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  • Writer's pictureChris Mads

The dos and don'ts of wedding etiquette

Wedding season is upon us.

I love weddings, particularly summer ones. What better chance to sit back and enjoy someone else's happiness in the company of family and friends. And maybe a drink and a dance or two. Who knows?

But weddings do throw up all sorts of problems with etiquette, from dress to behaviour. First off I'm going to give you two key rules:

1) Ignore everything Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughan taught you in Wedding Crashers 2) All rules only apply about two thirds of the time. If you're lucky.

But, with that said, here are a few simple pointers to bear in mind

Suits: Grey or blue

There may be a dress code which states "black tie" or "morning coats", in which case follow as appropriate. If lounge suits are an option then I'd advise taking it unless you are familiar with (and in possession of) the other options.

If you are suiting up please stick with grey or blue. Black is depressing for a wedding and I don't care how good Eddie Redmayne looks in a burgundy suit, you probably don't look as good. Trust me.

Ps Ideally a light grey. And only do patterns if you can actually wear them.

Shirts should be simple

White, blue, pink. Solid colour. Nothing else please. It's not the 1980s, you are not on Wall Street. If it is hot then I suggest white. There is nothing worse than chatting to someone and removing your jacket to reveal unsightly sweat patches.

Let your accessories do the talking

Simple suit and shirt? Check. Then you can get yourself a more eye-catching tie, or pocket square. It is a celebration so enjoy yourself. But please don't go too far; make sure the colours work together and don't got for statement tie and pocket square which don't match. You're not a kid dressing up from your dad's wardrobe.


They really are the first impression you make on most people. Black or brown. Oxfords or monkstraps ideally, brogues or loafers if you can carry them off. You'll know if you can. And please polish them.

Arrive on time

Your invite tells you what time the wedding starts. That is what time you should be in your seat and ready to go. Not looking for a parking space. Not racing through the door and saying three quick hellos. In your seat and quiet. Plan to arrive half an hour early and still plan for traffic or delays. It is someone else's day, don't mess it up.

Go easy on the free booze

It's a shame we have to discuss this, but no more than two free drinks before you eat. Remember, you might need a full glass for toasts.

Join in

Don't be the person hiding at the back looking unimpressed. You were invited to join a celebration. The wedding party chose to have you there to taking part is a pre-requisite. Dance, sing and take part in whatever traditions you are presented with. Simple huh? You might even have fun.

Don't be THAT guy

I don't need to explain this. If people are talking about you more than the wedding party then you have done something wrong. Unless you saved someone's life, that's different.

And if all else fails...

Be charming, like Harrison Ford in Working Girl (but don't crash the wedding. Obviously.)

Click on the photos for attribution links

#manners #opinion #style

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