have the lippy to match?”
The ceremony & day
Pack an out of town bag
Far too often we pack a huge out of town bag with things that we actually never end up using when all we really need are just a few things.
Alison, who runs the Plans & Presents Wedding Blog, suggests some things you should pack, “Fill the bag with things like bottled water, a sweet treat, paracetamol for the delicate heads and travel size toiletries.”
Consider taking a spare pair of shoes
GoHen.com recommend all-day guests to take a spare pair of shoes for later on in the day. They say, “We’re not just talking about our love of footwear but making sure you have a change of shoes. Weddings are long days and by the evening those feet can start to feel quite sore so have something flatter handy so you can really enjoy the dance floor.”
This tip can also be used by male guests as sometimes smart shoes, especially new ones, can look good with a suit, but be quite uncomfortable once you start dancing, so it might be worth bringing some smart shoes that have already been worn in as back up.
Get to the ceremony early
A wedding is not like a party where you can be “fashionably late”. Instead, it is generally considered that guests should get there around 30 minutes before the time that is stated on the invitation. Getting there early will also ensure you get a good seat!
Never consider ditching the ceremony and just showing up for the reception as you’ve been invited as an honoured wedding guest to watch the couple tie the knot.
There may be a receiving line and this is your opportunity to have a quick chat with the newlyweds, but don’t spend too much time in the line as there are other friends and family members who will want to speak to the happy couple.
Once you are asked to take your seat try to speak to everyone on the table and not just the people you know. The couple will have chosen people they think you will get along with so don’t be afraid to speak to them.
When it comes to dancing after the meal, don’t be afraid to join the married couple after their first dance.