Perhaps your sister is getting married this summer, or you’re invited to a number of friends’ weddings in the span of a few months’ time. Whatever the case, there’s plenty of stuff to do as a wedding guest, even if you aren’t a member of the bridal party! Check out the ultimate list of what you need to know before you attend your next wedding, and remember, be gracious and have fun!
Do not, repeat, do not bring a guest unless the couple has indicated that you can do so on the invitation.
Be sure to double check that you wrote your name on the RSVP card.
Leave the kids at home unless they are part of the wedding party. It may not be mentioned in the invite, but that’s not a reason to bring them.
RSVP on time!
General Etiquette Tips
Don’t text or call the bride the day of the wedding to ask questions or discuss whatever issues you’re having–she has enough to do.
Be present! Put the phone and the camera down, and celebrate with the bride and groom!
The pretty sparkly plates at your place setting? Those are chargers. Do not use them as dinner plates.
Bring a gift, even if it’s a small one. If you are purchasing a gift, send it to the couples home instead of bringing it to the reception. Cards are always a nice touch.
Be there on time! Whatever the start time says on the invitation, show up at least 25 minutes beforehand.
Read all of the information on the accommodations card and wedding website so you don’t have to ask the bride or groom for anything in the days leading up to the ceremony.
Stay out of the gosh-darn aisle during the ceremony!
Avoiding grabbing items you find. This includes an umbrella covering the photographer’s equipment, candles, centerpieces, other people’s favors and jackets.
Don’t attempt to turn your friend’s wedding into your family photoshoot/reunion–this is not the time or the place.
Please remember the bride’s wishes. If the planner tells you that the reception space isn’t open until a certain time, don’t argue.
Know that the photographer will get the shots that the bride and groom want. It’s not on you to capture every moment.
Refrain from jumping in front of the photographer with your own camera during important events.
Avoid talking to the photographer during the ceremony.
Don’t take your own photos next to or near the photographer.
Remember that vendors involved with a wedding most likely know more about what’s happening when and why.
The couple hired a professional photographer for a reason! They don’t need you to do it, or any other guest. Just sit back and enjoy everything.
Dress according to the weather, and check the weather report before you leave. Sweaters and or umbrellas may be necessary.
Dress according to the setting. Use the invitation to determine the style of the wedding and recommended attire. If you can’t figure it out from that, ask fellow attendees, not the bride.
And while this is obvious, for goodness sake don’t wear white!
Please remember that the bride and groom (and perhaps their parents) are paying for you to eat and drink. Your job is to enjoy it!
The couple *really* wants you to dance and use the photo booth! Like, really.
At the reception, don’t assume “extra” favors such as cameras, candies, centerpieces, bottles of champagne, etc. are yours to take! Unless the couple tells you to take what you want, don’t!
Arrive at cocktail hour when it starts, and stay the entire time. The bride and groom likely have a plan for this event, so keep that in mind.
Don’t try to push and shove your way into the reception because you’re ready to sit down. Everyone else wants to sit down, too.