Being invited to attend a wedding is a great honour! It means the bride and groom value you and your relationship to them, and want you to be a part of their special day. There are a few things you need to keep in mind when it comes to proper wedding etiquette for guests, and we’re here to help!
1. Always RSVP!
Whether you’re able to attend or not, always make sure to send back an RSVP. The bride and groom are responsible for providing final guest numbers to their vendors. This way they can make sure they have enough food, seating, etc. As soon as you know your reply, send in that RSVP! And while on that topic, don’t RSVP yes and then not show up or vice versa. The couple will be left paying for a guest who doesn’t show.
2. Plus Ones
Unless your invitation specifically states it, don’t assume that you can bring a plus one. The bride and groom may be trying to keep their numbers around a certain point so they can stay within budget. So if your invite doesn’t say “and guest”, don’t plan on bringing someone along with you. This is one of the most important things when it comes to wedding etiquette for guests!
3. Pay Attention to the Dress Code
Most wedding invitations will state what the dress code is. It could be anywhere from casual to semi-formal to black tie. Be sure to pay attention and dress appropriately. Don’t be that guest who shows up in jeans or shorts if the invitation says black tie! The couple picture their day to be a certain way, and there is a chance you will be in the background of photos. Make sure to look your best!
Another note on this – NEVER wear white to a wedding unless the dress code specifically asks for it. You have so many other colours to work with, so let the bride shine on her special day!
4. Be Mindful of the Photographer
The couple has hired a professional photographer to capture the best moments of their special day, so it’s important to make sure that you don’t get in their way! Many brides and grooms are making a note to request that their ceremony be an “unplugged ceremony” to help with this. If you just HAVE to have a photo, check to make sure you aren’t blocking the photographer before you snap that shot.
5. Be On Time
There is a reason that there are times on a wedding invitation, so make sure that you arrive with plenty of time to get situated before the festivities begin! If the ceremony starts at 1 PM, make sure you arrive at the location by 12:30 PM so you can be seated before it starts. Just because weddings can run late doesn’t mean you should!
6. Contacting the Bride
The week before the wedding is already stressful enough for the bride. If you can avoid sending her a message regarding the wedding, avoid it! If you have questions about the festivities, try asking another wedding guest or even a member of the bridal party, but never directly message the bride.
7. Gift Giving
Maybe the couple has asked their guests not to bring gifts, but never show up empty-handed. At least bring a card with you to congratulate the newlyweds! If you have opted to get the couple a gift, don’t bring anything that’s too big. If you have purchased them a larger gift, we suggest giving it to the couple after their big day. That way they aren’t left with trying to take it with them at the end of the night.
8. To Drink or Not to Drink
Now, we aren’t saying you can’t have some drinks to celebrate with the couple on their big day, but we do suggest keeping it classy. You don’t want to be that guest who is on the floor by 9 PM! Just because the drinks may be free (or relatively inexpensive) doesn’t mean you have to take advantage of that. Pace yourself and know when enough is enough.
9. Criticism isn’t Cool
Whether it’s the decor, the food, or the day altogether, NEVER be caught criticizing the festivities! The couple has gone through an agonizing process to choose the perfect look, food, bar menu, etc., so respect their decisions and just enjoy the day. It may not be what you would choose, but they’re happy with their decisions, so just relax and enjoy!
10. Kid Conundrum – To Invite or Not
Many couples are choosing to not include children on their special day. Maybe their venue doesn’t allow for it, or they just want to ensure that there are no disruptions during dinner. There’s nothing wrong with them choosing to have an adults-only celebration, so if you have kids and they aren’t invited, don’t take it personally! If you’ve been invited to a kid-free wedding and you aren’t comfortable leaving your kids at home, simply RSVP no.
Wedding etiquette for guests is something that everyone needs to consider and follow to ensure that the bride and groom have the perfect day!
Do you have any questions about wedding etiquette or about events in general? Contact us and we will do our best to help!