Our Etiquette Guy, Jay Remer, has attended more than his fair share of weddings.  Here, he helps us navigate the fineries of the occasions surrounding the special nuptials in your life so that each is filled with respect and common courtesies.

Dear Etiquette Guy,

With so many weddings happening again, keeping up with all the R.S.V.P. dates is difficult, especially with Save-The-Dates. Is there a general rule?

                                                                                                                                Timely Response

Dear First Responder,

Meeting our responsibilities when it comes to accepting or regretting invitations and scheduling the events without letting any slip through the cracks is a perennial problem for busy socialites and businesspeople. Many of us depend on the calendars on our iPhones and laptops. Some of us have a well-founded hesitation about linking devices. As a result, we don’t trust any of them. We will always check in both places, if possible, before making further commitments. Be sure to add enough details to your calendar entry so you don’t draw a blank as the date nears. If the events require a gift, special attire, or other particularity, make a note of that. Even if you have the memory of an elephant now, you won’t forever, so developing this habit will save you unnecessary suffering–I promise.

 

Dear Etiquette Guy,

A longtime dear friend has invited me to his wedding. Although I haven’t seen him in a few years, he knows I am seeing someone seriously. When the wedding invitation arrived, there was no “and guest.” Should I approach the subject with my friend to bring my significant other or attend solo?

                                                                                                                                     Newly Doubled

Dear Doubled Up,

Historically, you would have attended this event solo without asking for an exception. However, the rules and guidelines we follow around etiquette are relaxing to fit the needs of our current lifestyles. In that vein, I would send an email or text for clarification. If this event is a seated dinner, you may get some pushback because great care should have been given to the guest count. Details do have a way of being overlooked sometimes, so your query is a fair one. A word of caution: if there is even a hint of resistance, back down. And as a gentle reminder to hosts, be mindful of this situation and try to accommodate when possible.

 

Dear Etiquette Guy,

Here we go again with black tie optional weddings. What’s the best course of action to follow for both men and women – does the time of the day of the ceremony matter?

Ready To Celebrate

Dear Celebration Central,

The way I treat these ambiguous instructions is either to dress festively – the sky’s the limit – or in what I call a modified black tie. These guidelines apply to men and women. By festive, dressing thematically can be spectacular. If you are the sort of person who delights in original sartorial efforts, black tie optional is just what the doctor ordered. Modified black tie is a relaxed version of the standard get-up with one piece substituted with something fun–i.e., a colorful tie, a colorful shirt, etc. One substitution is a safe guideline to keep things from getting out of hand. The result should be very comfortable to wear yet easy to spot across a crowded room. Traditionally, black tie is not worn before 6 PM, or sundown.

 

Dear Etiquette Guy,

I just received the wedding invitation from a college sorority sister. As an addendum, it states, “no photos, please.” I make my living in social media and was counting on sharing it with my followers. How should I proceed?

                                                                                                                                   Not Camera Shy

Dear Camera-Ready,

I can understand your enthusiasm, especially given your profession. However, if there is an instruction on an invitation, don’t question it. The host is responsible for the success of the wedding. If the bride does not want photos taken, so be it. To avoid all temptation, I would recommend leaving your camera at home.

 

 

Dear Etiquette Guy,

My dear pals, who are animal lovers, are involving their pets in their wedding ceremony. I am highly allergic to dogs, yet I have already RSVP’d yes.  How should I proceed?

                                                                                                                              Gone To The Dogs

Dear Dog Gone,

Allergies seem to have become far more front-and-center than they once were, likely due to medical progress. The answer to your not-so-unusual question rests with your self-awareness. How allergic are you to dogs? Will you be anxious just being around dogs? Will you risk embarrassment from having a severe physical reaction? Can you time taking your prescribed antihistamine to be effective during the exposure? Frankly, I would proceed as though this was just a regular part of your everyday routine and prepare accordingly. If that means sending your regrets, you may certainly do so.