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Wedding Guest Dos & Don’ts

It’s wedding season!  Whether you’ve been invited to one wedding or ten this year, we’re checking the rules of wedding etiquette to make sure you’ll be the dream wedding guest.

Wedding Guests at Church, Jenny McCarthy Photography

Image courtesy of Photos by Jen


1.  RSVP

Do: RSVP as soon as you know if you will be able to attend or not.  It makes life much easier for the bride and groom, who are trying to finalise numbers and make seating charts.  Plus, it makes you one less person they have to chase for a reply.

Don’t: Reply for people who are not listed on the invitation.  If the invitation doesn’t include and guest or mention your children, chances are they are not invited.  If you would like to bring a date, or if you’re not sure if children are welcome at the wedding, always ask… never assume!  But do not be surprised or offended if the answer is no.

2.  Change of Plans?

Do: Inform the couple immediately.  Things happen illness, business plans, family emergencies but let the couple know as soon as you can that you won’t be able to make it.  It will allow them to change their seating plan accordingly, and could possibly save them money as well.

Don’t: Show up anyway if you’ve already said you wouldn’t be able to make it.  Don’t bring a date as your plus one if you’ve already RSVPed to attend on your own.  And don’t leave it until the day before (or worse, the day of) the wedding to inform the couple unless of course it’s a last minute emergency.

3.  Arrive Early

Do: Aim to arrive between 15 to 20 minutes before the ceremony is meant to start.  That way you’ll have plenty of time to mingle, grab a good seat, and get settled before the bridal party arrives.

Don’t: Make a scene if you arrive late.  If the bridesmaids are already walking down the aisle, wait outside until the bride has reached the top of the aisle before slipping in and quietly taking a seat at the back.

Wedding Guests outside Church by Robert Mullan

Image courtesy of Robert Mullan Photography

4.  Dress Appropriately

Do: Try to find out what the dress code and colour scheme are.  You don’t want to be out of place by dressing too formally or too casually… and if your dress matches the bridesmaids you might be mistaken for a member of the bridal party!

Don’t: Wear white, ivory or off-white dresses.  Don’t wear anything too revealing either after all, the bride is supposed to be the centre of attention at her own wedding, not you!  And jeans and trainers are never appropriate wedding attire.  Make an effort it’s a special occasion!

5.  Eat, Drink and be Merry!

Do: Dance and have a ball!  If you’re not much of a dancer, catch up with friends, or make new friends!  Don’t know anybody at your table?  Break the ice by asking the others at your table how they know the bride and groom.

Don’t: Announce any big news (engagement, pregnancy, etc) during the day.  Also, leave the iPhone or Blackberry in your handbag or if it’s an urgent work matter, take it outside.

Wedding Guests at Reception by Robert Mullan Photography

Image courtesy of Robert Mullan Photography

6.  Gifts

Do: Find out in advance if the couple have a wedding list, or ask what kind of gifts they’d prefer.  If you’re giving a card with cash or a cheque, do ask the best man or chief bridesmaid who is responsible for keeping hold of the cards for the couple.

Don’t: Worry about spending a fortune on a wedding gift.  Times are tough, and most couples understand that.  A homemade gift is a nice alternative as it’s made with love maybe a collection of favourite recipes, or a hand-knit blanket?  At the very least, a heartfelt card with congratulations and best wishes for the couple’s future is always appreciated.



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