Wedding Etiquette: The DOs and DON’Ts for guests

Have you ever been to an event and encountered that one guest whose behavior was nothing short of “questionable”? We don’t want you to ever be that guest, so we have created a list of 23 guidelines on wedding etiquette. If you are one half of the future couple forward it to your guests or feel free to use it for guidance to create your own.

  • DO RSVP by the deadline or sooner. The bride and groom will need a headcount and adequate time to make the necessary arrangements. 
  • DON’T change your RSVP at the last minute. Do not show up on the day of the wedding if you said you were not going to attend. This can throw off seating and meal arrangements.
  • DO send in your RSVP in the same manner you receive your invitation, unless otherwise instructed. If you receive an invitation by mail, proper etiquette would be to mail in your RSVP.
  • DON’T assume that you can bring a plus one or kids. If the invitation does not specify that you can bring a guest, do not bring one. Likewise, if you are unsure if children are welcome, you should not let them tag along.
  • DO have a talk with your kids beforehand about expected behavior, keep an eye on younger ones, and ensure that they have everything they would need if they are invited.
  • DON’T be late! The bride and groom have a limited amount of time in the venue, and they must maximize it. Walking in late can also disturb the proceedings.
  • DO dress appropriately. Follow the dress code, keep it classy, and avoid wearing white which is usually reserved for the bride.
  • DON’T call the bride and groom for the information you can easily get from someone else. The soon to be newlyweds are busy and should be allowed time to focus on their wedding planning.
  • DO bring a wedding gift. It does not have to be big and serves as a lovely gesture to show your appreciation and well wishes.
  • DON’T forget to turn-off/mute your phone. You do not want to be the one whose ringtone interrupts the nuptials.
  • DO avoid the Bridal Suite. The preparation is a special time for the bride. Let her enjoy it without interruptions.
  • DON’T sit until you are seated. Seating is usually specially arranged at weddings. Wait until you are escorted to your assigned seat, so as not to cause any confusion.
  • DO stay for the duration of the event. Leaving a ceremony early can cause as much of a distraction as coming late.
  • DON’T criticize the ceremony. Make no negative comments about the length or nature of the ceremony. Be respectful.
  • DO be cooperative. Take part in any activities that have been organized. The newlyweds will feel good knowing that their guests are having a good time.
  • DON’T bring any minor problems to their attention that can be addressed by someone else. Does the bride really need to know that your chicken is cold? Let them enjoy their event.
  • DO congratulate the couple, keeping it brief.
  • DON’T obstruct the photographer. Give them space to get that perfect shot. Avoid using flash photography as the photographer is working as it can be a distraction.
  • DO avoid posting pictures of the bride and groom before they have had a chance to do so.
  • DON’T get drunk. If you cannot handle your liquor, avoid it. You do not want to risk causing a scene and embarrassing both yourself and the couple.
  • DO be mindful of the venue. Be careful when handling glassware, moving chairs, and using facilities. If any damage is caused the cost will be incurred by the couple.
  • DON’T forget to sign the guest book and take home your party favor. The guestbook serves as a reminder of who spent their special day with them, while the party favor is their way of thanking you for coming.
  • DO Have Fun with the DJ!! Don’t be so caught up in trying to remember all of these rules that you forget to have a good time. Keep these etiquette guidelines in mind, and you will not have to worry about making a faux-pas at the next wedding you attend. Also, be reminded that the behavior expected at weddings differs according to the culture. If you are doubtful of what is expected of you as a guest, asking is always the best thing to do!

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