A wedding is a very special occasion not only for the affianced couple but also for their family and friends. It takes a great deal of time, money and energy to plan. If you are invited to a wedding, do make sure that you help make the celebration more memorable and enjoyable by being on your best behavior.
Make certain that you familiarize yourself with the basic dos and don’ts to avoid embarrassing yourself, upsetting the other guests, and most especially, upsetting the couple!
Here is our guide to the Top 10 wedding etiquette for wedding guests to make sure that everyone has a great time.
1. Don’t bring uninvited guests (to the wedding or rehearsal dinner)
If the invitation does not say “your name plus one” please refrain from bringing a date, a relative, or any additional guest/s such as your kids. You may be excited to introduce your new girlfriend/boyfriend to the world but remember that it is the couples’ prerogative (and resources) as to how many guests (and who) they want to be present on their special day. Similarly, do not ask if you can invite a guest, this will put the couple in an uncomfortable position. First off, this isn’t your wedding. There may be a very good reason why only your name is on the invitation; such as budget (because you are basically asking them to pay for your plus one’s dinner). There are many other reasons why only your name is on that invitation –if you really don’t want to go without your date, you can politely decline. But remember that you should be grateful that you were invited to their very special day.
2. Do RSVP… just for yourself!
Okay, so your sister is getting married, it’s obvious that you’re going; therefore you don’t feel the need to RSVP. Wrong. Always respond on time on whether you will be attending or not –an email, Facebook message, text message, a phone call, a nice card –there are a hundred different and convenient ways to simply let the couple know you will be present. Why? Some venues require final guest counts; there are wedding tokens that need to be ordered, place cards that need to be made, seating arrangements, etc. Planning a wedding is no walk in the park; the least you could do is send word. Also, for those with kids, if you RSVP, make sure it’s only for those on the invitation. In connection with number 1, don’t put the couple in an awkward position by assuming that the whole family is invited, if the invitation is just addressed to you and your partner don’t assume that the kids are invited –chances are, they aren’t.
3. Be on time
Even if you are not in the programme, it’s basic good manners to be on time for a special event. Being “Fashionably late” is not an option because even if people keep telling you that ceremonies never start on time, they actually do, and walking in in the middle of it is a big no-no. However, don’t be too early either, like an hour early. If you do arrive very early, kill your time at a nearby café.
4. Don’t be a camera hog
There is absolutely no need for you to be in every photo. Additionally, if there is a professional photographer, and most likely there will be, don’t get in the way. There are some guests who have a habit of following the photographer around and taking their own documentation of the wedding asking other guests to hold their poses so they can snap their own photos –this will get in the way of the schedule and may delay the reception. If you really want to take photos, do it away from the photo session happening and most especially don’t encumber guests by asking them to pose for you.
5. Don’t bring a present to the wedding
Don’t bring the gift to the wedding as this will be a hassle to the newlyweds. You have a year to send a gift to the bride and groom, but do it within two months so you don’t forget. Also, before picking out a gift, ask the couple’s close friends or family if they have registered anywhere. If you will be sending a cheque, leave the name field blank as writing either both the couple’s name or misspelling the name will post problems with the bank. It’s embarrassing for the couple to send back the cheque asking for you to correct it.
6. Don’t turn the reception into a wild party
It’s okay to drink at weddings –after all weddings are fun. But remember not too get drunk as it may cause unattractive situations. You don’t want to cause an embarrassing scene and be remembered as “the drunk at the wedding”.
7. Be conscious of your words
Don’t ask things like “so how much did you pay for all this?” or “who paid for all of this?” Financial questions are invasive and really none of your concern. Don’t give out money-related (unsolicited) advice or negative remarks about the wedding, such as “How much did you get this 6-tiered cake for? I know a bakery that makes the best wedding cakes for a real bargain”.
Similarly, refrain from voicing out frustrations. If the wedding didn’t turn out as you expected –such as delays, bad food, not enough food, no open bar or whatnot. Complaining about the wedding is not okay during the wedding or even after the wedding. Not only is this very rude but also very insensitive towards the couple who appreciated you enough to request your presence on their special day.
8. Dress appropriately
The dress code is usually indicated in the invitation, please do follow it. If there is no motif, avoid wearing white at all cost, you don’t want to be rude and upstage the bride –unless the invitation says so. Also, remember that a wedding is usually a classy event, do not wear something that is flashy or revealing. Wear something tasteful and put together but nothing too ostentatious as you don’t want to draw all the attention to you, the couple’s should be the stars of the show.
9. Don’t make requests to the DJ or Wedding band/singer
You’re not in a club and this isn’t the time to hear that LMFAO song. If the band, DJ or whoever is taking care of the songs didn’t play your favourite song there is a good reason for that. The couple have paid good money to this professional to be responsible for the music and most likely, the couple have already reviewed the songs that they want, and didn’t want, to play at wedding.
10. Do not make a toast if you are not invited to
If the couple did not specifically ask you to make a speech/toast at the wedding, do not do so. The couple carefully chose which guest will make a speech –so even if you know you are a modern day Shakespeare, please keep your amazing prose to yourself. And if you are invited to make a speech, please do not embarrass them by talking about past exploits, ex-lovers or anything remotely offensive; those kinds of toasts are only okay in movies.