Have a wedding coming up but forgot your etiquette? Don’t panic, we’re here to help. From dress codes to negative talk, here are our 8 top tips on how you can be the best wedding guest.
1. RSVP immediately
If you know as soon as the invitation comes through the mailbox that you’re attending the wedding, fill out the RSVP card and send it to the soon-to-be married couple as soon as you can. Even if you confirm your attendance to them verbally or through a text message, the couple has requested a formal RSVP, so stick to their wishes.
2. Dress appropriately
The dress code is usually stated on the wedding invitation but if not, the time of year and venue will guide you on what to wear. If you’re seriously stuck, ask the couple for advice (after all, it’s their day, so they know exactly how they want their guests to look). And remember to stick to the usual rules; avoid wearing white, avoid wearing the same colour as the bridesmaids, and do not wear jeans (even if they’re your ‘nice’ jeans and the invitation says ‘casual dress’).
3. Always arrive on-time or early
Wedding ceremonies can be long but arriving late isn’t an option – your late entry will be disruptive and offensive to the bride, groom, and the other guests. You should plan to arrive 20 to 30 minutes early but if, for unforeseen circumstances, you arrive late, wait outside until the usher – or another guest – indicates an appropriate time for you to enter and take a seat in the back row.
4. Do not post pictures without approval
Some couples have a strict social media ban so make sure to ask the bride and groom if they mind you posting photos throughout the day on your Insta Stories. If they do allow it, make sure to stay out of the way of the photographer – who the couple hired to capture their big day.
5. No surprise guests
Unless the wedding invitation says, ‘and guest’, you’ll be attending the nuptials solo. Even if you’re married or in a serious relationship, couples limit their guest lists due to the size of the venue and budget restrictions, so don’t ignore their wishes and arrive with a plus-one that’s not accounted for. The bride and groom won’t be happy and will be under pressure to change the seating plan and organise extra food and drink.
6. Don’t swap place cards
The bride and groom worked hard on the seating plan so don’t switch seats because you want to sit by your BFF, avoid run-ins with exes or dodge awkward moments with in-laws. And if you find yourself at a table where you don’t recognise fellow guests, introduce yourself and use the opportunity to make new friends.
7. Keep negative comments to yourself
If you thought the vows were cheesy, the bride’s gown was tacky or the food was overcooked, be polite and save your negative remarks for another time. Simply pretend everything is amazing.
8. Open bar and all you can drink aren’t the same thing
If you want your wedding guest reputation to stay untarnished, don’t take advantage of the open bar. Pace yourself – one drink per hour is the recommended consumption.