Weddings are always a perfect excuse to get dressed up, enjoy fancy drinks, and have a good and fun time. However, remember that the couple wanting you to be a part of their big day is a privilege not to be taken casually! Your wedding hosts have planned the event for months and are footing the bill, so it’s your turn to be the most incredible wedding guest!
While many aspects of traditional wedding guest etiquette (such as being on time and bringing a gift) are pretty apparent, some parts aren’t always so simple. This helpful list below will show you how to manage the evident and less noticeable aspects of standard wedding guest etiquette. If you’re unsure or have any other important questions, it’s a good idea to ask the couple directly.
1. Do: RSVP on Time
Wedding invitations are mostly sent out 6-8 weeks before the wedding. Pay attention to the deadline- don’t put the reply card out of sight, thinking you will respond later. You’d probably forget all about it. Also, while responding to an invitation, it’s essential to follow the instructions.
The RSVP helps the vendors determine the final headcount ahead of time to ensure there is enough space and sufficient food for everyone. Your last-minute response will only make people scramble around to accommodate you.
2. Don’t: Assume You Are Free To Bring A Date
Before you extend an invitation to your partner or friend, check what the invite says. If the invitation reads only your name, then note that you are not expected to come with a plus one. If the couple intends for you to bring a date with you, they will indicate.
3. Do: Visit Their Wedding Website
The wedding website is a handy resource intended to help wedding guests- you’d most likely find all you need to know on the couples’ website. From details about the happy couple’s love story and vital information about the wedding, their website is the perfect place to gather all the details. So avoid reaching out to the couple to ask for information you will most likely already find on their wedding website.
4. Don’t: Make The Assumption That Kids Are Allowed
Don’t bother asking. If the couple intends for you to come with your kid (s), they will clearly indicate it on the wedding invitation. For example “The Jack Family,” it’s okay to assume that all members of the family are invited. If not, make sure to find a babysitter for the children.
5. Do: Decide On a Perfect Gift For The Couple From The Registry
There is no need to call the couple to enquire about the kind of gift they would like. Use the wedding registry to your advantage! While you may think you know the couple too well and their actual need, it’s good wedding guest etiquette to limit your gift choices to what the couple lists on their wedding registry!
6. Don’t: Wear White
Avoid white, ivory, or cream, especially if lace is involved. You’ve got a million other color combinations to pick from, so please don’t wear white at a wedding except, of course, the bride specifically asks that you wear one.
7. Do: Arrive on Time for the Wedding Ceremony
Being “fashionably late” to a wedding or most gatherings, in general, is a huge no-no. The best advice for wedding guests is to be there early for the ceremony. So you won’t have to struggle to sit down while admiring the lovely backdrop the couple has been planning for months. Ideally, wedding guests should plan to arrive 30 minutes before the ceremony’s scheduled start time (expect to carve in extra time for bigger wedding guest lists).
If you arrive late for the ceremony, gently slip to the back row or watch for the usher or organizer to instruct you. If the processional has already begun, hold off until the bride has arrived at the altar. You can then quietly find a seat after that.
8. Don’t: Touch the Seating Plan
The couple has spent hours working out their seating arrangement. You can’t even begin to think of the logistics involved. Moving place cards could cause chaos.
9. Do: Attend Both the Ceremony and Reception
Unless you’ve made special arrangements and informed the couple, try to be present at the ceremony and reception. The couple made an effort to include you in seeing their big day. Therefore you shouldn’t try to attend just one or the other unless you have a scheduling conflict.
Call the hosts as soon as possible to let them know if something happens on the wedding day that will prevent you from attending the event. It is considered bad taste to RSVP and cancel without informing anyone, so avoid doing this at all costs.
10. Don’t: Stand in the Way Of The Photographers
For some reason, you may be tempted to bring your phones to capture moments during the ceremonies- but please don’t play photographer or videographer. Make sure to live in the moment and have fun! Unless, of course, the couple gave you specific instructions.
11. Do: Socialize With Other Wedding Guests
Being a wedding guest usually includes meeting many new people. While you aren’t required to introduce yourself to everyone, you should probably refrain from withdrawing to the corner and pouting while everyone else is mingling and dancing.
Try to say hello to the couple’s family and introduce yourself to the folks seated at your table. It’s a beautiful way to show your appreciation for all the effort the couple put forth in making the day a success!
12. Don’t: Drink Too Much Alcohol
As a favor, the couple offers an open bar; as a way of saying thanks, please be mindful of your consumption. And so, it is to be enjoyed, not abused. When it’s time to leave, excessive drinking may become an issue, so plan ahead and arrange a ride to prevent putting yourself and others at risk.
13. Do: Congratulate The Families of The Couple
To be a polite wedding guest, make it a point to greet the parents of the couple and congratulate them on the special occasion. If you haven’t met them before the wedding, try introducing yourself and explaining how you know the couple. The couple’s parents likely contributed to making the wedding day possible, so letting them know how grateful you are, won’t be forgotten.
14. Do: Enjoy the Day and Be Present
Being actively involved in all areas of the wedding is essential to being a top-notch wedding guest, just like making an effort to socialize with others. You were specially invited by the couple to participate in the celebrations, therefore doing so will mean so much more to them than you could ever think. This involves everything from getting on the dance floor as soon as the couple invites visitors to join them to sign the wedding guest book. The goal is to have fun and let the couple know, so none of this should feel like work.
15. Don’t: Leave Behind Your Wedding Favor
Okay, so you might not need another bottle opener or appreciate that personalized set of matches. Still, the couple spent a lot of time and money creating those souvenirs to appreciate your presence on their special day. Take it with you and toss it once the day is done if it’s not something you really desire.
Even though there are many social niceties and wedding guest etiquette guidelines, they are simple to follow. Making an effort to be a considerate and accommodating guest goes much further than you may imagine, especially considering how much time, money, and effort couples invest in their big day. At the end of the day, your pleasant demeanor is a simple way to show your support for the happy couple. The newlyweds will appreciate it!