You’ve been invited to a wedding! Congrats! Getting invited to a wedding is kind of a big deal these days. But if you haven’t experienced the joy and more often stressful task of planning and throwing your own wedding, you might not be aware of some things you can do that will help make the happy couple’s lives much easier.
So here are some hopefully helpful tips to help make you an ideal wedding guest that will likely snag you an invite to another wedding in the future.
1.RSVP on time, whether or not you plan on going
One of the most frustrating things for a couple planning a wedding is not getting RSVPs on time or at all. The couple likely does want to know if you are coming, BUT more importantly, the venue and catering company will need to know a headcount so they make sure all the guests are taken care of as far as food and beverages are concerned. If you want to be a great wedding guest, RSVP ASAP or make sure to put a reminder in your calendar for the deadline.
2. Show up on time
You might think you can just slide into a ceremony 10 minutes late and no one will notice. With many modern ceremonies only lasting 15-30 minutes, it is almost always noticeable and probably won’t be soon be forgotten. If you are someone who tends to arrive late, try to arrive there early and remember to factor in the time to find parking and figure out where you need to go. You don’t want to disrupt anyone’s big moment!
3. Don’t ask to bring a +1 if you were not given one
It can cost a few hundred dollars per guest for a meal and open bar, so if you have not been given a +1, don’t ask to bring a random friend or acquaintance unless you are okay with putting that extra cost on the couple. If you have been given an unspecified +1, you might want them to be someone meaningful to you, or someone you think would be a respectable guest. Maybe send them this post and make sure they know their wedding guest etiquette!
4. Bring a gift
For the same reason listed above, you should plan to give the couple a gift. You are being fed, entertained and celebrating, so please make sure to help give the couple a good send off and earn that open bar status. You likely don’t need to bring something with you unless you are giving a card because most modern registries are done online and guests can send gifts directly to the couple’s home rather than lugging a gift around. Of course, if the couple explicitly asks for no gifts, then you’re in the clear.
5. Don’t give a toast unless asked to give one
Weddings have a pretty specific itinerary going on, even if it doesn’t seem like it. The entertainment and venue have budgeted the appropriate amount of time for toasts, so it’s not a good time to improv a toast when it was not asked of you.
6. Dress up!
Weddings are generally a formal event, so please do not show up in casual wear. You might need to consider the location, terrain and weather when considering outfit choices, but do look as spiffy as you can.
7. Don’t bring your own camera
If the couple hired a photographer, do NOT plan to bring your DSLR camera and shoot over the photographer’s shoulder. This could 1 — breach the photographer’s contract and 2– cause a delay in their likely already tight itinerary. They hired a photographer to do the documentation for them and they want you to enjoy yourself! The exceptions are if you have a polaroid or want to take a few phone photos, but make sure to pay attention to any signs asking for an unplugged ceremony.
8.Silence your electronic devices
This should be a given, however, it’s shocking how many times electronic devices, and not just cell phones, go still go off during a ceremony.
9. Don’t assume kids are welcome
While many couples embrace and welcome kids to their weddings, some explicitly want this to be an adult party only. If you want to bring your kids, make sure you ask the couple if that is okay.
10. Make diet restrictions known ahead of time
A lot of venues are aware of food allergies or special diets and are more than happy to accommodate these if they are known ahead of time. Of course, if they don’t know about these restrictions ahead of time, they likely won’t have warm meals they can easily prepare on short notice.
11. Refrain from texting the couple on the day of their wedding, whether or not you are attending
While it is nice you are thinking about the couple, they have a lot going on and need to keep their lines clear for some more urgent matters. If you aren’t in the wedding party or have a specific role, it can likely wait until you see them later. If you want to reach out to them on their wedding day to let them know you are thinking about them, send them an email or message they can read later and do not expect a response for a few days. If you can’t attend, you might consider writing them a handwritten card so they can open it when they have the time.
12. Go to the ceremony if you plan on going to the reception
If you were invited to the ceremony, you should probably go to the ceremony if you want to attend the reception. There are occasions when the couple will limit the ceremony attendees or would understand fewer people can attend a midday ceremony if they have a weekday wedding.
13. Drink responsibly
Just try. It’s pretty tempting to get drunk when there is an open bar, but trying is all we can ask for here.
Most couples want their guests to have a fun time after they have poured so much time, energy and money into this event. If there is a guest book, please go write something in it. Better yet, write a thoughtful, personality-filled note. Even if dancing is your least favorite thing in the world, it wouldn’t hurt to get your groove on for just a single song.
With these tips along with the obvious etiquette that comes along with being a decent human being, you’re ready to be an ideal, nay, a great wedding guest!