Attending a wedding is an honor that should be treated as such. With that in mind, here is a list of wedding guest etiquette to get you through wedding season.
1. Don’t forget to RSVP
The bride and groom spend a lot of thought going through their guest list and carefully selecting those they want to attend their special day. They hand select colours, type faces, papers, and hunt down your address for the invitation. Many couples make it particularly easy to RSVP by including an email address or website you can RSVP to so there’s really no hassle involved. With this in mind, it only seems fair that the guest respond in a timely member, and at the very least before the deadline so the couple doesn’t have to track you down.
2. Don’t bring a guest unless you’re invited to do so
I never thought this was a thing until I attended a wedding where the bride’s cousin showed up with a plus one that wasn’t on the guest list. Weddings are expensive! It makes sense that if you’re not in a substantial relationship you wouldn’t be allowed to bring the person you met at the bar before to the biggest day of your loved one’s life.
3. If your wedding invitation says it will be an adult-only event, do not try to bring your children
This is another situation that I didn’t realize existed until I heard several horror stories from friends who had people show up at their wedding ceremony or reception with children in tow, despite including ‘Adult Only’ on the invitation. Many people assume their entire family is invited and some people feel like if their kids aren’t invited, neither are they and they don’t end up attending at all. Enjoy the time off from your kids and have an enjoyable date night. More importantly, respect the couple’s wishes – it’s not your day.
4. Don’t wear white/lace/beading
Lace and beading are often associated with wedding gowns which is why wearing dresses with these details is frowned upon. More importantly though, PLEASE don’t wear white. It’s unbelievable how much white stands out in a group picture and if there’s more than one person wearing white in the group picture, it becomes painfully obvious and steals the light from the bride. It’s her day, let her have her moment. Don’t wear white/ivory.
5. Turn off the volume on your phone before the ceremony starts
This pretty much speaks for itself, but no one wants to hear your Lady Gaga ringtone during a romantic wedding ceremony.
6. Do not try to put your amateur photography skills to the test
Chances are the bride and groom spent a pretty penny on their wedding photographer and if that’s the case, the last thing they want is you photobombing their photo as you try to capture the best possible iPhone snap you can for Instagram.
7. Bring a wedding present/give what you can afford
Even if it’s a card, do not come to a wedding empty handed. Traditionally, guests are expected to bring a monetary amount that covers the approximate cost of their plate. Even if you’re unable to do that, you should at least give what you can afford to ensure the couple doesn’t start their new chapter in copious amounts of debt.
8. Don’t be the first or last to leave the reception
If you’re the first to leave the reception, you look bored. If you’re the last to leave, the bride and groom are likely hanging around waiting for you to leave so they can wrap up their long day. Somewhere in the middle is ideal in this situation.
Happy wedding season!