As wedding planners, we usually write blogs to serve as resources for engaged couples, or even other vendors in the industry. This time we decided to switch it up by offering tips on being a great wedding guest! We’re saying all the things couples wish they could say to their guests ahead of their wedding day! We love that weddings have become less about carrying out traditions just for the sake of doing them and more about creating new ones that reflect the couple. However, in all of these wonderful changes to weddings….wellm some of the guest etiquette has also gotten lost along the way and we’re going to tackle tips for being a better wedding guest here. The average cost of weddings has certainly increased over the years, so it’s more important than ever to make sure you don’t leave a couple regretting that they invited you to be a part of their special day!
Wondering if you have a plus one? If you are being offered a plus one, your guest’s name will be included on the inner envelope. If there is no inner envelope, the guest’s name (or simply “and guest”) should be on the outer envelope. Do not ask a couple for a plus one unless you’ve been in a long-term relationship (at least a year) and think the couple may have assumed it was implied your significant other will be accompanying you. However, be prepared for the couple to say there was no oversight, as weddings are expensive, and especially under current pandemic restrictions, couples often have to make the difficult decision to make cuts in the guest count.
MAKE SURE YOU RSVP and RSVP on time, by the date listed on the invitation. Couples use RSVPs to give final headcounts to caterers and rental companies and it is a time-sucking task for them to have to track down guests they haven’t heard back from during those final weeks leading up to the wedding.
Put away your phone during the ceremony (especially if it is an unplugged ceremony) and we recommend doing so for the reception as well! Imagine yourself in the professional photos and video standing by the dance floor with your phone in your face during the most special parts of the day like the toasts or first dances… it’s not a good look! After the dance floor opens and the party starts is a good time to grab those fun videos and pics with friends! Choose to be present and let the professionals capture the day!
If you do decide to discreetly snap a few quick photos, make sure your flash is off! Otherwise, it can interfere with the photographer and videographer’s shots.
This should be a no brainer, but don’t forget to silence your phone!
Unless the couples has given you their approval, do not post photos of them on social media after the wedding until they have had a chance to share first. Chances are, they will want their first photo to be one they’ve selected either from the photographer or their favorite that a guest has snapped. In the age of Instagram Stories and Snapchat, we do think it’s okay to share those (unless stated otherwise by the couple) but allow the couple to make the first official post before you start tagging them on the timeline.
Do NOT wear white! Women shouldn’t wear white dresses and men shouldn’t show up in a white tux (unless requested by the couple). That’s a huge wedding guest no-no!
Don’t dress crazy provocatively. Of course, we don’t want to be prudes but remember you’re going to be dancing in front of Grandma and you probably don’t want the goods falling out in front of her due to a wardrobe malfunction. It’s a wedding, not a club. 😉
Adhere to the dress code. Most couples will list the dress code on their invitation or wedding website such as “black tie” or “black tie optional”. If not listed, use clues based on the formality of the venue or ceremony start time to determine the dress code. If you are still unsure, don’t be afraid to ask the couple!
Pace yourself with the alcohol! You don’t want to be *that* person everyone remembers being hammered. Also, it’s embarrassing to be cut off by a bartender. Hydrate as you go and take it slow…several hours of a reception can sneak up on you real fast! After all, you’re going to want to remember the whole party!
Under absolutely no circumstances should you move any florals or decor. Maybe the centerpiece prevents you from being able to speak across the table, but understand the couple selected those flowers and paid for them to be there. You’ll just have to catch up with those friends after dinner or on the dance floor.
Leave the DJ alone unless they make announcements welcoming requests. Most couples have given the DJ a list of their preferred songs and genres to be played and the DJ is going to stick to that. Unless the couple asks you to do so, don’t annoy the DJ with song requests.
Don’t even think about trying to do an unplanned speech. Couples pre-select who will be giving speeches and are advised by their planners to keep it to 3-4 guests tops so that the speeches don’t drag on too long. An unplanned speech is not likely to be a good one anyway. If you know you’d really like to share a few words, ask the couple in advance if you could do a speech at one of the other events such as the rehearsal dinner, welcome party, or send-off brunch.
And our most important rule for guests? BE. ON. TIME. It’s frowned upon in a big way for guests to mosey in after the ceremony has begun. Not only is it distracting, but it can also interfere with the photographer’s shots. If something unforeseen happens and you do end up arriving late, wait for the processional to be complete and try to slide into the back row or an end seat so as to bring as little attention to yourself as possible.
We admit it, our mom voices mayyy have come out just a little bit in this list, but we have seen it ALL! We know what distinguishes a great wedding guest from one that a couple fully regrets inviting. Of course, we realize that some of these suggestions may not be something that people outside the industry would have considered, but take our word for it on these tips and be the absolute best wedding guest ever!