Monthly Archives: December 2016

Some Mistakes Your Guests Might Make And How to Handle

Even if you have never been to a wedding before planning your own big day, you quickly learn the ins and outs of wedding etiquette. Unfortunately, some of your guests may not be as brushed up on the subject and faux pas, both intentional and unintentional, can happen.

We have pulled together a list of some of most common major mistakes wedding guests might make and give some advice on how to calmly deal with them.

Wedding crashers
If you are marrying at a venue that hosts multiple parties in one night, there is a small potential for cheeky wedding wanderers.

Not all of these stories have the happy ending of the movie Wedding Crashers, some can just be a royal pain, especially when they start helping themselves to your food and drinks.

If you notice a few unfamiliar faces in the crowd and your partner has confirmed it’s not their great uncle Charlie twice removed, you can discreetly ask for the site manager or other attendant to escort them out and ensure they get to the right function.

Not listing food allergies
If you are providing catering or a sit-down dinner as part of your wedding, make sure you prompt guests to let you know if they have any allergies or dietary requirements.

Guests have often forgotten about this, only to complain they are allergic to fish when a salmon dish is placed in front of them at the reception.

Make a note of it somewhere on your invitation or RSVP card so they can let you know well ahead of time.

Wearing white or black
While some brides don’t care about what their guests wear, others have been looking forward to being the stand-out in the gorgeous white gown for ages.

Traditionally guests should never wear white because it is, after all, the bride’s colour.

Black is also traditionally off the table, because it’s associated with funerals.

As a rule, you should just avoid both of those colours, unless they are the base colour for a print on a very non bride-like garment.

Broadcasting the wedding on social media
With every moment of people’s lives being posted on social media for the world to see, it’s no doubt guests will want to tweet, Facebook or Instagram about your wedding.

You may even want to make a note on your wedding website to encourage guests to refrain from posting public comments about the wedding, as they may unknowingly offend others who you were not able to invite.

You could also consider creating a private facebook event where people can post to their heart’s content and ask questions about the big day.

Also, to keep guests off their phones during the big day – particularly the ceremony – you could ask your celebrant to remind them there are professionals who are there to capture the moment, so there is no need for them to be snapping on their mobiles.

Constant calling
When guests are travelling from out of town to attend your wedding, they may unwittingly start treating you like their personal travel agent and bombard you with questions on everything from where to rent a car, to where to stay and what attractions or locations they should visit while they are in town.

You can prevent this by creating a wedding website, where you can include links to nearby hotels, entertainment options and also driving directions.

If there are some technophobes among your guests, you can consider giving them some time over the phone, or printing out some of the material on your website to send to them via snail mail.

Showing up late
Sometimes no matter how hard someone tries, they always end up being late.

But this is really unacceptable for a wedding, where the only person given a green card for lateness is the bride.

If you have friends or family who are notorious for being less than punctual, allow yourself a buffer by saying the ceremony begins at 5.30pm and then planning to make your entrance 15 minutes after that.

For those who are really pushing the envelope and have turned up as the bridal music cues, have someone stationed at the back of the ceremony to help latecomers quickly and quietly find a seat.

Not Sending RSVPs
The number of guests at your wedding is a critical part of planning elements from ceremony seating, table plans, catering and bomboniere, but some guests may fail to see the importance of a punctual response to your invitation.

Seeing the RSVP cards with the invitation (if this is the road you choose to take) may even make them think it’s a novelty rather than a necessity.

To deal with potentially late RSVPs, it’s a good idea to set their due date a week or two before the moment when vendors will need definite numbers.

You might also want to consider putting your mobile number on it as a quick and easy way for people to RSVP. It is much easier to type out a text than to write on the card, find an envelope and head to the post office to buy a stamp and send it back.

You could also place the RSVP a couple of weeks out from when you actually mail them, so guests will feel compelled to reply right away.

On the due date, you can send an email out a private email to the stragglers giving them a new deadline of about 48 hours. Keep the tone nice, but firm, and if they fail to meet that deadline, pick up the phone and give them a call to lock in a definite answer.

Sending RSVPs… with a plus one
This guest has returned their RSVP in time, but have taken it upon themselves to invite a new love or to bring a child along as well.

While you’d love to them to come, it puts everyone in an awkward position, especially if you don’t know this plus-one from a bar of soap.

If your venue or finances don’t allow you to stretch the guest list out by one more person, this is best handled the old-fashioned way. Pick up the phone and call them to explain the circumstances.

All you have to do is politely explain the need for a strict guest list and most guests will understand.

To avoid this from happening, make sure you address the invitation accurately. Instead of the “Jones Family”, write “Sally Jones”, and let your parents, the wedding party and other close relatives and friends know about the tight guest list so they can let others know if anyone asks.

RSVPing – then not showing
It is the height of rudeness to RSVP “Yes” and then simply not turn up. But it does happen.

If you unexpectedly can’t make a wedding, protocol is generally to call the hosts right away to apologize profusely and explain your circumstances. And of course, be sure to send a wedding gift.

This is the ideal situation as the couple will have time to plan ahead.

But if it’s your wedding day and you realise that you have no-shows, let your caterer or wedding coordinator know ASAP and they may be able to re-jig seating plans or simply remove a chair and setting to avoid any embarrassing gaps.

You can contact the ghost guest after the wedding to see, first of all, if they are alright and then to express your disappointment that they didn’t bother to turn up if they weren’t dealing with an illness or emergency.

Giving unexpected toasts
Toasts can be emotionally moving and allow some of your nearest and dearest to share unique memories they have made with you and/or your new spouse.

But those you would like to give toasts are often planned in advance so they have time to prepare something they think will communicate the right message to the newlyweds.

The same can’t be said for someone who decides, on the spur of the moment (perhaps with a few too many drinks under the belt) that they would also like to say a few words.

Many a cringe-worthy toast has been off-the-cuff and you don’t want this to happen to you.

The solution is simple, let your DJ or MC know who is going to be giving toasts on the day and don’t allow them to hand the mic over to anyone else.

If the worst happens and the guest manages to get hold of the mic, gesture to the DJ to carefully start the next song or cut power to the mic.

Buying a non-registry gift
Some guests feel that buying a present from the registry is impersonal.

They might then go out to buy you something that is a little more… original, shall we say.

While this can lead to a pleasant surprise for you, it can also leave you with a gift you will never use. To avoid this, be sure to list your registry and wishing well options on your wedding website and invitations.

But should you receive an interesting gift from Aunty Janice and Uncle Chris, there is only one way to deal with it. Thank them with a heartfelt card expressing your gratitude for them taking a more personalised approach to their gift.

After all, while gifts have come to be expected at weddings, they are most definitely not a requirement of attendance.

Drinking Too Much
It can happen to anyone. Mix a jovial atmosphere with an open bar and suddenly a guest has gone from having the time of their lives to a blubbering mess.

While you can’t limit the number of drinks each guest consumes, you can grant the bartender permission to cut off anyone that’s had one too many.

You can also make sure there is plenty of water on the tables and enough food to help soak up the alcohol.

If you are at any stage worried about the safety of your guest or think they might try to drive home, get someone to call a taxi for them and make sure they get into it.

The Price Of Engagement Ring

How much should I spend on an engagement ring? It’s the wedding world’s equivalent to ‘how long is a piece of string?’ Why? Because, well, there is no single answer, certainly no answer that is 100% correct, 100% of the time.

Tradition dictates that a man should spend about three-months’ salary on an engagement ring but that is a very old-fashioned standard because:
– it isn’t only men who propose these days
– three-months’ salary is no longer realistic or fair, in some circumstances and
– the three-month figure was invented as a marketing tactic by a diamond company.

So, what’s the real answer? How much should you spend on an engagement ring?
Well, the answer is anything you want and anything you can afford.

Let’s face it, your engagement isn’t about how much your ring costs, it’s about your love for one another, but, of course, most people want to propose with the nicest ring they can afford and if you can afford to drop three-months’ wage on a wedding ring, go for it!

But if you cannot, do not put yourself in any financial distress because of a tradition that was invented with the sole purpose of increasing the cost of engagement rings.

Engagement rings are a token of your affection and should be something your partner will love and something that suits their style. Your fiance to be isn’t going to want you to get into debt to buy the biggest, baddest ring on the market, so take your time and save and, if you can’t or don’t want to save, buy what you can afford to buy.

There’s no point forking out $20K on a ring she or he hates and, similarly, there’s no point buying the cheapest ring you can find, just because you think ‘it will do’. You need to find out what sort of ring he or she will like, and wear, and then weigh up what you can afford to spend and then find something in that budget that fits the description.

Perhaps you won’t even be buying a ring. Perhaps, you’ll be passing on your mother’s engagement ring or some other family heirloom, which is, in fact, priceless. What you spend on an engagement ring really is entirely up to you and your bank balance!

So, now that we’ve got the mythology out of the way, how about a few facts?

According to our annual wedding survey, the average cost of an engagement ring is $5,300. Now, that may be three-months’ salary for the person making the proposal, or it may be one week’s! Who knows? That’s just the average cost of an engagement ring in Australia, which means a lot of people spend a lot less and a lot of people spend a lot more, but most people spend around that on their engagement ring.

Of course, the price will also be affected by what your beloved actually wants.
Some women and men don’t want the biggest, brightest diamond in the shop and many don’t actually want a diamond. There are plenty of other gems out there that are just as dazzling.

Not everyone likes to own or wear jewellery and, as such, we’ve heard of couples ditching the engagement ring and going for an engagement watch, engagement tattoo and,
even, engagement pets that they can love together.

Many couples have decided to forgo the engagement ring altogether and put the money they were going to spend on an engagement ring into a house deposit or a travel

The thing about tradition is that it is just what most people do and have done, but that doesn’t mean you have to follow it. Yes, three-months’ wage is the ‘tradition’ but if you can’t afford to spend three months’ wage on an engagement ring, don’t! If you can and want to, then by all means, do so.

It really is up to you what you do spend or don’t spend on an engagement ring. So, happy ring shopping!

Dress Code On The Wedding

Received a wedding invitation and don’t quite understand the dress code? Perhaps you’re planning your wedding and aren’t entirely sure what to write on your invitations? Here’s our dress code dictionary, aimed at helping you decode the dress code.

Why should I include a dress code on my wedding invitation?
Including a dress code on your wedding invitations is a handy way to enhance the tone, theme or mood you want on your big day because your guests will dress according to your wedding’s overall style nicely. It also helps guests decide what to wear by providing guidance as to how formal – or informal – your wedding is going to be.

Just remember, however, while these dress codes provide guidance as to what each style of dress means, that definition looks to the past and is shaped according to what the dress codes used to mean.

Most modern couples – and their guests – are far more relaxed when it comes to dress codes, even at weddings, so don’t expect them to stick strictly to these guidelines because, for example, you can’t honestly, in this day and age, demand a male guest wears a dark-coloured pocket square because you’re holding a wedding with a cocktail dress wedding!

what does jacket and tie mean
Guests at Georgia and Stephen’s big day will know exactly what to wear! Image: Alannah Rose Invitations | Stationery

What are the various dress codes and what do they mean?
Smart casual

smart casual attire for a wedding
The smart casual dress code is the least formal, although, chinos and casual trousers are preferred over jeans.

A smart casual dress code is suitable if you’re holding a relatively informal wedding.

But what is smart casual? The Oxford Dictionary defines smart casual as ‘ neat, conventional, yet relatively informal in style,” so this option provides guests with a very wide scope of clothing choices because it’s all about being smart, without being overly dressy – or overly casual.

Smart casual for women encompasses anything from a neatly tailored blazer and a button-down shirt, to a crisp sundress, as does a pair of smart trousers or a lovely skirt. A classic pair of dress pants or a little black dress, too, would suffice nicely.

Just be sure to add a little flair, if you can, either through some fun accessories or, in the case of, say, a blazer, go for a patterned or satin jacket, so that you don’t wander too far into the realm of business casual wear.

When it comes to smart casual for men, go for casual trousers such as chinos or suit pants. In summer, you could even wear shorts. That’s just plain casual. They can accompany their trousers with a long-sleeved shirt, and an optional jacket and tie. If you must wear denim, go for the stylish, dark blue, tailored type.

If you’re thinking about what shoes go with your smart casual outfit, male or female, you should definitely ditch the runners! Think loafers and brogues and boat shoes – and think shoe polish. Worn-out shoes are, well, a little too casual!

If ever in doubt, opt for the smart part of smart casual, rather than casual!


An example of cocktail attire for men and women. Image: Jessa Kae
Cocktail attire for men does not require a tie, however one can be worn. Cocktail attire for women requires a dressy cocktail length dress. Image: Jessa Kae

A cocktail dress code will, most likely, be applicable if you’re attending a semi-formal wedding.

Cocktail attire isn’t overtly formal and can, therefore, still be a little fun, but is clearly a step above smart casual.

Traditionally, cocktail attire for women was restricted to dresses that were knee-length, however, nowadays any length shorter than an evening dress may be considered cocktail dress appropriate.

Moreover, women nowadays can wear garments such as a chic pantsuit or top and skirt to a cocktail event.

For men wondering what to wear to an event requiring cocktail attire, you’re, generally, required to wear a suit, preferably a dark one in navy or charcoal, accompanied by a white or muted colour shirt and, of course, a tie, perhaps even a pocket square.

If the wedding you’re attending is in the afternoon, you can be a little freer with the colours and patterns of your shirt, tie and pocket square, however, if the wedding is an evening cocktail event, the rule about dark colours and muted tones definitely applies.

Jacket and tie

Tom Ford and Elaine Irwin wearing correct jacket and tie attire. Image: Tom Ford via Facebook
Tom Ford and Elaine Irwin wearing correct jacket and tie attire. Elaine is wearing a pantsuit which is a contemporary option instead of a traditional cocktail dress. Image: Tom Ford via Facebook

A jacket and tie dress code is applicable to a semi-formal wedding.

Jacket and tie is a fairly modern form of dress code which has arisen from the ambiguous world of dress code’s transitioning from traditional to contemporary contexts. The jacket and tie dress code is more formal than cocktail and is very similar to lounge suit as it requires men to wear a suit jacket with a tie, (whereas cocktail infers a tie is optional).

Women may wear a cocktail dress that is shorter than floor-length, a pantsuit or dressy separates to a jacket and tie event.

When it comes to men, the dress code implies the obvious, and therefore a jacket and tie is required. A suit, or a smart blazer and chinos are appropriate too.

Lounge suit

what is lounge suit attire?
Lounge suit attire requires a suit with a waistcoat, and a smart daytime dress for women.

A lounge suit dress code is suitable for a semi-formal day time wedding.

But what does lounge suit mean? Lounge suit is the traditional English way of describing a suit and the loung suit dress code is directed more towards men rather than women.

Men are expected to wear a classic suit, waistcoat, smart shirt and tie, and women are required to wear a dress that is suitable for the daytime. The lounge suit is a contemporary option for those who would prefer to avoid a more traditional form of dress, such as the morning suit.

Morning suit

Morning suit attire Image Brett Harkness Photography
A groom displays correct morning suit attire. Image: Brett Harkness Photography
Morning suit attire for women requires a formal daytime dress and hat.
Morning suit attire for women requires a formal daytime dress and hat.

Morning suits tend to be more directed towards male members of the bridal party rather than the guests, however very formal daytime weddings may require a morning suit dress code. For example a Royal wedding would require such attire; despite what British Prime Minister David Cameron may think, (Mr Cameron famously snubbed morning suit attire and instead opted for a lounge suit at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding).

Men should wear a tailcoat, waistcoat and striped trousers, and women should wear a very formal daytime dress with a hat. Morning suit should only be the dress code for weddings beginning before 4:30pm.


what does a formal dress code mean
The young man wears a tuxedo and the young woman wears a floor-length formal dress.

The formal dress code is located somewhere between cocktail and black tie. For the ladies this dress code requires a short or long formal dress, a pantsuit, or dressy separates, and for men a dark suit, white shirt and conservative tie is appropriate. Men can opt to wear a tuxedo if they wish, as the formal dress code is really another way to describe black tie optional.

Black tie optional

black tie optional wedding attire
Jamie Foxx and his daughter Corinne Foxx dressed in black tie attire, which is fine if the dress code stipulates black tie optional. Image: Golden Globes via Facebook

Black tie optional means that guests are encouraged to wear attire that suits a black tie dress code, but do not have to. Men should wear a dark suit with a shirt and tie if they don’t wish to wear a tuxedo. Women may wear a floor-length gown, or a knee-length cocktail dress, a pant suit or dressy separates.

Black tie

George and Amal Clooney wear black tie attire to the Golden Globes. Image: Golden Globes via Facebook
George and Amal Clooney wear black tie attire to the Golden Globes. Image: Golden Globes via Facebook

Many people wonder what black tie really means, as there are many variations such as black tie optional and creative black tie, (creative black tie is simply black tie with the allowance of splashes of colour and unique accessories).

Black tie is the second most formal dress code and is typically reserved for evening weddings. Despite what its title may suggest, black tie does not mean you must wear black, although traditionally men should wear a black tuxedo and a bow tie. Black tie appropriate attire for women can be an evening gown of any colour.

White tie

Tom Ford White Tie attire
Dressed to the nines: designer Tom Ford in traditional white tie attire at the 2014 Met Ball. Image: Tom Ford via Facebook
white tie attire for women
Olivia Wilde wears a gown that befits the white tie dress code. Her decolletage is exposed, although Olivia has opted to give the gloves and tiara a miss. Image: Golden Globes via Facebook

White tie, also known as full evening dress, is the most formal dress code and is suited to an evening wedding beginning after 6pm. Men should wear patent shoes, trousers with a stripe of satin on either side, a double breasted evening tailcoat with a white shirt, a white waistcoat and white bow tie.

Traditionally, white tie attire for women stipulates that a ball gown which exposes decolletage must be worn. Evening length gloves are also required depending on the event, and tiaras may be worn by married women only. In a modern context, white tie for women requires a ball gown.

Clothing optional

This is the most least used of all the dress codes and is reserved for nudist weddings, and as the name would suggest guests have the friendly option of not wearing clothes at all! Suffice to say a photo example probably isn’t necessary…

Can I be less specific about the dress code?
You don’t have to stipulate a dress code if you would prefer not to, and this just means that your guests can wear whatever they see fit to your wedding. If you want to soften a specific dress code you can make it voluntary, for example by writing ‘black tie optional’. This lets your guests know that black tie would be appropriate, but something equally smart would be acceptable.

What do I do if people ignore the dress code?
Ultimately it is up to your guests what they wear, and having invited them to your wedding, you are unlikely to send them home just because they chose to wear something inappropriate.

The only exception is if your venue has a very strict dress code. If the venue requires jackets and ties for men, ask your father or the best man to gather a couple of spares in various sizes in case male guests turn up in their shirt sleeves. If the venue does have a very specific policy it’s fine to state that on your invitation.