Wedding Etiquette For Guests

Wedding etiquette can be a bit tricky especially in this day and age when many of the traditional rules and customs are no longer adhered to very strictly if at all. Brides and grooms have a lot on their plate when trying to make sure that their guests are accommodated and that everyone involved is content. Wedding planning can be a rather overwhelming task for a couple as often times they face several family members with expectations of what should be happening. This makes it all the more important for guests to use proper etiquette when attending a wedding. The couple will be very appreciative of your efforts and you will be able to relax and enjoy the event.

Let’s Start At The Very Beginning

In many cases you have will have received a save-the-date several months before a wedding so that you are able to plan ahead. Hopefully, you did indeed save that date so that when your invitation arrives it will be simple to reply promptly with your response. Make sure that you RSVP as soon as possible and adhere to the RSVP date provided on the invitation. The bride and groom will be making many decisions that depend on the number of guests attending their wedding. Responding late can cause unnecessary problems and stress for the couple and even affect their budget!

Method Of Response

With the fast and simple ways that people communicate with one another today, some guests wonder what the appropriate way to RSVP to an invitation is. The best way to respond in the same form that you were invited. You very likely received an invitation in the mail, in which case a stamped response card should be included for you to use. There are many couples though, who have chosen a more “green” approach to their invites by emailing them. In this case, a response via email would be completely appropriate.

Plus One

If you are wondering if you are able to bring a date to the wedding, check your invitation. If your invitation does not specify that you and a guest are invited then the couple has only invited you to the event. It would not be considered appropriate to ask if you can bring someone with you because you would be asking the host to pay for another person. Weddings are expensive and most couples put a lot of thought into who they want to spend their day with them. Many must assess how many people they can afford to invite, and by asking to bring another person there is a financial burden being placed on the couple.

Hire A Babysitter

Similar to the plus one situation, when it comes to children and babies look at the invitation. If the event is considered adults only then do not expect the couple to make an exception for your children. This was probably a tough call for the couple knowing that many of their family and guests could become upset so do not add any extra stress by asking for an exception or bringing your kids anyway.

Wedding Attire

After RSVPing to a wedding, one of the first things that many guests begin to consider is what will they wear to the event. While everyone wants to look their best it is important to remember that you never want to outshine the newlyweds on their day.

One of the biggest rules that still applies today is: Never wear white to a wedding. Some dresses may have some white in the patterns and as long as it is not the primary color, they should be acceptable attire. On the opposite side of the spectrum, there is an old rule that states women should not wear black dresses to a wedding. This seems to be one of those rules of etiquette that no longer applies today. With the variety of attire available, guests should be able to find something appropriate that makes them feel fantastic.

Dress Codes

If there is a specific way that one should dress for a wedding, the wedding invitation will tell you what it is. Black tie weddings mean that tuxedos and gowns are the appropriate attire for the event but if the dress code black tie optional dark suits and cocktail dresses would work for the event. The time of day and location of the wedding will also indicate to guests the type of attire that most fitting. For instance, if the wedding is being held on a beach the dress code is going to be more casual.

Gift Giving

You have been invited to a wedding and would like to purchase a gift for the couple from their registry but can’t find it! Most couples will not put where they are registered on the invitation because it can appear rude. They may, however, include the URL to their wedding website. Use this to find all pertinent information related to the wedding including the wedding registries. If there is no wedding website, try asking close family members or members of the bridal party. If you still can’t get an answer, you can always ask the couple themselves.

To Ship Or Not To Ship?

While there is no problem with giving the couple a gift from their registry rather than a monetary gift, it can be a bit of a burden to carry the gift into the wedding, especially if it is large. If you choose to give a gift other than money, consider shipping it to the couple directly to avoid difficulty the day of the event. There is usually an option right on the registry to do so with the address automatically saved and set up for the bride and groom.

Mind Your Manners

You should always be polite and well behaved when attending any events but weddings may have few additional rules to keep in mind.

  • Arrive on time -This is one of the most important days in the couple’s life and they have asked you to share it with them. Be respectful and show up a little early so you aren’t walking in with the bride!
  • Attend both the ceremony and reception – Ceremonies may not be the most fun but they are the reason for the whole celebration. While there may be a few exceptions, if the couple invited you to the wedding you should be there for the whole event, the ceremony included.
  • Don’t Get Really Drunk. – Ask any married couple and they can probably tell you a story about a cousin or friend at their wedding that took the partying too far and acted foolishly. Keep in mind that the couple’s entire family is present and will see everything you do! Don’t embarrass the newlyweds or yourself by becoming intoxicated and doing something you will regret later.
  • Don’t Make A Speech Unless You Were Asked To. – This one is pretty self-explanatory. You do not need to draw attention to yourself on a day that is about the couple. Keep the attention on the newlyweds and the select individuals who are invited to toast them.
    • If you were invited to give a speech or toast be polite. It is never a good idea to bring up an ex, no matter how easy going the bride or groom may be.
  • Have Fun! – Interact with other guests, participate in any activities that you feel comfortable joining in on, and enjoy yourself.
By |2018-03-21T15:06:21+00:00March 21st, 2018|weddings|Comments Off on Wedding Etiquette For Guests

About the Author:

Luke Wistar Morris was part of the Morris family who built what is now the Morris House Hotel. Luke had many interests including brewing beer, and was an engineer in Philadelphia. Follow Luke on Google+
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