Your twenties are an interesting decade. They start in a whirlwind of nightclubs and 21st birthdays and then halfway through you’re navigating weddings, office parties and potentially even baby showers. If it’s your first time at any of these events you may be wondering how to come across as a flawless, functional adult. Here’s a few life etiquette tips for 20-somethings to get you through the event.
Let’s start with an easy one. Office parties are pretty similar to regular parties, but all your co-workers and potentially even your boss are present.
Less Drinking, More Thinking
Having a few drinks after work with your close colleagues is one thing; a party where most of the office are attending is another. While double parking early and sculling a couple champagnes would put your nerves to rest, getting wasted at your office party has the potential for disaster. Set yourself a drink limit and stick to it. There’s always the after party if you want to let loose later on.
Beware the Overshare
Alcohol and relaxed settings make us all feel more comfortable sharing our feelings. Maybe you’re having a tough time at work or feeling under-appreciated in your role. Even if that’s the case, professional concerns are better handled in a professional setting. Save yourself the drama and set up a meeting on Monday instead.
Choose Your Plus 1 Wisely
Whether it’s your partner or a close friend you should bring someone that helps you put your best career self forward. It’s easy at any age to forget yourself in a party setting and it’s especially easy to do when you’re young. Your plus 1 should be someone who encourages your professional side so you can make the best impression on your co-workers, boss and their plus 1’s too.
In the latter half of your 20s, a lot of long-term couples will be ready to tie the knot. If you’re lucky enough to be invited to a friend’s wedding you may feel out of your depth now that you’re too old for the kids table.
Do You Need a Gift for the Engagement Party?
Engagement party gifts are not required, but they’re a nice touch – especially if you’re close to the couple. The best choice is something small and thoughtful like a nice bottle of wine or even a bunch of flowers to say congratulations. There’s still the main event to come and that’s when you’ll be splurging on a proper gift.
Who Pays for the Bridesmaids?
If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know that bridesmaids’ expenses are typically the responsibility of the lady herself. From the dress to the hair, makeup and potentially even travel costs – it’s an expensive honour joining your friend’s wedding party. If your budget is likely to become an issue, mention it to the bride or groom early on so you can discuss which costs are covered and which aren’t.
Can You Wear Black or White to a Wedding?
Black and white have been taboo wedding attire for the longest time, but times are changing. Some brides choose black for their wedding party and others work it into their décor. Black attire that could be classified as evening wear is a good fit as it will look more dressed up than it will corporate or funeral.
All white is still considered bad taste, but some white mixed with other colours is generally safe. Just ask yourself, does this look like I’m trying to be a bride?
Should You RSVP?
A wedding is formal event with catering and guest numbers required. Once you accept or decline the wedding invite you’ll be locked in. So, first it’s important to RSVP on time. But second, don’t say yes if you’ll change your mind and vice versa. If something does come up be sure to let the couple know early so they have a chance to fill the spot of alter their guest numbers before the big day.
Put Your Phone Away
Professional photography is very much the norm at weddings. As much as you may want the best shot of the bride coming down the aisle, the couple will want it more. Keep your phone tucked away or use it sparingly and try not to get in the way of the photographer. If it’s a social media savvy wedding with a hashtag, there’s likely to be photo opps setup where you can get your cute wedding shots.
Baby showers are a less common invite in your 20s, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. The most important thing to know is that baby showers are fairly intimate events. If you’ve scored an invite it means you’re someone important to the parents-to-be.
Can I Bring a Plus 1?
Depending on the size and formalness of the baby shower, a plus 1 may be allowed. It’s always an option to ask, but don’t be discouraged if the answer is no. The parents-to-be don’t traditionally throw their own shower so you’ll need to find out who the host is for your answer.
Do I Have to Attend?
In your twenties, pregnancy and babies is generally far from your mind. If you’re invited to a baby shower and feel awkward about attending, remember that it’s pretty special to be invited in the first place. Baby showers are generally intimate occasions for only the closest family and friends.
Do You Need a Gift?
If you attend, yes. If you can’t attend, it’s a personal preference. Baby shower registries are fairly popular so choosing a gift shouldn’t be difficult. But if you are unable to attend there’s no hard and fast rule that says you have to send a gift in lieu.
Julia is a freelance writer from Melbourne specialising in content marketing and lifestyle articles. She’s usually busy planning new travel adventures or writing on past ones. If she could bring any two things to a deserted island they’d be a plane and a pilot. Check out more articles for a sense of her style or get in touch to collaborate.