Share this with your wedding guests, they will thank you!
Hopefully you know not to show up wearing jeans and a tank top, but there are other things to consider when it comes to being a good wedding guest. Here is a quick etiquette cheat sheet on how to please the bride and groom, and earn a pass to future events.
- RSVP in a timely manner, and make sure you get the count right. Do not RSVP for less, or more, wedding guests than show. Make sure you RSVP right away, or well before the deadline. And make sure you show up to the wedding as planned.
- Arrive early. Making an entrance when the bride is about to walk down the aisle, or worse after, is not acceptable. Plan to be in your seat 30 minutes ahead of time. If there is an unforeseen issue preventing you from getting to the wedding ceremony on time like heavy traffic, late babysitter or car problems, wedding guests should never interrupt a wedding ceremony. Wait until the I do's are done and guests have left their seats to join the celebration.
- Wait to be seated. Most ceremonies reserve the first rows of seating for the bridal party, immediate family, and grandparents. Ushers are usually in place to properly seat wedding guests.
- If there is a photographer, you do not need to act as paparazzi in the background. Your phone can be a major distraction to you throughout the day, and even more so for a bride and groom at their wedding ceremony. The couple wants to look out and see your smiling faces, not the back of your phone or, even worse, your iPad, beaming back at them. Unless otherwise instructed, wedding guests should keep phones and all cameras out of sight until the reception.
- I know your mom told you never to follow the crowd, but a wedding is an event that requires following along. Is everyone expected to join in on the first dance? You should dance, too. In accepting the couple’s invitation, wedding guests are implying that they will play along with whatever the wedding party throws your way. The bride has been dreaming of this day for a long time, and your happiness and accommodating attitude will help make it just as wonderful as they imagined.
- Giving a speech is an honor. Usually the father of the bride, best man and maid of honor are expected to give a speech. If you are in one of these positions, or have been asked to give a speech or toast at the wedding be prepared. Plan ahead what you will say. Being called upon to say something witty, eloquent, touching, and profound to a room full of people can leave even the most outgoing person tongue-tied. But do not worry, the point is to say something from the heart, not entertain every single wedding guest.
- Keep yourself in check. Wedding guests drinking to ridiculous excess is not just unbecoming, it’s dangerous and rude. When the bride and groom provide an open bar, they are providing a courtesy, and paying a lot for it. A great way to show gratitude: Pace yourself so you can continue to toast the happy couple well through the conclusion of the wedding.
- Wedding guests should not take anything from the venue. Even the centerpieces on the tables may be rented, always ask the bride before taking anything with you.
- Not only should a wedding guest dress appropriately, this usually means a dress for women and slacks for men, you should never wear all white. You should probably not wear all black, unless it is a black tie affair. Even if you wear a colored belt, shoes, clutch, etc., just avoid a solid black or white dress altogether. All white is reserved for the bride, and black signifies mourning.
- Purchase gifts from the bridal registry. Do not give what you think they will like, they have created this registry for a reason. If you do not like anything on their registry then your alternative is money.