Summer wedding season is here and it’s always a great excuse to get dressed up, enjoy fancy signature drinks and dance the night away. But don’t forget, the fact the happy couple wants you to share in their big day is also a privilege not to be taken advantage of! Remember, they’ve spent months planning this special event and are footing the bill so it’s best to be the most awesome guest in return.
There is a lot to take in as a wedding guest and every wedding is different so make sure to know what is expected of you before you go. It’s a big day for the couple and they’ve spent countless hours preparing and planning an event of a lifetime. Here are 10 important dos and don’t when it comes to wedding guest etiquette.
Don’t: Assume You Can Bring a Plus-One
It’s very important to read exactly how your invitation is addressed. Unless it states “and guest,” please don’t assume you can bring a plus-one. Weddings are expensive and usually 100% planned for, sometimes down to every last seat. In most cases, the couple would probably love to extend a plus-one invite to everyone, but it might be out of their control. Note, if the invite is addressed to you only, you can assume that means no plus-one. And, unless you think there’s been a mistake, please don’t ask for an exception.
Do: RSVP Before the Deadline
Listen, we understand that mail can be hard to keep track of sometimes, especially during wedding season when it seems like everyone is getting married! But remember, your RSVP is needed to finish up some of the wedding planning like providing final guest counts to caterers and making seating charts. Planning a wedding is already a lot of work, and the bride and groom don’t need to be following up with each and every guest. Make it easy for them and RSVP early, like right away. Do it as soon as you get the invite and check your calendar. Your friends will truly appreciate your swift return of the RSVP card. And don’t hesitate to include a nice, warm note of congratulations and thank you in your RSVP too.
Don’t: Ignore the Dress Code
No one likes to feel out of place when it comes to attire. Being both overdressed or underdressed can cause you to feel uncomfortable in any social gathering. So remember, dress codes are there to help you feel comfortable, not to make you dress a certain way. A dress code helps a guest choose the right outfit that will fit the tone of the event. And if the couple suggests specific dress code thoughts, they are probably doing so for a good reason. If in doubt, it’s always better to dress more up, than more down. Oh, and don’t wear white!
Do: Read the Wedding Website
The happy couple has either emailed, sent with their invitation or posted their wedding website to all their social media accounts. Make sure you visit it. Check there first before contacting the couple with any last minute questions. These wedding websites have become so much more than just a slideshow! They can be full of information, and most couples create them specifically to share information and spare themselves from being bombarded with questions from guests. The website will likely also provide a schedule, registries and venue details. They usually also disclose any discounts for booking hotels or secret travel tips.
Do: Be Punctual
Being on time is one of the most important things you can do as a guest. Every bit of this day is scheduled from the walking down the aisle to the cutting of the cake so while it might be acceptable for the bridal party to be fashionably late, it’s not okay for the guests to be!
Make sure to arrive at the ceremony at least 15 minutes prior to the scheduled ceremony time. If you aren’t familiar with the area or venue, then make sure to build in a little extra travel time to allow for getting lost and parking.
Don’t: Take Photos During the Ceremony
Many couples nowadays are opting for unplugged or device free ceremonies and with good reason. Just about every wedding photographer out there will tell you that the most beautiful ceremony shots can be completely ruined by those lovely guests who pull out their phones to capture the moment themselves. But if the couple hasn’t invited you to take photos, then keep the phone put away and just enjoy the moment. It’s the pro’s job anyways. Plus, the happy couple is likely to post their gorgeous photos from the wedding at a later date for everyone to see.
Do: Leave the Bride Alone
Any time before the wedding is reserved for family and wedding party only. Don’t try to pop in and say hi while the bride is getting ready or call her that morning with questions. Do. Not. I can promise you that there is at least one other person who can answer any questions you might have the morning of the wedding. The bride is so busy and will have enough to worry about that day.
Listen, everyone loves to indulge in a drink or two and everyone loves an open bar at a wedding. Just make sure you don’t overdo it. Because no one likes the drunk guy (or girl) at a wedding. The food is one of the best things that guests talk about after weddings. Be mindful of your serving sizes if it is buffet style and open bar. By all meas, enjoy the food and drinks but don’t take advantage. Keep it classy.
Do: Bring a Gift
Make sure you bring a gift. It’s best to stick to the registry. Most couples these days already own a bunch of things so the registries are a great way to get the couple what they really want. If you are risking going off the registry, make sure it’s something you know the couple will love.
Do: Have a Good Time
When it comes down to it, the couple wants everyone to have a great time celebrating. Everything chosen for this day has been thoughtfully selected to create an awesome experience and you should enjoy it! Dance and mingle with other guests in honor of the happy couple. Enjoy all that’s been organized for the evening like lawn games or the photo booth. Keep any negative comments to yourself and, instead, put your best foot forward to cherish every moment of the night.
Although weddings are always a lot of fun, it’s important to acknowledge all the work involved to bring them to fruition. They are a huge task for any couple, which makes being a wedding guest even more special. So next time you receive a beautifully pressed new wedding invitation, keep these 10 dos and don’ts in mind from the RSVP to the reception. Not only will this show your appreciation to the happy couple, but you can also help them enjoy a stress-free celebration and create memories for a lifetime!