Attending a wedding: what are the rules?

It’s in the mail: the invitation to a wedding. Whether friends, family members or acquaintances are getting married, there is often a prevailing etiquette at weddings. For example, what do you give as a gift? If an envelope is indicated as a gift tip, how much money is expected from you? What do you wear if there is a dress code? In short: enough reason to read further in this article in preparation.

As a guest at a wedding: the dress code

Not all wedding invitations have a dress code, but more often than not you are expected to come in appropriate attire. What exactly is appropriate at a wedding?

No dress code or ‘appropriate clothing’

Come to a wedding, even if no dress code is specified, don’t just wear your worn-out jeans. Smart clothing is generally expected. You don’t want to run the risk of being the only one to appear in a faded outfit. When it comes to weddings, think like this: better to be over-dressed than under-dressed.

Tenue de ville and other specific dress codes

Be sure to adhere to specific dress codes. Every couple getting married also dresses up extensively and wants to look good on this special day. Then make the effort yourself. Read more about the required dress code and dress accordingly for the wedding. You can read more about the specific dress codes in the article Dress codes: what should I wear? .

The dress code with color

Blue and white, white with a red accent, purple… these can all be dress codes. It is not without reason that a couple has requested a dress code in a certain color. So try to stick to it as best you can. Is it white with a red accent? Come completely in white and wear a red rose, a red belt, red shoes or a red hat to complete your outfit.


If you really don’t know whether an outfit is suitable for the wedding you are attending, call the master of ceremonies. He or she will know exactly what the bridal couple has in mind.

A guest at a wedding: the gift for the bride and groom

Unlike a birthday, there are always clear wish lists for weddings.

The specific list

If you have a specific wish list from the bride and groom, always ask the master of ceremonies what is not yet being given as a gift. A married couple is happy with one set of cutlery, but five are not of much use…

The envelope

It continues to gain popularity on wedding cards: the well-known envelope. In the past, trousseau was only given as a gift at weddings. However, more and more couples are already living together and have their household goods together. Since weddings are generally very expensive, a cash gift is therefore more appropriate. Do you want to be original? Then choose a money balloon. The amount of an amount is also important. Can you come all day, including dinner? Then seventy to one hundred euros is certainly appropriate. Can you come for one half day? Then give at least thirty euros. A good benchmark that is often used is that you give about three times more for each part of the day than you would for a birthday. For example, less is expected of students than of people with a paid job.

Guest at a wedding: entrance, dinner and farewell

Rules apply at the party, the reception and possibly the dinner.


When entering a bridal party or if you are attending a reception alone, greet the bride and groom first. You congratulate them, hand over your gift and then mingle with the guests. Shortly after the wedding ceremony, it is customary for a line to be formed of all the guests who come to congratulate the newlyweds. In addition to the bride and groom, you usually also congratulate the parents of the couple.


In a restaurant you only eat when the entire group has a plate in front of them. At a wedding this is a bit more nuanced. In small groups this can still be the rule. However, with multiple tables you can apply the rule per table. However, always make sure that the bride and groom start eating first. This is usually solved by the restaurant by serving the newlyweds the meal first.


You can’t just leave a wedding or reception without first saying goodbye to the bride and groom. It is also customary to greet their parents before you go. When saying goodbye, thank the bride and groom for their hospitality. In many cases, the newlyweds or the master of ceremonies will give you a thank you gift.

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