The Knot On Wedding Etiquette

When you’ve been invited to share in someone’s special day (be it a friend, sister, or second cousin twice removed), choosing chicken or beef on the RSVP is just the first of many decisions you’ll be asked to make (not to mention the easiest). Our Social Correspondent Allison sat down with The Knot for the answers to all our wedding-guest woes.

Allison: How much should I spend on a wedding gift for a not-so-close friend?
The Knot: It depends on your relationship, what you’re comfortable spending, and your regional area, but a good rule of thumb is $75 to $100.

Allison: And for a close friend?
The Knot: It depends on the same things, but a good rule of thumb would be $100 to $150+.

Allison: What if it’s a destination wedding? Since I’m spending money on a ticket, is it all right to spend less on the gift?
The Knot: If you’re spending a good amount to get to the wedding, then it’s okay to gift less than you normally would.

Allison: Would most couples rather receive something off their registry or cash?
The Knot: It’s up to you and what you’re comfortable with. But, if you’re going to give a non-cash gift, make sure it’s from the registry. They created it for a reason and you should stick to it.

Allison: Is there any nice way to decline a request to be a bridesmaid?
The Knot: If you have to turn down the offer, let the bride know immediately. Offer to play a smaller role in the wedding – maybe read a special ceremony passage or help out at the reception guest table. As a true friend, the bride will understand if you have other obligations or financial difficulties, and it’s better to say no than to say yes out of obligation and end up being a disappointing and undependable bridesmaid.

Allison: If I’m going to more than one shower for a bride, do I need to bring a gift to each?
The Knot: If you’ve already attended a shower and given a gift once, you can always give something smaller from the registry or something more personal to you and the bride.

Allison: If I’m running late to the ceremony, is it better to slip in late or miss it entirely?
The Knot: If you’re outdoors and can easily sit in the back, then it’s okay to slip in late. But if it requires opening the church doors or something that would make noise, then you should wait for the end of the ceremony and when you hear the music for the recessional, just stand nearby and be ready to applaud.

Allison: Do I need to send a thank-you note to the bride’s parents?
The Knot: It depends on how traditional the wedding was, your relationship to the entire family, and if the bride’s parents paid for everything. If it was a black tie wedding at The Plaza, the bride’s parents paid for the whole thing, and you’re close with her family, then it’s very nice to send a quick note. If it was a more casual, modern event, the bill was split, and you just met the parents for the first time, then it’s not necessary.

Allison: Do I need to wear a floor-length dress to a black tie wedding?
The Knot: No, black tie means guys should wear a tuxedo if they have one (if not, a black suit with shined dress shoes is good). For girls, it simply means you should wear cocktail attire or dressier. The length can be anything from mini (nothing too risqué) to knee- or floor-length, but it should feel fancy. Think sparkles, satin fabrics, and heels.

Our The Knot Presents: STYLE. I do! Boutique opens Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 11AM ET.


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