Wedding guests – you just can’t have a special day without them. And yet, if they forget – or don’t know about – these few teeny tiny things, you may feel like sending them to the back of the buffet queue. So, dear guests, please observe the following…
Don’t forget to RSVP
Don’t put it away to do later, just because you have four weeks until the deadline. Let us tell you a little secret. In the world of weddings, there are only two things that make brides weep into their pillows at night – guests not returning RSVPs, and bad bridesmaids. Just send yours back already, and be done with it. Plus, you know what happens to wedding guests who don’t RSPV but come on the day anyway? They have to eat dinner by the loos. True story.
Don’t wear white
Before you protest, let us add a stipulation – this really depends on the bride. In numbers (based on totally scientific research we conducted around WOL’s office), the likelihood of a bride being ok with white is 5.8%. Do you want to take a chance of nearly 95% of having to go home and change? We didn’t think so. The best thing to do is ask the bride, or if you don’t know her closely enough, ask someone to ask for you. And if you’re still in any doubt after that, just don’t.
Image from Jennifer & Luc’s real wedding by Emma Russell Photography
Don’t be late
A wedding day is a day of hugely important entrances and exits. Not yours – the couple’s! So to make sure you witness them all, be on time. Arrive no later than 15 minutes before the start of the ceremony, some etiquette guides suggest even 30 minutes, so you have time to powder your nose and make small talk. Upon your arrival, there will most likely be an usher present to show you to your seat, which you should accept graciously. If you’re only arriving for the reception, find the table plan and then your name on it. Proceed accordingly.
Don’t post photos on social media
… unless it’s totally allowed. Nowadays, there are three possible scenarios for wedding guests. The couple doesn’t want photos taken and uploaded to social media (the so-called unplugged wedding). You will be notified of this either on the invitation, via a clearly visible sign, or in person by one of the wedding party. The couple wants photos taken and even has a special hashtag – ditto with letting you know. The couple aren’t fussed either way – you can go ahead and get snappy. Just remember – it’s not cool to post and tag unflattering photos of the bride. Don’t even go there.
Don’t bring an uninvited +1
If there was such a thing as an official list of wedding crimes, this would be in the top 3. You know what we said in the first point, about eating your dinner by the loos? Well, when you bring the extra guest, you both will have to wash your own dishes too. We’re only half kidding. Bringing uninvited wedding guests is a pretty serious breach of etiquette. If you’re unsure about what the invitation says, there’s probably a phone number or an email address on it you can call up and ask. Don’t worry, you won’t be calling some kind of a helpline for the clueless – it’ll probably be the chief bridesmaid or the bride’s mam answering the phone, and more than happy to help.
Image from Sirena & Colm’s real wedding by Mark Donovan Wedding Photography
Don’t write in the guestbook when you’re drunk
Here’s the plan – arrive at the reception venue, go straight for the guestbook, and write a few words from the heart. THEN, go to the bar. If you do it the other way around, you may just end up writing something truly regrettable, like: ‘hi Ssshhhhteve. Is Flanpy. Thnkz foz wedngg, haz so muhh foon oooof wine graet’, followed by a drawing that looks like a cross between a bunny and a Lamborghini, when you meant to draw flowers and hearts. Is that how you want to be remembered? Probably not.
Don’t forget to bring a gift
Usually, the invitation will state what the situation is with the gifts (if there’s a gift registry). Check for any website addresses or instructions on what to do. Remember – wedding guests should give only what they can afford, so don’t worry about having to spend hundreds of euros you don’t have. Any gift list or donation website will have options for all budgets, so do only what you can. If there’s nothing written on the invite whatsoever, feel free to buy a small token of affection, or to put some cash in a card as a congratulatory gesture.
If you’re single, keep the mingle classy
Ah, that old chestnut – we all know someone who knows someone who met someone at a wedding. Sure, it happens, but going to a wedding to find your next boyfriend or girlfriend just kind of cancels out all the fun, really. Plus, the ‘singles table’ is now a relic of the past, and you don’t want to spend the entire time scouting out potential mates and doing detective work on their current relationship status. By all means, chat, have fun, dance, tell jokes, and look absolutely amazing. But don’t go with a plan to meet someone – go to enjoy the celebration, like it’s meant to be enjoyed.
Main image from Tara & Gearóid real wedding by DKPHOTO
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If you think the bride should always have the last word, then Rachel is on your side! A devoted fan of everything quirky, unusual, colourful or crafty, she loves scouting WOL's real weddings for unique and fun touches. When not gazing at pictures, she's dispensing no-nonsense advice on everything from reception entrance songs to bridesmaid problems.