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Guest etiquette rules to avoid Horror Stories weddings

Milan, May 2023 – The ceremony season is in full swing and with it, the doors to that minefield that every guest must traverse in order to avoid turning the wedding party into a little Horror Story. What are the rules of etiquette for the perfect guest? How to recognise the appropriate wedding dress code?

These and other age-old (and thorny) questions are answered by Elisa Motterle, etiquette trainer, who has made good manners a valuable tool for teaching how to raise one’s standing and add beauty to the world.

Bon Ton of the perfect guest.

Being the perfect wedding guest is not difficult, the rules of bon ton exist precisely to simplify life and avoid missteps.

First of all, it is essential to understand to whom the invitation is addressed. The answer is simple: only those indicated on the envelope, any accompanying persons or offspring should not be brought if they are not specifically invited.

Subsequently, it is important to confirm one’s presence as soon as possible, ideally within a week of receiving the invitation. Forfeiting a few days before the ceremony or, worse, not informing the bride and groom of our absence is a gesture of great rudeness to be avoided at all costs, unless there are serious unforeseen circumstances.

Our wedding present will be commensurate with the number of guests on the invitation, i.e. if I go to a wedding alone I will give a smaller present than if I attend with husband and children. Envelopes with cash or anonymous Iban credits should be avoided, better to choose from the wedding list.

Finally, a small word on social etiquette. We are participating in a ceremony whose main ingredient is love: let’s leave the phone in the bag and actively participate in the party by sharing the joy of the newlyweds. However, this does not mean losing all restraint: no to drunkenness, bare feet on the dance floor, unwelcome toasts.

Wedding dress code: the most common mistakes.

The biggest problem in terms of how to dress at a wedding is not caused by the guests, but by the fact that in Italy it is not customary to state the desired dress code on the invitation. That said, avoiding the most common mistakes is easy if you follow a few simple rules.

For you, here are the points of attention:

Never wear white or very light colours such as pearl grey or ice blue. The only one who shines should be the bride.
Avoid black. For a happy event, black is elegant but for a wedding it is far too sombre. For an evening wedding you prefer navy blue or dark green, for daytime it is better to choose brighter palettes.
Provocative outfits and loud details. Abysmal necklines, killer slits etc. are out of place on a solemn occasion, especially if the ceremony is religious. Similarly, loud prints and excesses of all kinds, from overly pronounced make-up to mile-high heels, should be avoided. Obviously every wedding will have its own degree of formality and style, but in general we avoid being over the top.
Sporty accessories and shoes that are too ‘nude’. Even if it is an informal event, we avoid wearing accessories that are too sporty and maxi bags or shoulder bags. Shoes should also be appropriate for the look, avoiding wearing sandals that are too “nude”, wedges, boots, loafers and all those shoes that are never elegant enough.
For him:

Wearing a dinner jacket. The dinner jacket is an evening dress, and in any case: the risk is to look more elegant than the groom.
Bold colours. With a dark blue or grey suit you will never look out of place.
Brown shoes, sportswear and overly tech watches. As for the ladies, details are important.

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