So you have been invited to a wedding reception. The trick is now to wear something that is both according to the dress code and attractive at the same time. You don’t want to outshine the bride and the groom, so try to stay a bit more neutral than usual.
The bride can go to the wedding reception still dressed in her wedding gown if she wishes, or she could change into something more comfortable. A nice evening gown is highly appropriate. Make sure that the gown is still festive, with glitter or something long and elegant. Many brides just choose to remove the veil during the reception to be more comfortable and have a different, more comfortable headpiece made in advance for this occasion.
The groom should wear the same tuxedo that he wore for the wedding. It is almost expected of him to look dashing. He may remove the jacket though, since the reception is a little less formal then the wedding itself. He may also remove the boutonniere to be more comfortable, or have it on the jacket and remove the jacket with the boutonniere.
The tie may also be removed or at least loosened at the reception. Often the bride and groom will also dance at the reception and they should both be comfortable and able to air out. Nobody wants to see a sweating bride and groom so make sure that the air temperature of the reception room is cool. Both the bride and groom shouldn’t drink very much after the initial wedding toast since traditionally they will drive the “getaway” car and need not to be intoxicated.
The bridesmaids can stay in the same dress they wore for the wedding. It looks good to have the matching dresses at the head table for the reception, but they may leave their flowers on the table. They aren’t expected to carry the flowers with them everywhere they go after the wedding. The bridesmaids are usually expected to make sure that all the guests wear the correct things. They will need to give the guests advice according to the dress code that the bride and groom wanted at their wedding. The wedding reception is traditionally either formal or semi-formal. But in the more recent times, often brides and grooms decide that the reception is a more informal affair, and more of a feast then a formal occasion.
The best men and ushers will also need to wear their suits or tuxedos that they wore at the wedding. They also may remove their jacket, but only if the groom does. If the groom removes his tie, they are also allowed but make sure to watch the groom and what he is doing. Best men are expected to be on their best behavior and usually will drive people after the wedding is over, so make sure that you don’t drink too much alcohol, and do not drink and if you are the designated driver.
The mother of the bride should dress with a simple dress that will enhance her figure and looks decent and beautiful. Usually she doesn’t need to change for the reception since at the wedding she will wear something that is suitable for both. She can also loosen or take off the corsage if it bothers her. Usually if the wedding is formal, she is expected to wear the corsage until the end of the reception.
The rest of the guests will be fine if they wear the same thing that they wore at the wedding. Usually, the invitation to the reception will state what the dress code is. If you are in doubt contact the bridesmaids or the best man. The bride and groom will be too busy to answer all the guests asking about the dress code. As the nights become longer, even formal occasions tend to become more intimate and formal, and you will be allowed to remove boutonnieres and corsages, especially if you see the bride and groom removing their flowers.
The wedding invitation will usually give hints as to what the expected dress code will be. Make sure that you only go to the wedding reception if you have been explicitly invited. There will be a limited amount of space and limited seating space. The meal is also ordered based on a certain amount of people and the bride and groom will not be able to afford inviting all the people they know to their wedding reception.
Here are some general wedding tips for guests:
To help the bride and groom remember your present make sure you sign your card and write on the back what you gave to them. The task of writing thank you notes will be made much easier for the bride and groom this way.
During picture taking time, stay near the photo site so long searches don’t have to be conducted to find the missing guests.
After the wedding when people congratulate the bride and groom, don’t take up a long time. The bride and groom will have to be congratulated by all their guests and then have to go through the photo shoot. So make it short and sweet.