Guide to etiquette for wedding guests

Guide to etiquette for wedding guests

When a couple gets engaged, they often find themselves having to research etiquette and social expectations in order to avoid offending anyone.

There are issues regarding who to invite to what events, how to handle your bridal party, when to send thank-you notes, and so much more.

But these rules go both ways, and those attending the wedding should be sure to not do anything to ruin the day of the happy couple.

Most breaches of etiquette are unintentional and due to ignorance, not malice. Nobody wants to be looked upon as rude or tacky. While the social graces in place for wedding guests may be plentiful, they are also fairly easy to follow, especially if you follow our below tips:

Only bring a guest if your invitation denotes you have a plus one. Think of it this way: You are asking the couple to pay for another person, one they likely do not know. In most cases, you will know other people attending the wedding. Ask around if you want to carpool or split a hotel room.

If your children are not listed on the invitation, do not bring them. It is that simple. If you are unable to make childcare arrangements, you are free to decline the invitation.

RSVP not just by the date provided, but as soon as you know whether or not you will be attending.

Let the couple know if you have diet restrictions as soon as possible, so they can coordinate with the caterers.

Note: This applies to restrictions such as allergies, intolerances, or strict vegetarianism — not the fad diet of the moment.

Though the rules on wearing shades of white and ivory have loosened, it is still frowned upon. Even if the bride says she does not mind, other guests will assume the worst. It is better to just wear a different ensemble. Also be aware of blush and pale blue, as colourful dresses are becoming more common. You can always check with the bride or a bridesmaid if you are unsure.

If you purchase a larger gift, be considerate and have it shipped directly to the couple. Remember, the couple has to figure out how to get everything home!

Arrive before the ceremony start time. You should already be seated when it begins.

Turn your phone off, or at the very least make sure it is 100 percent on silent.

Pick your outfit according to the dress code. Not only does a casual look seem disrespectful, but if the wedding is more laid-back, you will stand out if you are dressed too formally. If the dress code is not formally stated, look to the formality of the invitation and venue as a guide.

Do not go too far with the open bar — you don’t want to make a scene.

Participate! Get on the dance floor, use their photo booth, and sign their guest book.

Do not hog time with the couple. Remember that the room is full of their loved ones, all of whom want to spend time with the newly weds.

If there are wedding favours, be sure to grab them. Even if you’re not interested in the trinket, think how the couple will feel if their carefully thought-out favours are all left behind.

Don’t leave before the cake is cut. The moment is generally accepted as a subtle signal that it is okay to depart if you are not going to dance all night.

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