Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Wedding Wednesday: Q+A with Etiquette Expert Myka Meier

Wedding Wednesday: Q+A with Etiquette Expert Myka Meier
A few weeks ago, I shared with you all that I was going to have the amazing opportunity of interviewing Myka Meier to ask her wedding etiquette questions! I asked you all to send in your questions and Myka graciously answered (sooo many of them!!!) If you are not following Myka, she is a MUST. She is so smart, gorgeous, and brings me so much joy on Instagram. On top of that, she shares the best etiquette tips and is always so stylish.

Myka Meier is British-American based in NYC and was trained by a former member of The Queen's Household. Myka is also the author of Modern Etiquette Made Easy and the founder of Beaumont Etiquette.

Myka’s book Modern Etiquette Made Easy is available to pre-order now!

How do you dress for a wedding if a dress code is not listed?
Myka: Gosh, that’s a risky (or you could say trustworthy!) move of the couple :) Because it gives free range to come dressed however a guest would like. If no dress code is listed, while you should always “dress to impress” to show respect to the couple getting married, try matching the outfit to the venue, location and season of the wedding.

For instance, if it’s in a church in February, I would wear a conservative dress in a wintery fabric, color shade or pattern. If I were attending a beach wedding in May, I would wear a flowy dress with a bright color or summer pattern.

Black tie means floor-length gown, correct? Why do I see guests show up in cocktail dresses if the dress code is black tie?
Myka: Black tie refers to one of the most formal dressing occasions to mirror the formality of the event you will be attending. Black tie is post-6pm. For women, it means a floor-length gown and for men a tuxedo. Not always do people know what different dress codes actually mean, and while you can’t help what others wear, you can always make sure you are dressed to code.

Is it OK to wear black to a wedding? Can the MOB or MOG wear black?
Myka: It is technically okay to wear black to a wedding, however, I have to admit I never have as a guest. I think it would be more typical to see in an evening black tie wedding and less appropriate for a wedding that was a summery day wedding for instance. The MOB and the MOG may wear
black too, however, I always recommend for the parents of the couple to run by their choices ahead of time just in case the couple has a specific dress code for their bridal party or people who have roles in the wedding.

What should a man wear to a wedding that is ‘cocktail attire?
Myka: For men, I recommend a suit with a tie. The only time a tie is not recommended for cocktail attire is if the venue/location or the couple is extremely informal. Shoes should be either polished leather, suede or similar. If you don’t wear a tie but want to dress up the look a bit, try a pocket square which adds a bit of a festive look

Is there a correct method for adding a plus one? Should everyone get a plus one?
Myka: If I couple did not extend a plus one, then it’s not recommended to ask for one, as it could put them in an awkward position. Couples may not have extended a plus one due to budget or even space restraints. If you are not invited with a plus one (which will clearly state on your invitation), then it’s up to you to attend or politely decline.

If you are the bride or groom getting married and are deciding who gets a plus one, where possible, I would recommend inviting anyone who has a serious significant other, if they live in the same household with their significant other, or if it’s a destination wedding so they have someone to
travel with (and often use their valuable vacation time to attend). I do not believe the rule “no bling, no bring” should not apply to modern wedding etiquette, because people may have long term partners without being married. If you do not extend a plus one for whatever reason, make sure there are a good number of other people invited to the wedding without plus ones so there is not one or a few lone people without someone to mingle, sit or dance with.

If you are given a plus one but do not have a steady boyfriend, is it appropriate to bring a friend or should you go alone?
Myka: It’s totally up to you! If a general plus one is extended to you, it’s your choice who you bring! The couple likely gave you one because they want you to come, have fun and enjoy…no matter who it is you choose to come with! You also may decline to bring a plus one and see who else there is
to mingle with at the wedding – your call!

If you are invited to a wedding but are unable to attend, do you still have to send a gift?
Myka: Yes. A gift is a gesture of gratitude to being invited to the couple’s
special day!

If you are invited to a bridal shower but are unable to attend, do you still have to send a gift?
Myka: I always recommend sending a small gift as a gesture for being invited, as you are likely a close friend if you have been on the invite list. It will be disappointing for the bride that you are not there, so by sending a little something in advance of, or on the shower day, it will definitely bring joy!

How long do you have to write thank-you notes as a newly married couple?
Myka: You should send out a thank you note within 2 (or max 3) months from when you return from your honeymoon, assuming you go directly after your wedding; You have 2 weeks following an engagement or shower to send out thank you notes for any gifts received there

How long do you have to give a gift to a newly married couple? I’ve heard the rumor is up to a year, is that actually true?
Myka: I would never recommend waiting a year to send a wedding gift, as by that point it seems as though you have forgotten. I advise sending a wedding gift ahead of the wedding day or bringing one to the actual wedding reception.

Is it appropriate to invite your boss to your wedding if you only see each other at work and have a professional relationship?
Myka: While it’s completely up to you if you want to invite your boss, you do should not feel the need to invite a professional contact to your wedding, as it’s a very personal day. I personally would not invite a boss that I only had a professional relationship with, as they may feel awkward not knowing many people and you may not feel relaxed either. If you invite one person from work, even if it’s your superior, other people at your workplace may be offended if you don’t invite them too…so it can be a slippery slope! If it ever comes up that work colleagues were not invited, you can simply explain that you kept it very intimate and only had close family and friends. I did this at my wedding, as although I loved so many work colleagues and bosses at the time, it would have been too many people to invite them all, and I didn’t want to leave anyone out.

How do you politely respond when someone asks if they can bring a guest to your wedding when you did not give them a plus one?
Myka: Have a line prepared so you don’t get caught off guard if someone calls and asks you! You could explain in the end it was just a numbers game, for example: While we wish we had the space to allow everyone to invite a guest, unfortunately, we had restrictions that didn’t enable us to give
everyone attending a plus one. We do hope you are still able to come, and if so, we have a really fun table you will be at!”

I’ve heard a rumor that the gift you give the couple for their wedding should be similar in cost to what they have spent per head on the wedding. Is this true? If not, what is an appropriate amount to gift the bride and groom?
Myka: This is an age-old rumor that I feel should be ignored. There is no way to possibly know how much was paid per head at a wedding :) Instead, I would advise sticking to gifting a gift that mirrored your relationship with the couple. For instance, you would spend much more if you had a close
tie to the couple versus someone who was a distant friend. On average, most guests will spend between $75 and $150 on a wedding gift in America.

What should I do when I properly addressed my invitations and yet I still get RSVP cards RSVP’ing for others in the household that were not invited? Ex. Parents assuming their children are invited when they are not.
Myka: If this happens, you should contact the person directly (or have a wedding planner write an email to the person who sent the RSVP) as soon as you receive their reply. In this case, politely explain you have decided not to have children at the wedding. You could write in an email
“Dear Aunt Joanne, We are so looking forward to you and Uncle Jack coming to our wedding
in Florida and can’t wait to celebrate with you! While we miss Amy and Jess so much, sadly the wedding is adults only. We have however arranged with the hotel to supply a number to a local babysitting agency if you still plan on bringing them down for the weekend.”

Is there a way to let guests know that children are not invited? I know that you can properly address an envelope but sometimes people do not understand that.
Myka: For my wedding, we chose not to have children attend and explained up front on the wedding website which people were directed to on our Save the Dates. We wrote something along the lines of “While we love your little ones dearly, we have chosen to have an adult-only wedding and reception. If you choose to bring children for the weekend, here is a link with insured and licensed babysitters in the area XX.”

If I receive wedding gifts months before our actual wedding, should I be sending thank you notes right away or after the actual wedding?
Myka: If you have the time, yes! That being said, it’s often so hard leading up to the big day, that you may not have the time. You also just may choose to do so all in one go post-wedding. I chose to write some of mine on the 9-hour flight to my honeymoon and sent them as soon as I got home! You
should never feel pressured to send a thank you in the weeks leading up to the wedding, as everyone understands how busy you are. Just be sure to send the thank you letters within 2-3 months of the wedding date and maybe start with the ones that were sent earliest first. Writing thank you letters can feel overwhelming, so you can do them in batches!

Is it appropriate to bring a gift to the wedding? Lately, I have been noticing that everyone sends a gift beforehand and no one brings gifts to weddings anymore. What is the most appropriate option?
Myka: Avoid bringing gifts to a destination wedding or to a wedding where the couple will have to carry the gifts back a far distance. If this is the case, you can ship directly to their home and bring a card to the wedding which explains there is a wedding treat waiting back at home for them. I like to do this, as sometimes I think it’s nice to walk in with something special on the big day! Nowadays with easy shipping methods, it’s very common to send the gift direct to the home, but some people still choose to bring a gift to the actual wedding reception. There is usually a gift table set up upon entering where you can place cards and gifts.

I live in Ireland, when am I able to remove my fascinator at a wedding?
Myka: Hats and fascinators are considered to be styled as part of an outfit and therefore you can wear them indoors. You can wear your fascinator throughout the entire wedding ceremony and then take it off before you go in for the reception or once you are seated for the reception if it’s indoors…as dancing and eating is much more comfortable usually that way! Also, remember fascinators are for day attire and not to be worn past 6pm.

I’ve received a bunch of gifts for my shower and for our wedding that we have received before our actual wedding. Is it OK to use these gifts before the wedding?
Myka: Lucky you! Yes – go ahead and enjoy! Unless it’s a monogrammed gift with your new initials or marital monogram (think new hand towels), you would those gifts only use after the wedding. I received a gorgeous Kitchenaid mixer ahead of my wedding that I used endlessly until the big day!

Do you have to ask your fiancĂ©’s sister to be a bridesmaid?
Myka: Technically speaking, you don’t have to invite any specific person to be a bridesmaid, not even your own sister if you wished not to. That being said, if you feel like it would be hurtful to your new family and sister-in-law, you may want to weigh out the pros and cons. For my wedding, I had a big wedding party and did invite my future sister-in-law, because I wanted to show unity with my new family. Now if you plain just don’t get along with your future sister-in-law, you shouldn’t feel like you have to have her standing up there next to you, at the end of the day, it’s YOUR day!

Our RSVP date has passed, and we still have not received some responses. Is it OK for us to reach out to find out if they will be attending our wedding? 
Myka:Yes! I would highly encourage you to do so, as what if someone didn’t receive the invitation as intended- eek! If the RSVP date passes, I would give it at least a week and then start. Some people send out the RSVP on the last day when they realize it’s due and it takes time to go through the mail. Just a friendly email will do “Hello Sarah! We are so excited for our big day and hoping we get to share it with you. I wanted to write to see if you were able to make it and if so, if you had any dietary restrictions? Sending love and hope to see you soon!” I don’t think you should ever point out they missed the RSVP date, as it may embarrass them and they will likely catch on when they receive your email anyway.

I know you shouldn’t wear white to a wedding, but how light of a color is OK to wear to a wedding? Example: is it OK to wear blush pink or champagne? The colors are very light, so I am always hesitant to wear anything in those colors even though I love them. What about a dress that has a white background but a lot of print/colors, so it doesn’t necessarily look white?
A: I’m with you on loving those beautiful shades, but sadly I’d recommend saving them for another occasion. Anything that could be mistaken for or even too close to white can be too risky. I stay away from anything that is even a white background. Once I had a friend who wore a light pink flowy dress to a garden wedding and in all the photographs the sun was setting and her dress looked as white as the bride. Also, some brides choose not to wear white nowadays and you could be left mortified if you wore pale pink and so did the bride.

Should I only be buying a gift off of the registry or is it OK to get creative? 
Myka: One of my favorite wedding gifts I received was a watercolor painting of the restaurant that my husband and I met at! Registries are there to give guidance and are a list of items the couple actually want or need. I try to stick to registries for that reason, but there is no etiquette rule that says
you can not go “off registry” and pick something out that you think the couple would love. Just be sure to include a gift receipt where possible.

Is it ever appropriate for a wedding guest to not give a gift?
Myka: No :) If you can’t afford a wedding gift, everyone can think of something special to gift that doesn’t cost a lot of money but is special and thoughtful. I had a friend receive a poem that a guest wrote and framed for the couple as a gift and I thought that was such a beautiful gift. Sometimes it really is just the thought that counts.


Unknown said...

This was such a great post. Pre-ordering her book now!

BKell83 said...

Such a great, helpful post!


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