Here are 10 helpful tips for Wedding Guest Etiquette. Whether you are family or a friend, attending a wedding carries with it the responsibility to support the couple on their significant day. Guest protocol is important so the bride and groom can enjoy the planning and the wedding day without undue distraction.
If the wedding invitation includes an RSVP with an addressed envelope, send your response before the requested deadline. Your timely response is important. Many decisions are made based on the number of people who will be attending. Once you comment to attend, make sure you keep your promise.
Who Is Invited?
Be sensitive about bringing a guest with you that has not been invited, especially when a meal is going to be provided. If the invitation has just your name on it, you can assume you are the only invited guest. However, if the invitation says, “and partner” or something like “the Smith” family, then extra guests have been accounted for.
Dress appropriately. If the invitation does not include specific dress standards, dress your best but keep your wardrobe low key. Attire that screams “Look at Me” is unfair to the couple who should be the ones to shine on their special day. And the old adage, “Don’t Wear White” still applies. The only one in white should be the bride.
Be On Time
If you are invited to the ceremony, leave your home in plenty of time to arrive a little in advance so you can be seated before the ceremony begins. If, for some reason you arrive late, wait until the processional is completely finished before entering the room. Slip in quietly and remain at the back of the room. Or, you can wait in the foyer and join the celebration later.
Religious or Cultural Traditions
Be respectful of the couple’s religious or cultural traditions. Dress accordingly, which may mean you may need adjust your wardrobe. When an unfamiliar ritual is being performed be respectful and attentive.
If seating at the luncheon or dinner has been prearranged, abide by the wishes of the bride and groom and sit at your designated table. You can be assured the couple has spent a great deal of time considering relationships by placing their guests at particular tables.
When the couple has retained a professional photographer give them the space to do their job. Standing behind the photographer snapping photos with you camera or cell phone is distracting to the photographer as well as the subjects having their picture taken. In fact, it’s just pain rude. If you want to take a few candid photos after the formal photo session has ended, keep it discrete and keep our of the way of the professional who may also be taking candid shots during the celebration.
If you have snapped photos or video of the wedding event on your phone, refrain from posting them on Instagram, Facebook or any social media without the couple’s expressed permission and only AFTER the couple has posted their own photos first. Post only appropriate shots that are flattering to the couple. Posting unattractive shots will do you no favors with your relationship the bride and groom.
Keep Yourself In Check
Show your support for the newlyweds by keeping yourself in check. You can participate in the activities, and have a good time without making yourself the center of attention. Uninvited toasts, partaking of too much “Bubbly”, uninvited advances toward other guests, loud or inappropriate conversations are just a few ways you can hinder the evening. I can assure you, the couple we be aware.
If you are unable to attend the ceremony or reception is it appropriate to send a gift to the their home before the wedding or after the event. If at all possible, select gifts from the wedding registry, as some couple may already have some items due to varying circumstance, such as the bride’s trousseau or a previous marriage.
Rebecca Carter – Clarion Gardens Utah County weddings and catering