Be The Best Kind Of GuestTuesday, August 03, 2021
The bride and groom have spent a lot of time planning their big day, so it's not unreasonable for them to have certain expectations of their wedding guests. Whether you've never attended a wedding or you've been to dozens, wedding guest etiquette rules are essential.
Every now and then it's a good idea to brush up on these rules, so today I'm doing so for wedding guests. Most times it's assumed that people instinctively know certain things, but then again, maybe they don't. I've compiled easy-to-follow tips to ensure you're one of the best wedding guests during all the merriment.
1. RSVP ASAP
This one's pretty simple: RSVP within the specified time, include all the required information and use the method requested.
2. Respect the guest list
If your name is the only name that appears on the envelope, then you are the only one invited. Not you plus a guest, period. Remember that the couple has laboured long and hard over their guest list, whilst having to consider factors like capacity and budget. Do not create a fuss or demand a plus one.
3. Be punctual
This really should go without saying. Forget the thought that “the bride's going to be late, anyway”. Many aren't! Making an entrance to the ceremony after the bride is not acceptable; it's rude. You should never interrupt a ceremony service. Fashionably late works at a party, not for a wedding.
4. Dress appropriately
You don't want to be underdressed for the wedding. Follow the dress code instructions from the bride and groom, as well as dress according to the venue. Formal or casual dress code is self-explanatory. Avoid wearing white.
5. Keep negative comments to yourself
Everybody has a different idea of the perfect wedding. If you find yourself at a wedding that doesn't match your aesthetic opinion or has traditions that you think are old-fashioned or silly, maybe you don't like the wedding colours, perhaps you think the ceremony was too long and religious — refrain from making negative comments. There is no reason to share them.
6. Don't play paparazzi
No matter how good a photographer you are, you aren't the photography professional when you're a wedding guest. It's likely the couple paid a lot of money for a professional photographer, so don't get in their way. The couple wants to see your smiling face, not the back of your phone. Unless otherwise instructed, keep phones and all cameras out of sight until the reception. Also remember, just because you're snapping away at the reception doesn't mean that the bride and groom want their faces plastered all over social media.
7. Monitor your cocktails
Manage your alcohol intake, especially if the couple has been really generous with their offering. It's easy to overdo things when the alcohol is flowing freely. Take water breaks and make it a goal to not make a spectacle of yourself. Drinking an excessive amount is unbecoming and can be dangerous. Enjoy the bar; don't abuse it.
8. Make sure to mingle
When seated at an assigned table, be polite and introduce yourself to everyone else at the table. The bride and groom put you at a specific table for a reason, perhaps you are like-minded. Utilise the seating arrangement to get to know some of the other guests; be sure to engage with the person you are sitting beside. Explore the different areas of the party where other people might be gathering; be open to chatting with everyone.
9. Don't hog the bride and groom
It's great to say hello and chit-chat with the newlyweds at the reception for a few minutes. Keep the conversation short and sweet, and remember to say 'Congratulations!'
10. Be a team player
Yes, there are some elements of a wedding that may seem cheesy, but get into the spirit of things and just go with it! Sign the guest book (a wedding is oftentimes a big blur for the couple, and they'll want to remember everyone who attended), throw the petals and blow the bubbles, use the photo booth! Accepting the wedding invitation implies that you're down with whatever they throw your way. Be accommodating; this will help make their special day just as they imagined.
Being a good wedding guest isn't expensive or labour-intensive, it's not about the fancy outfits or pricey gifts. Rather, it is all about common courtesy, thoughtfulness and being present in the moment.
It's important, as guests, that we do our bit to create the best and most magical day possible!
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