(StatePoint) Even before the pandemic, wedding etiquette was tricky. After a year like no other, the dos and don’ts around “I do’s” and being a good guest have become even more complicated.
Some protocols remain true. Do RSVP quickly. Don’t be late to the main event. Others are less clear. Should you send a gift for virtual ceremonies? What’s the best way to greet others at in-person events?
Hilton, a global hospitality company that hosts thousands of weddings annually, encourages travelers to make new memories and reconnectthis summer. And to help you maintain perfect wedding guest status, they’ve partnered with international etiquette expert Diane Gottsman to provide these tips:
1. Put a stamp on it: Even if the invite says you have months to respond, it’s best to reply within one week. Waiting too long is a sign you are hesitant.
2. Dress to impress: Let the suggested attire on the invitation or couple’s website be your guide. Still unclear? Reach out to the hosts. As a general rule, dress up rather than down to show you put thought into the event. Finally, don’t wear white. It’s reserved for the bride.
3. Honor air hugs: “Everyone has a different comfort level with closeness right now,” says Gottsman. “Pay attention to non-verbal cues. If someone reaches out for a handshake, hug or fist-bump, reciprocate if you feel comfortable. If you’re not ready for physical contact, offer another friendly gesture, such as a heartfelt nod. It’s okay to pull back, smile and say cheerfully: ‘I can’t wait until I feel comfortable with hugs; I’m just not there yet.’”
4. Know posting protocol: Unless the couple guides you otherwise, “They get the right to post the first photos on social media,” says Gottsman. If they encourage you to post at will, it’s A-OK to share your snaps. Use provided hashtags and remember that the official wedding photographer and videographer get first dibs on great shots.
5. Stash your smartphone: Use your phone to take photos, but once you’re done, tuck it away. It’s potentially distracting for you and off-putting for others.
6. Get accustomed with other customs: Before attending a wedding incorporating cultural customs unfamiliar to you, do some pre-nuptial prep. “Every culture has different customs,” says Gottsman. “Knowing how to dress, how to gift and what to expect is the responsibility of a good guest.”
7. Connect with courtesy. If staying at a hotel with friends and family, keep courtesy top-of-mind. For instance, if you booked connecting rooms through Hilton’s new Confirmed Connecting Rooms by Hilton option, “Think about how often you’ll spend time together and when you’ll keep the connecting doors shut and open,” says Gottsman. While you and your roomies may embrace the up-all-night slumber party vibe, nearby guests may not. Keep the volume down and the fun contained to your cozy cove of connecting rooms.
To book two or more connecting guest rooms ahead of a wedding or summer reunion trip, visit Hilton.com/ConnectingRooms.
8. Duck debate: “Conversation will no doubt turn to hot topics, like politics, religion and vaccines. A gracious guest will make every effort to steer clear of volatile debate,” says Gottsman.
9. Give comfortably: The first etiquette rule: send a gift, even if you can’t make the event. The second: don’t feel pressured to give more than is comfortable. Gone are the days when guests are expected to cover their per-head cost. Not sure what’s appropriate? Follow the registry. Cash and checks are great alternatives as well.
10. Get glam for the cam: Attending virtually? Grab the suit instead of sweats. “The same courtesies apply,” says Gottsman. “RSVP swiftly, dress for the occasion, arrive on time, show your smiling face and send a gift. Even if it’s virtual, a wedding is a celebration and time to reconnect.”
Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton