6 Outdated Wedding Guest Rules You Do NOT Have to Follow

You know all those formal, fancy-shmancy rules your parents or grandparents taught you about weddings? Good news: Some of those outdated and weird expectations are no longer relevant. If you’ve heard these rules before, you can forget ’em.

wedding Guest rules
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1 Your gift should cover the cost of your plate.

A few decades ago, you were expected to show up with a check that essentially paid for your dinner at the wedding. Nowadays, this rule is so not realistic. You should give a generous gift, but basing the dollar amount on the cost of dinner isn’t necessary. Plus, it’s hard to gauge the price of the plate — some couples splurge on steaks, while others keep it simple with a buffet. Just give what you can and what you feel is appropriate.

2 You should only buy a gift from the registry.

Some people think that the registry is a shopping list. Not the case! Think of it more like a wishlist. While a gift registry can make buying a great gift super easy, there’s no rule that you have to pick something from it. However, if you feel strongly about gifting a sentimental or handmade item, you absolutely can.

3 Sit on the correct side of the aisle.

Traditionally, guests of the bride sit on the left side of the aisle during the ceremony and the groom’s guests go on the right. But more and more nearlyweds are nixing this notion and encouraging guests to mix and mingle. Not to mention, there isn’t always a bride and groom!

4 All single guests must participate in the garter or bouquet toss.

This is a tricky one. Some say you should join the crowd of singles and show a little enthusiasm, even if the tradition isn’t really your thing. But if you really can’t bear it, we say it’s okay to simply stay at your table, head to the bar, or strike up a conversation with someone. What NOT to do? Don’t go awkwardly stand on the outside of the group pouting.

Outdated Wedding Guest Rules

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

5 Women shouldn’t wear black dresses.

We all know that you shouldn’t steal the bride’s thunder by wearing white, but did you know an old rule suggests guests shouldn’t wear black, either? Black used to be seen as a way to protest the marriage. Of course, these days black is a universally accepted color that looks great on everyone, and you can’t go wrong with an LBD. You can lighten up the look with some fun accessories.

6 Men should always wear suits or tuxes.

With casual weddings becoming more and more popular, a suit isn’t always necessary. Look for clues on the invitation: If it says something like “Backyard Chic” or “Semi-Casual,” you’re clear to wear something slightly less formal. Slacks and a button-up are always safe. No matter how casual the event is, don’t wear jeans — at least break out some khakis!

Find more wedding guest advice on Loverly:

6 Totally Okay Reasons to Skip Someone’s Wedding

How to Decode the Dress Code for Every Wedding

8 Problems Only Wedding Guests Will Understand