Jewelry Rules

I went to a wedding in Georgia this weekend, a sort of upper-class affair (with no less than EIGHT cocktail parties/brunches/luncheons in the bride and groom’s honor) and was kind of taken aback at what an idiot I am when it comes to Southern etiquitte (I don’t think we have such a thing in Cleveland).

I was talking with my mom today about how I decided to wear my severely fake pearls for the rehearsal dinner and even more severely fake diamonds for the wedding itself. Both events happened at about 6 PM. I told her I had to ask someone about the proper time of day to wear pearls or diamonds, and she said she’d never heard that either one had “time” restrictions.

I tried to google pearl and diamond wearing rules, and the best I came up with was a Miss Manners column with this answer about wearing pearls to a luncheon:

Ok so I can wear pearls at any time, but what about my fake diamonds at 6 PM? Was I making a major fashion faux pax? Forget the fact that the entire “set” cost me $20 at Claire’s. I mean it’s not like they were diamonds. More like shiny shards of glass on silver :wink:

If anyone has any more fashion rules that I need to be aware of, please share.

Never wear jewelry over gloves.

What! You never heard of the “Full Cleveland” ?? :slight_smile:

Pearls are properly worn in odd number of strands, never an even number.

The only time a never married woman may wear a tiara is down the aisle to get married. Tiaras are reserved for matrons.

Generally speaking, one dosen’t wear Jewerlry, you know, the serious shit, unless one is going to an evening occaision where one is dolled up in evening dress. Of course, now that hardly anybody has any Jewelry, you can wear it whenever. I think costume jewelry under a certain level of gaudiness is fine when one is dressed up for a nice occaision like a wedding, but you should save that extra level of gaudy for when it’s appropriate and the menfolk are wearing black tie.

When in doubt, wear pearls. Diamonds in the form of an engagement ring or small diamond ear studs are always appropriate, but your diamond necklaces and such should be reserved for evening or fancy occaisions. I think a 6 PM wedding is fine, but I might not wear it to a morning garden wedding. Of course, I wouldn’t wear the same dress to a 6 PM formal wedding and a morning garden wedding, either.

Your outfit should inform your jewelry and in turn be chosen as appropriate to the event. The formality of the event rather than the time of day should determine what clothes you wear and therefore what jewerlry you wear with it.

No evening hats after 8.00pm.

Pearls or diamonds are fine for the affair you’ll be attending.

Not fashion per se, but never congratulate the bride.


According to traditional etiquette, “congratulating” the bride implies that she was able to snare a man, and is therefore unseemly. One congratulates the groom on having won the fair lady’s hand, and offers best wishes to the bride.

[ul][li]Thou shalt not wear white shoes after Labor Day, or before Memorial Day[/li][li]Thou shalt not wear gold and silver jewelry together[/li][li]Thou mayest wear pearls at any time. Thou mayest wear diamonds before 6 PM only in a wedding ring or ring of engagement[/li][li]Let not any woman besides the bride wear white to a wedding[/li][li]Thou shalt not show any cleavage ere three PM[/li][li]Thou dost ever say “Congratulations” to the groom. Thou dost ever say “Best Wishes- you look lovely” to the bride[/li][li]The mother of the groom doth ever 1) wear beige, and 2) keep her mouth shut[/li][li]Thou dost never bring the gifts to the reception, thou fool. Thou dost mail them to the home of the bride’s mother.[/li][li]Thou shalt dance with all women of the party at least once at the reception. Then thou mayest dance again with thy primary romantic partner.[/li][/ul]Thus spake the mother of Shodan. Let all full reverently obey, lest there be unpleasantness.


I was enlightened about pearls by an article in the Sunday Times last week.
Apparently younger ladies wear 1 strand, 2 or 3 strands are for older ladies.
The ideal strand length is 40cm and the ideal size of pearls is 7-8mm in diameter…just like the necklace Joe DiMaggio got for Marilyn.

My grandmother always told me that besides wedding and engagement rings, you could only wear a maximum of 3 items of jewelry ie ring, necklace, earrings. More than that wasn’t “nice”.

A gentleman should apply some instant tan to the area where his wedding ring would ordinarily sit hen he is out philandering.


Jewelry rocks! Go jewelry!


So… it’s unseemly to congratulate the lady on having landed a man, but quite proper to congratulate the man on having landed a fair lady? :wink: That certainly smacks of ‘some kinda sexist’. :smiley:

Why not just congratulate both of them on having managed to find the love of their life?? :slight_smile:

Hey, while we’re at it. Is there anything in this thing of not wearing black to a wedding? Most of my friends say this is nonsense, but I have lingering doubts. As about 90% of my clothes are actually black (including numerous swanky black dresses), I’d be grateful to get clearance to wear them to weddings and not feel uneasy.

A tip: wear what you want when you want.

Black, white, and red are colors wedding guests should avoid.

Hey, I’m just the messenger. :smiley:

Re black/white/red at weddings: No white, so as not to “compete” with the bride. Black is supposedly too stark and funereal for what is supposed to be a festive occasion, although I’m told it’s quite commonplace at posh urban weddings. The red thing I’ve never heard. What, too flashy? (At my wedding the bride wore red and didn’t give a flip what anyone else wore. Well, except the groom.)

I once saw advice to a pregnant woman who wanted to wear her one good black maternity dress to a wedding. The advice was to temper the black with a colorful scarf or something similar.

These things are simple matters of tradition, and if a wedding is informal or nontraditional, then what the guests wear is liable to be a little different than at the traditional church wedding. But generally, you avoid wearing these colors because we have strong associations between certain colors and ideas or emotions, and wearing the wrong colors can accidentally communicate something you don’t want.

Just like a solemn event like a funeral, there’s rules. At a funeral, you shouldn’t go in wearing something flashy. Why? Not appropriate to the occasion - it suggests (probably falsely) that you don’t respect the dignity of the event, or that you don’t care about the dead or those in mourning.

At a wedding, you shouldn’t really wear black - unless such things are acceptable in the particular circles the wedding takes place in. If you’re trendy young urbanites, perhaps it’s fine, but for the rest of us, a guest in all black conveys the idea that they’re in mourning.

Red is not a suitable color for weddings because it’s a color that our visual systems are inherently strongly attuned to. If you’re wearing red, it looks flashy and as though you’re seeking attention, at least to some people, and it’s considered to be an insulting attempt to distract people from the event. Plus, red implies passion (romantic or angry), and hopefully wedding guests manage to keep their passion in check (or at least in private, perhaps in the bathroom) because, in the end, a wedding is the bride and groom’s event, and it’s supposed to focus pretty exclusively on them.

You can wear whatever you want, of course - there’s no laws about this. And depending on who’s doing the marrying and who the other guests are, it might not even get a raised eyebrow. If that’s the circumstance, cool, no one has any cause to complain.

But if you wear something traditionally considered inappropriate to a wedding, be aware that some people may be offended, and if they indicate it to you, you don’t have much right to go around insisting they have no right to be. Most of the things you do communicate something, and it’s better to be aware of what you’re communicating, so as not to suggest something you don’t want to, than to insist that people shouldn’t worry about such things. It’s simple manners, really.