I’m an expert on etiquette – donut walls make your wedding look cheap and why black tie on the day is a big no-go

The WEDDING season is in full swing and with many big days being postponed due to Covid-19 cancellations it seems this summer will be very busy.

And your wedding day is the biggest day of your life – right?!

If you want your wedding day to really impress your guests, according to William, these are the things to avoid


If you want your wedding day to really impress your guests, according to William, these are the things to avoidCredit: williamhansonetiquette/Instagram

Therefore, it is very important that you not only have a great day with your loved ones, but that everything looks the way you imagined it.

From your bridesmaid dresses to the table setting to the flower arrangement, there are many things to consider when planning a wedding and things can get pretty stressful.

With to-do lists that easily pile up, sometimes, despite your best efforts, it can become overwhelming.

To make sure you don’t get too overwhelmed and look back on your wedding efforts, we spoke to William Hanson, Britain’s leading expert and trainer on etiquette, about the top things to avoid if you really want to celebrate your big day and make an impression Your guests.

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Widely regarded as Britain’s most trusted authority on etiquette, William is one to listen to if you want a day to be remembered by your guests – for all the right reasons.

And fear not, you don’t have to spend silly sums of money on your big day to make it look gorgeous, but there are some things to avoid lest anyone have a spicy aftertaste of stickiness.

William shared his thoughts with Fabulous on the things that can make your big day look cheap – and the things to avoid if you want to impress guests.

So if you need to plan a wedding, listen up.


Of course, flowers are expensive, but according to William, artificial flowers are the epitome of stickiness.

William explained: “Anything fake is cheesy, and artificial flowers are generally dust-catchers.

“They never look as good as the real thing and it makes your wedding look like a medium sized restaurant and Instagram wall of sorts

“It would show me that someone is thinking about how they look in photos and on social media and not really for the guests who are at the wedding.”


If you think a black tie makes your wedding guests look classy, ​​think again.

William emphasized, “Black tie at a wedding is an American tradition – I don’t mind if people wear a black tie at night, but it does when you wear a black tie during the day.

“Black tie is formal wear, so if your wedding is after 6pm, fine, go for black tie, no problem.

“But if it’s lunchtime or 3 p.m., why do you have evening wear?”


And it’s not just the black tie dress code that Wiliam isn’t a fan of — bridesmaids wearing the same dress aren’t his thing either.

He added: “What’s a problem is when the bridesmaids match and they look exactly the same.

“Not all bridesmaids are the same body shape, height and complexion, so it’s almost impossible to find a dress that suits everyone.

“Especially if you have adult bridesmaids, which is a bit naff in itself, but I wouldn’t have them all in the same dress.

“Avoid wearing the same dress if possible. Or have it slightly modified for each person’s body shape and type.

“Otherwise they look appropriate, which is a bit silly. It’s better to tone than match.

“If you have young children as bridesmaids, that may be more acceptable.

“You can have a head bridesmaid or maid of honor as an adult to look after the kids, but it’s nicer to have kids than adults.”


Providing your guests with an evening snack means forgoing donut walls if you want your big day to feel sophisticated.

William said: “Don’t get caught up in trends – who thinks about donuts and weddings? It’s not a hand-in-hand combination.

“Honestly, when you’re wearing nice clothes, there’s no way guests want to eat a gooey donut that could potentially ruin their dress.

“I think you have to be a bit of a donut to actually have one at your wedding.”


And it’s not just donuts that William isn’t a fan of – the trendy naked cakes aren’t something William would recommend.

He continued, “It’s following a trend, that’s a trend now. For big weddings, maybe book things a year in advance so that when it’s over, it’s out of trend.

“If people are worried about being stylish or sophisticated, just stick with the classics and something more established rather than what’s new now.

“Your wedding shouldn’t show how trendy or fashionable you are.”


According to William, cake figurines are another thing you should never have at a wedding if you want it to be a fabulous affair.

William believes, “Pieces on the cake are always a little silly.

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“They’re particularly naff when you make them look like you and your spouse – it’s a bit self-centered.

“They’ve never been considered correct in British etiquette, it’s just a bit of a naff sign.

“Especially if you have a nice cake, that would be a no.”


While many people see table gifts as an essential part of a wedding, William would not recommend them.

He said: “Giving guests gifts, whether it’s sugared almonds or small candles, is a no.

“A lot of times people lose them and don’t take them home anyway.

“You give your guests a meal, you don’t have to give them anything else.

“It’s a complete waste of money.”


Another thing William is determined to avoid is bows on chairs.

William added: “Chair arches are inconvenient, inconvenient tripping hazards that stand in the way of waiters when serving.

“They’re never a good idea.”


Similar to the black tie dress code, according to William, if you want a sophisticated day, fairy lights should only be kept until evening.

He continued, “I have nothing against white fairy lights, especially if it’s an evening event. But multicolored dairy flights look a bit retro and can be pretty cheesy.

“If it’s fairy lights or candles during the day, that’s a problem.

“Candles and fairy lights are for the evening. If the candles and fairy lights are out during a daytime event, that’s not great.”


If you want to keep costs down and have a buffet, William won’t blame you, but having paper plates isn’t in his good books.

William said: “It’s okay if you have a buffet, especially if there are a lot of people, as it’s an effective way of catering.

“Royal weddings were often followed by a buffet – those of William and Catherine were followed by a buffet. They also had dinner, but that after lunch at Buckingham Palace was a buffet.

“But I don’t like paper plates. It’s a special occasion and paper is nothing special. It’s much better to have real records.”


Finally, if you’re a rose gold fanatic and want to jump on the rose gold decor and cutlery trend, you might want to rethink.

According to William, rose gold is “trendy in certain circles, but it’s going to go out of trend.

“If you look back at them in 20/30 years, it will look very dated.

“It will be much better if you opt for something more classic – silver cutlery – which has been the color of cutlery for a lot longer than rose gold. It will look much more timeless.”

If you think donuts are a nice touch for your wedding, you might want to think again


If you think donuts are a nice touch for your wedding, you might want to think againPhoto credit: Getty
And if you're getting married during the day, William says it's best to avoid Black Tie


And if you’re getting married during the day, William says it’s best to avoid Black TiePhoto credit: Getty
Cake figures are a no-no in Williams' books


Cake figures are a no-no in Williams’ booksPhoto credit: Getty I’m an expert on etiquette – donut walls make your wedding look cheap and why black tie on the day is a big no-go

Jessica MacLeish

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