Attending weddings - a crash course guide

Thursday 22nd June, 2023

June is swiftly approaching. And with it, wedding season.

Statistically speaking, you've been to one before. Probably as a child, probably dressed up in a weird outfit that you hated wearing. But now as you roll into your 20's and 30's- a lot of friends and acquaintances are going to be getting married. Which means a lot of weddings to attend.

If you're going to a wedding, you need to bring a gift. Yes, yes- 'My presence is my present' and all that jazz. But let's face it, do you really want to come empty handed?

The obvious answer of course, is to encourage the bride and groom to make a list on www.thingstogetme.com.

While this might seem a shameless plug (and it is, because let's be honest- we've got bills to pay) it's also a great way to make sure you're getting EXACTLY the right thing. It also means, all of the wedding stuff is in one place- rather than having a John Lewis list, an Ikea list, etc.

Gently steer them to the follow link.


Both the bride and the groom can collaborate on the list- as part of the fun of getting married is arguing about what cast iron frying pan to get, and guests can see if an item has been reserved. That way, they don't end up with half a dozen air fryers.

However, in this day and age, a lot of couples simply want cash towards the honeymoon. This is partly because most couples live together before getting married- and they already have all the "stuff" they need, and also because Instagramable honeymoons tend to be eye-wateringly expensive. The TTGM wedding money funds are a great way to collaborate with other guests to ensure the happy couple have an adequate supply of margaritas.

It also solves the problem of envelopes stuffed with cash sitting around on the gift table all day.

Normal etiquette says that the couple should put a range of items in different budgets on their list. However, if your "friends" have decided to be a bit, say, over optimistic¸ it is perfectly acceptable to go off menu. A nice scented candle, a bottle of wine or champagne, or a photo frame all make good gifts for a newly married couple.

Having decided on a gift- the next step is deciding what to wear.

For blokes, this is wonderfully simple. If you're a groomsman or best man, the bride or one of her entourage will tell you what to wear. Turn up at the suit fitting and then wear the fancy dress outfit they give you. Some couples will pay for the groom's party, others won't. Tradition says they should, but however it turns out just take it in your stride.

If you're not in the groom's party- then just any decent suit, shirt and tie. There are dozens of types out there, but being honest no-one pays too much attention, and if they're looking at some random bloke at the wedding rather than the happy couple, something's gone wrong.

You'll also need a pair of fancy black shoes.

Oxfords are the go-to smart shoe for weddings, funerals, bar & bat mitzvahs or any other formal occasion. You can also get away with Oxford Brogues if you're feeling snazzy.

I'm not going to pretend to know anything about woman's fashion. However, I understand hats are involved. If you're a bridesmaid- you may be asked to wear something horrible. Live with it.

Yes, it is incredibly difficult if the bridesmaids are vastly different ages/sizes/styles- there probably isn't a dress in existence that looks flattering on absolutely everyone, so just roll with it.

Your job as a bridesmaid is to do two things- help the bride pee by holding up the dress (yes, really!), and to not look prettier than the bride. You'll want to look your best, but remember this is her special day.

If you're not a bridesmaid- then you'll want a nice dress. Check with the Maid of Honour on any colour schemes so you don't clash, and for the love of God don't wear white. In fact, steer clear of cream, ivory, bone, or anything else that could possibly by considered white. Unless you secretly hate the bride and want to ruin her day- in which case you probably shouldn't be going to the wedding anyway.

On the day of the wedding- have a big breakfast. The Wedding Breakfast, despite the name, won't be until the afternoon. So that's a long time on an empty stomach, especially if you're drinking. So a cooked breakfast (before you put your fancy clothes on, obviously) isn't a bad idea.

Ironically, the actual wedding itself will be fairly straightforward. Stand up and sit down when you're told, sing the songs if there are songs, and try to look like you're paying attention. If you're feeling helpful, herd guests into position for photos and generally jolly things along. It will be appreciated.

Generally speaking, wait for the couple. Don't dance till they do, don't start eating until they have, and don't remove shoes/jackets in the evening till they have.

And as a final note- don't get too merry. It's a wedding, have fun- but don't make one of the couple's main memories of the day you being sick on Great Aunt Claudia.

Also, keep Great Aunt Claudia away from the gin. She's a nasty bugger when she's pissed.

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