17 Tips to be the Best Wedding Guest
Keep Your Invitation.
Always keep your wedding invitation! Never text the couple asking the address of their wedding location or “What should I wear?” When someone mails you an invitation, not only did a couple pay money for said invitation but it also had a lot of very important information and details like start time, location, parking info, address, map, wedding attire. Probably any question you have will be in the invitation, so put it in a safe spot, hang it up on the fridge, write the info in your phone but DO NOT text the bride or groom a couple days before “Hey what’s your venue called?” They spent time putting together those resources for a reason. Believe me they have other things they are organizing the month/week before their wedding, don’t make things harder by having them answer questions that they’ve already written the answers to! If you do feel like you have an urgent question, then think of the closest person you know to the bride and groom and ask them.
RSVP ON TIME!
There will be a date that the couple kindly asks you to RSVP by (also please don’t forget to write your name) this date is super important for the couple to stay organized, give their caterers and vendors a final guest count… and finish the daunting task of seating arrangements. So as soon as you know if it’s a yes or no, send your RSVP back. Don’t wait until the last minute. Thinking you don’t need to RSVP because of coursethe bride and groom know you’re coming? They don’t.
Don’t Ask to Bring a Plus One!
If your invitation doesn’t specify that you are given a plus one, do not text the couple asking to bring someone. The couple has worked hard at their guest list which is already hard enough to narrow down, and there could be tons of reasons you are not given a plus one. It’s nothing personal—could be a venue limit. You will be putting the couple in an uncomfortable position by asking. If it isn’t on the invite, it’s not on there for a reason!
You Shouldn’t Assume Your Children are Automatically Invited.
Some couples prefer not to write “Kid free wedding” or “adults only” on their invitations. Instead, the responsibility is on you to interpret the wording on the envelope. If it’s addressed to “The _____ Family” on the outside, or if the names of you and your children are listed individually on the inner envelope, you are free to bring the whole gang. If not, hire a babysitter! Sorry!
Make Dietary Restrictions Known Well in Advance.
If you receive a meal card and you are vegan/gluten free/ dairy free/ have an allergy and there is nowhere for you to write it down… contact the couple ahead of time to let them know so they can arrange with the caterer a special option for you. Don’t wait until the last minute to do this though!
Show Up On Time.
Respect the invitations and do not show up late and think you can sneak in and grab a spot! Wedding timelines are well thought out and made for a reason, and sneaking in during the middle of the vows is just disrespectful. Or showing up late and potentially walking in at the same time as a bridal party members or (let’s hope not) the brides grand entrance! If I’m being honest when I say show up on time, I mean show up 30 minutes before the requested time. If there is an unforeseen obstacle preventing you from getting to the ceremony on time—heavy traffic, late babysitter, wardrobe malfunction, you’re lost,can’t find parking etc etc… never interrupt a ceremony service. Politely wait until the ceremony is over to join the rest of the guests. For weddings, there’s no such thing as “fashionable late” Only the to-be-weds are welcome to make a show stopping entrance at this event.
Respect an “Unplugged’ Ceremony.
If the couple specifically requests an unplugged ceremony please put away your phone. This is exactly why wedding photographers are hired to capture the moments, not your iPhone photos. 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. Not to mention this is just a huge annoyance for the photographers. When they are editing photos, only to see a ton of iPhones up in the air in a beautiful ceremony shot. Be present, you are there to celebrate and soak in the most special day! You won’t be capturing anything the hired team isn’t. Just don’t play paparazzi, enjoy yourself and leave it to the pros.
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Double Check That Your Phone is on Silent for the Ceremony
Along with the unplugged ceremony, please make sure your phone is on silent! The last thing anyone wants to hear is your phone’s “DING” going off in the middle of the vows! Also will save you from the embarrassment of everyone looking around to see whose phone that was.
Don’t Show Up & Immediately Ask Where the Bar is.
MOST weddings don’t have pre-ceremony cocktails and if they do it will be made obvious where to find them. This rule exists for good reason—maybe the couple didn’t pay for bar service to start that early, or they just don’t want their guests to be wasted during the ceremony & before cocktail hour even starts! Also, drinking before the ceremony creates the need for clean up and the photographers will most likely be taking pre-ceremony photos of the entire setup, and those photos will look a whole lot nicer without empty glasses in the way, or staff members walking by to clean up after your drinks! So just wait, ceremonies are generally very quick (unless of course it’s a church ceremony, and in that case, you don’t need to be getting a buzz before church!) and when the bar is open… you will know!
Don’t be a Music Snob.
For the DJ, a couple requests are fine but chances are the DJ has worked hard with the bride and group to set up a playlist they think all their guest will enjoy! So just have a good time with what’s being played, it’s not your day to steal the dance floor. Let the newlyweds have their fun!
Wait Your Turn.
If the wedding is a buffet style, and someone is excusing tables to the buffet station, please do not take it upon yourself to excuse yourself and cut in line. Everyone is hungry, you are not more important than anyone else here. I promise that you will eat when it’s your turn!
Don’t Name Yourself a VIP Guest.
Don’t automatically assume you are a VIP guest and an exception to any rules because you think you are very close to the bride and groom. When a coordinator or staff member asks you to sit, not eat desserts yet… We have our reasons! “But I’m the Groom’s mom’s best friend…” yes, good for you! But unless you’re the bride or groom…all rules apply.
Take Home Your Party Favor & Participate!
The couple put a lot of thought and money into sending you home with a party favor or a thank you gift! Don’t forget to take it home with you. No bride likes to see at the end of the night 80% of her handmade thank you gifts all left on the tables. And if there’s a photobooth or station that requires you to fill out a “date night idea” or “friendly marriage advice”, be a good sport and participate. Sign the guestbook, it may seem unimportant to you, but the wedding is oftentimes a big blur for the couple, and they’ll want to remember everyone who attended. It will mean more than you know to the newlyweds.
Congratulate the Family!
It’s a given that you will congratulate the newlyweds, but don’t forget about their families. This is an equally special day for them, and a lot of the times the parents have helped a lot with the wedding. Even if you’ve never met the couple’s parents, seek them out to introduce yourself, thank them and tell them how much you are enjoying the wedding… also doesn’t hurt to toss in a few compliments about their son or daughter… and maybe for bonus points compliment their attire… Mother of the brides and grooms work hard finding the perfect dress too! This small gesture will go a long way.
Don’t Compare or Criticize Details.
Never talk about your opinions of the wedding, or compare the wedding you’re currently at to another wedding. This is a special day for two families, who have spent countless hours planning, and months of hard work to pull this all together. Their wedding is exactly what they wanted and they just don’t need the negativity! Also, there is no need to give your opinions on weddings in general, if you think they are a waste of money, or you don’t like when people do a certain tradition, keep it to yourself. You don’t love the food? Again, keep it to yourself. This isn’t YELP. If you are also a bride-to-be and in the process of planning your wedding, try your best to just keep your opinions about decor to yourself. Take mental notes about what you like and dislike about someone else’s wedding, but on the night- or day-of, keep it positive! Your day will come soon, put yourself in the bride’s shoes!
Do Not Wear White (DUH).
I almost felt like I didn’t need to write this one because it’s so obvious, yet when I’m working or attending weddings I still see people showing up in white. I’m sorry but a white dress with a couple florals on it… still too much white. Ivory and creams… to me, that’s white. There are so many colors to choose from, there’s really no reason you should ever be wearing any white at a wedding unless of course it’s a white themed wedding, then you’re good.
Never Show Up Empty Handed.
Maybe the bride and groom don’t have a registry but if they do it’s because they have hand selected items they want or need for their new chapter, so they’ve already done the work for you. Just pick a gift from there. If the invitations don’t specify a registry or a “honeyfund” this doesn’t mean you show up with nothing. Of course, only buy a gift that’s within your means. Can’t afford one? Let the bride and groom know money is tight and you hope your presence will do well as a present (especially if it’s costing you money to join the wedding). But, ALWAYS get a card; they will of course understand. You could even offer to help with wedding preparations in lieu of a gift. You were invited because you are special to the couple, so it’s only right to reciprocate the gesture with what you can! When it’s your turn you’ll know the feeling.
There you have it, a few tips to be an all star guest and make the couple’s planning process just that much easier and their wedding that much more enjoyable! And keep the bride happy!!