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Wedding etiquette: What to do and what not to do?

inside out with Respect Chofamba

Wedding season is almost upon us and, as such, it is a good time to remind each other of some simple wedding etiquette that will help make the bride and groom’s special day memorable in a good way.

Traditionally, a wedding is a celebratory event where friends, family and a few wedding crushers, come together to celebrate the love between two individuals.
At any celebration, it is very common for some of us to misbehave or overdo stuff, and unfortunately this at times spoils the day for the people we seek to
celebrate. How then can we do the celebration thing without being a bad stain that one would want to totally erase from the memories of their special day?

Before the day even arrives, invited guests are given an invitation card with a RSVP number. I know it is not our norm, but help the bride and groom make their
planning more accurate by texting, apping or calling to RSVP. If there is an option for you to bring extra guests, also highlight the number of extra guests
you want to come with for the wedding. It is just plain rude to come with extra guests to someone’s wedding without notifying them in advance as this can
create some major seating and catering issues on the day. Apart from RSVP, also take note of the dress code and other specific issues highlighted on the card.
You might be in love with your children but if the wedding has a strictly no children rule, do not take your brood with you to the wedding. You and your
children will literally become the sore that everyone wants to get rid of when your kids decide to do what kids do during a beautifully orchestrated ceremony
that has no room for kids play.

As for dressing, I know it might be a challenge to get a custom-made dress or suit for every wedding, but make an effort to adhere to the dress code. If there
is no dress code, just make an effort to look formal. Weddings are not for casual and relaxed clothing. If you are a man, get a formal jacket or blazer on top
of your shirt especially for the ceremony. For the ladies, get a couple of safe coloured dresses that you can always switch around using different accessories
to create our desired look. Also stock up on small wedding accessories like brouches, pins, fascinators and neck pieces, these turn any outfit into something
beautiful.

The wedding ceremony is the most important part of any wedding. During this time, it is important to be considerate of the other guests. Use some restraint to
make your clapping, ululations and whistles considerably short in order to give the marriage officer an opportunity to continue with the ceremony in an
atmosphere where everyone can clearly hear the vows. Avoid standing up or leaving the venue during this time as this can cause unnecessary distractions.

We are living in an era where everyone feels they can be a photographer. With all of us having phones with cameras and a huge appetite to post selfies that
show that we are at a wedding, but out of respect for the bride and groom do not get in the way of the professional videographer and photographer. Give people
the space and opportunity to capture their day in the best possible way without being that horrible distraction that will appear in every frame of the video
and pictures.

At most weddings there is the photography moment, where people are systematically invited to come get pictures with the bride and groom. Avoid being the
problem guest who refuses to give others a chance. Yes, you might be their closest relative, but everyone else got an invite because they mean something to the couple getting married, so give them a chance to get some good pictures with the bride and groom. In the interest of time, do not try to force a selfie during
this time while everyone else is waiting in line.

Food is a huge part of any wedding, and often at times is the moment that most guests wait for. Often at times the serving of food may delay or take a bit of
time, so if you have come with your children, it is wise to carry a snack and juice for them which they can eat as you wait for the food. Be patient with the
caterers and the people serving food. Apart from you, they probably have a hundred other people to serve. Avoid unnecessary complaints and demands as these can
slow down the process of giving everyone food. For those with food allergies, you might want to consider telling the bride and groom in advance so that the
catering people prepare a separate option for you.

In our tradition you never go for a celebration empty-handed, and that’s true for weddings. Make an effort to prepare a gift for the bride and groom. A wedding
gift is more than just a token of goodwill for the couple but it is something you give, to help them get off with their married life. In our culture different people are expected to give different gifts with the family of the bride mainly expected to give gifts that will make their daughter’s married life easier while the groom’s family is expected to give presents that will help the groom with his married life. Apart from your presence at a wedding, it is important that you bring a present; no matter how small, it will be greatly appreciated.

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