While you probably know not to show up to a wedding in flip flops and jeans, there’s still a few wedding guest etiquette tips to go over before attending your next wedding. Use the following “cheat sheet” to charm the heck out of the bride and groom and ensure your name is on all future guests lists:
1) RSVP On Time
Wedding invites are sent six to eight weeks before the wedding. Respond four weeks before the date so the bride and groom can get a final head count. This is necessary for vendors catering the event, as well as seating arrangements. The sooner you reply, the happier the bride and groom will be.
2) Don’t Bring a Plus One
Unless the invite says you can bring a plus one, for God’s sake don’t do it! There won’t be enough food or seating, and you’ll just annoy everyone.
3) Don’t Bring Kids Either
As with an uninvited plus one, don’t assume children are allowed at the wedding. Arrange for a sitter unless the bride and groom specifically tell you it’s okay to bring spawn.
4) Alert the Right People About Diet Restrictions
Vegan? Vegetarian? Gluten-free? Peanut allergies? Whatever your diet restrictions, let the wedding party know sooner rather than later. It’s much easier to arrange an alternative meal for you if you tell the bride and groom about your dietary needs when you RSVP.
5) Get There On Time!
A wedding is not an event where being late is even remotely acceptable. Plan to be in your seat 30 minutes before the ceremony, and if you are late due to unforeseen issues such as traffic, wait until after the ceremony is over to make your entrance.
6) Dress the Part
Dress to impress! Your invitation should explain the dress code, and if not, ask a member of the wedding party. Whatever the theme, it’s still important to look polished.
7) Wait for Seating
Let the ushers show you where your seat is–the first few rows are usually for family, so unless you’re a member, let the ushers do their job.
8) Stay Respectful of the Bridal Suite
The room where the bride is preparing for her big day is off limits. This means resisting the urge to “pop in” for a quick hello, as there will be plenty of time after the ceremony to do so.
9) Don’t Use Your Phone
Whether taking pictures or anything else, you aren’t a member of the paparazzi, so don’t use your phone–or worse–your iPad–during the ceremony. Again, there will be plenty of time for pictures at the reception.
10) Stay Offline
Avoid posting pictures and videos from the wedding to assorted social media sites without asking the happy couple first.
11) Be a Team Player
Is there a coat check? Use it. Are you expected to dance the night away? Do it. You accepted the invitation, so be up for whatever’s going down!
12) Keep Speeches Short
Have you been asked to give a speech? Keep it short and sweet. No one is interested in you droning on for half an hour. And remember, keep it appropriate–this is not the time to talk about college keg stands.
13) Don’t Get Sloshed
Drink responsibly! Yes, an open bar is nice, but it’s not an excuse to get rip-roaring wasted, especially if you don’t know how you’re getting home. It’s dangerous and just makes you look terrible.
14) Be Considerate of the Venue
Remember, you’re on rented property! Be considerate as such. After all, you want the couple to get their deposit back, yes?
15) Mail the Gift
To prevent the bride and groom from having to haul tons of boxes back to their hotel or wherever they’re staying, mail your gift. They will definitely, definitely appreciate it!
Use these tips to be the perfect wedding guest! Have fun!