Photo: Anna Gomes Photography
So, you have been invited to a wedding. You’re probably excited for the couple and ready to get your party started, right? While you are choosing your outfit and wondering what your signature cocktail will be, there are a few other details to remember to make the entire experience of attending the wedding impressive for both you and your hosts (bride and groom, be sure to forward this article to your friends and family members!).
Here are some tips to help you become the perfect wedding guest.
Do you have any questions? Check out the wedding website before picking up the phone.
Did you lose your invitation? Not sure which hotel to book? Do you want to know where the couple is registered? There’s a good chance your question could be answered with a quick read of the couple’s wedding website, rather than a phone call to the potentially overwhelmed near-marriages.
The people named on your invitation envelope are the ones who are invited. Don’t ask for exceptions.
You may not agree with a couple’s decision not to invite your new boyfriend or girlfriend, your children, your best friend, or someone else. There is probably a good reason for this. Don’t make things even more uncomfortable by angrily questioning your partner – if you have serious concerns, approach things calmly and courteously, and be prepared to hear an equally calm and courteous “no”.
Mail larger gifts before or after the wedding instead of bringing them to the wedding.
The couple and their families will likely have a lot to transport after the wedding. Sending your registration gift in advance or after the wedding will make things a lot easier for them – but bringing cards and monetary gifts to the event is fine.
Book your trip as far in advance as possible.
Hotels and flights fill up quickly. And you certainly don’t want to pay a fortune for your flight or be the only guest staying at a hotel many miles away. If the couple has reserved blocks of rooms for guests, make sure you know the deadline.
If you don’t respond in time, the couple will be a bit upset. Even if they pretend they aren’t.
“No, it’s okay, call us whenever you want” is probably a lie. Getting an accurate count is important for a variety of reasons, so as soon as you receive the invitation, send that RSVP card so you don’t forget.
Consider the dress code, time of day, and season of the year when selecting your outfit.
Of course, if the invite has a dress code, do your best to stick with it, but also take the weather into account – bring a shawl or jacket during the colder months and dress in breathable fabrics when it’s hot. Many weddings are held outdoors, even when the weather isn’t 100% ideal, so be sure to dress with that in mind.
Newlyweds are glad to see you, but give them some space.
You probably want to run and hug the newlyweds as soon as they get to the altar, but control yourself. They’ll probably want some quiet after the ceremony, and then they’ll arrive for cocktail hour. When you see them, obviously congratulate them warmly and have a short conversation, but remember that there are many guests who will have to say hello as well. End the first conversation politely by saying “See you on the dance floor!
Eat a snack beforehand.
At most weddings, the ceremony comes first and then it’s time to eat! Depending on the duration of the ceremony, you may start to feel a little hungry, so have a small snack before (not during!) The ceremony.
Get to the shuttle bus on time. They probably won’t do a count.
It’s a very nice gesture for a couple to arrange for guests’ transportation, so do them a favor and be on time for departure – or better yet, get there early! If you are late, not only can you delay things and make a larger group of guests be late as well, but there is a chance that the shuttle will leave without you.
Something unforeseen can happen – just go with the flow.
Unexpected things happen at a wedding – the groom’s mom might pass out, the florist might throw a tantrum as she fidgets down the aisle, the fire alarm might go off. Whatever happens, keep your face straight and stay calm. Seeing your relaxed presence in the crowd can help the couple relax as well.
Pay attention to any advertisement.
Yes, it’s fun to socialize at weddings, but keep an eye out for the officiant and the presenter. If you are asked to stand up when the bride enters the ceremony, stand up. If the father of the bride is making a toast, shut up and listen. If dinner is served, go back to your table. There are only a few rules at a wedding, so be sure to follow them!
If you’re at a close friend’s or family member’s wedding and you know everyone, that’s great! If not, be friendly and chat with those at your table, as well as other guests. If you can, say hello and thank the couples’ parents as well.
If you take photos, share them.
Don’t go overboard with the photos (especially during the ceremony), but if you do get some great photos, share them through an app like WedSocial or using the couple’s hashtag on social media.
Have fun… .but don’t overdo it.
The wedding reception is to celebrate and have fun, but don’t be that person who has too much fun, if you know what we are saying. You want to be a memorable wedding guest for all the right reasons.