What Is Wedding Etiquette for Guests?

It is advisable always to treat an invitation to a wedding with honor. A couple could have invited other people to your place, but they saw it fit to ensure you get to enjoy that day with them. So, when this happens, you need to have proper wedding etiquette so that the day goes on smoothly as planned.

Some of the wedding etiquette you have probably done before without knowing. However, it is worth mentioning more to see how best to handle yourself at a wedding. Let us learn more below.

Wedding party

Do Attend Attend Both the Reception and Ceremony

Commonly, sometimes a person would attend only the reception or the ceremony. That is not how it is supposed to be. It is expected that if you attended the ceremony, then you should also attend the reception.

This is because everything is budgeted for during a wedding. They expect you to also show up for your food and drinks during the reception. That is why RSVPing is an important rule of wedding etiquette for guests.

You can skip attending both by communicating early, so there is proper budgeting. So, no skipping the ceremony, only to show up for the reception to have a good bite and drink.

Do Arrive on Time for the Ceremony

People do not understand just how important it is to keep time. It shows that you can be there for the vows and experience the couple promising to be there for each other.

It might be common that people can be late for a wedding, but let it not be your habit. Depending on the wedding organizers, sometimes being on time is highly recommended. It is best to consider arriving as early as 30 minutes before the ceremony starts.

If you arrive late, talk to the ushers or coordinators to help you find your seat with less disturbance to the other seated guests.

Do Follow the Recommended Dress Code

Not all weddings would have a dress, but if one is recommended, then consider doing it. A dress code aims mostly to help have a wedding theme work with how the guests are dressed too. Try to keep as close as possible to the required dress code.

A couple would indicate the dress code in their wedding invitation or on the wedding website. The dress code varies from wedding to wedding, but some do not require one. Suppose you are in doubt, just ask the couple first before getting to the wedding venue. This is a good wedding etiquette you have to follow.

Do Check Out the Wedding Website

Many couples are now high-tech because they can have a website built specifically for their wedding. You can find all the important details about the wedding, such as the venue, wedding registry, time, travel arrangements, dress code, and so much more.

A good website should also have a section where people ask questions to get more clarity on various issues. This creates an avenue for you to interact rather than reaching the couple privately when all the wedding issues are discussed on the website. It is helpful if you are seeking wedding etiquette.

Do Communicate Any Dietary Restrictions in Advance

A wedding will probably have a lot of options when it comes to food choices; however, sometimes people have food restrictions, including allergies. In case of such restrictions, communicate early enough to make proper arrangements.

Most couples would not have a problem arranging a separate meal when given adequate time. It is better than showing up at the reception only to request a gluten-free or vegan meal option when other people are already being served.

Do RSVP Promptly

One thing you should not do is wait until it is too late, and that is when you can send in your RSVP card.

Most wedding invitations can be sent six to eight weeks before the wedding ceremony. This is enough time for you to consider your options and send an RSVP. It is recommended you do it at least four weeks before the wedding.

This is good wedding etiquette so the couple can plan how to set up the event and ensure everyone has the food and drinks the guests prefer.

Do Enjoy the Day and Be Present

You are going to have a good time at the wedding so lighten up. Some people would just sit at their table for the entire time of the event. However, you can still be an outstanding wedding guest and socialize with other guests to network too. You never know who could be attending.

Other than talking to other guests, you could still hit the dancefloor. With other potential dancers already on the dancefloor, you can expect to have a good time. Once you have done enough socializing, retreat to your table to keep enjoying the wonderful centerpieces already set up on it.

Do Keep the Speeches Short

If you are called upon to give a speech or toast, you definitely need to keep it brief. You might have been best friends for years, but there is a time you have to keep things short because other people also have to talk.

You can still be touching and eloquent to get your message along. Focus more on one message or story and keep it around five minutes. Less is even better.

Remember this wedding etiquette – your aim is to share something close to your heart and newlyweds and not have to drag out the speech for too long.

Do Drink Responsibly

Drinking is something you can do a lot at a wedding if you are not careful. Most weddings might have an open bar, which makes things fun. However, you are supposed to enjoy the open bar and not abuse it. Take it in mind on your wedding etiquette list.

Couples want you to have a good time, but you should still maintain decorum and know what your limits are when it comes to alcohol. You can focus more also on other options of entertainment rather than focusing so much on alcohol. If you are overwhelmed, take a walk, and you should be fine.

wedding drink

Do Mind the Venue

Some people might not appreciate that a wedding venue is a rental property for the day. This means that you should still respect it, or the couple might have to pay for the damages.

Of course, you should not go around breaking things. This can result in hefty fines. Other than breaking, no stealing too. You would be surprised by how many people do this at a wedding venue.

If you steal something, you would not know which items are rented and which have to be returned. The cost now falls onto the couple, which should be thinking of their honeymoon rather than paying for things. So, follow proper wedding etiquette to give the newlyweds an easy time.

Do Follow the Seating Chart

The seating chart or rather place cards are either handed out at the reception, or you will find your names on the tables already. So, you need to ensure you sit in the designated area. Not only is this a delicate wedding etiquette, but it should also be done as normal in public as well. This would help avoid inconveniences where someone comes and finds their seats have been taken up.

Couples planning the seating chart would have taken enough time to understand what each person would need at the table. It can be based on relationships, life stages, and personalities.

Do Enjoy What is Available

Enjoying the wedding can be an optional wedding etiquette. It should not come as a surprise that not all weddings are the same. Some might have a lot more drink variety than others, among other things. What is important is that you enjoy what is available.

Some people tend to moan about their menu choices. Consider that the wedding is not about you and also that is what the couple could afford. So, go ahead and enjoy a good meal and have fun while at it. You should not be a person who complains about everything, even at a wedding.

Do Not Pick Wedding Gifts Outside the Wedding Registry

It is not a must, but it is a good wedding etiquette for guests to follow. It could be crucial for you to consider only buying the couple’s proper wedding gifts on their wedding registry.

This is because the couple knows what it needs. At least it would help them have a good time unpacking the gifts seeing that people brought gifts they like.

So, go through the wedding registry list to find out more about what you can get for them during the wedding.

Do Not Bring the Kids Unless Invited

Believe it or not, kids are not always invited to the wedding. Sometimes a wedding invitation can mention “adults only,” and that is it. In such a case, you should wonder whether to bring kids or not.

It would be bad etiquette for you to bring along kids only to find other people did not. However, in some cases, you can get it addressed as “The Smith Family,” and then, in this case, you can bring your kids too.

In case you are not sure, it is best to ask. There is no harm in getting further clarification on where to bring your kids along or not.

Do Not Forget to Fill out the RSVP Card Accurately

As a wedding guest, it is important to follow the proper etiquette when attending a wedding. RSVP is an important part of wedding etiquette. It will confirm whether you would actually attend the wedding or not. That is why you should always fill out the requested information correctly. It can be through a card or digitally when you send the RSVP on a website or any other platform.

This often includes marking the food choices, whether you will attend or not, full names, and everyone who would be attending if it is a family. So, whatever information is requested, you are advised to always fill out the various sections before sending it back.

Do Not Forget to Congratulate the Newlyweds

Congratulations are an important part of wedding etiquette. It is a way to show your support and love for the newlyweds. Whether you are attending the wedding or not, it is important to take the time to congratulate them on their special day.

Being a gracious guest is quite important at a wedding. That is why congratulating the newlyweds is highly recommended. Do not forget the parents too on such an important day.

There are many ways to congratulate the newlyweds, from sending a card or gift, to writing a heartfelt message in person or online. No matter how you choose to do it, make sure that you don’t forget this important step in wedding etiquette. Congratulating the newlyweds will show them that you care and wish them all the best in their future together.

If you have not met them before, it can be good to start with introductions first. You could be a friend they have heard about but not met. At least now, you can expect to get the most out of the event and make new friends too.

Do Not Leave the Wedding Favors Behind

It is important to remember that wedding etiquette dictates that wedding favors should not be left behind. A couple getting married would want to show how they appreciate your coming by having wedding favors for you. It could be as simple as place cards, centerpieces, and so much more.

Since couples put a lot of thought into such wedding favors, it can be rude to leave them behind. It represents a special day for them, and they would like you to have a piece to take home. So, enjoy the wedding favor, which will be one of the best things at the wedding too.

Do Not Keep Using the Phone While at the Event

One of the most important wedding etiquette rules is to not keep using your phone while at the event. Not only does this show a lack of respect for the couple, but it can also be distracting for other guests. It is best to put away your phone and enjoy the moment with everyone else.

We all know that phones can be quite addictive. That is why some people might find it hard to put them away even during a wedding. Unless it is an emergency, simply unplug yourself from the phone for a while to enjoy the day.

We recommend putting the phone on silent mode so that it does not become a disturbance during the wedding. You can always take out your phone to take photos are the right time, but not browse the internet as if you are bored with what is happening.

Do Not Get into the Photographer’s Way

Even if you have thousands of followers on Instagram, you are still not hired to take the photos. For this reason, you must always avoid the photographer’s way of taking photos. The couple has already invested a lot of money in hiring the photography team, so make sure you give them the best workplace space.

Of course, you can always take your photos too, for memories, but not in the way of the photographer.

wedding etiquette for drinking


Weddings are a special occasion and it is important to show respect to the bride and groom through proper wedding etiquette. So far, you can see that wedding etiquette is not something hard to follow. These are common things that should apply to everyone.

We recommend that you respect those holding the event, and you can get the best experience in return too. Other than a few rules to keep in mind, weddings are supposed to be enjoyed, so go ahead and have a good one.

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