13 Dos and Don’ts
If you’ve been keeping up with me on social media lately, then you know I just got back from my family vacation in Grand Isle, LA only to immediately head to my fiance’s cousin’s wedding in Florida. So I apologize for being a little off-schedule the past week but I should be back on track! Since I just returned from attending a wedding as a guest (and will soon be planning my own), why not do a wedding post for today?
Your 20s are a strange time in your life – half of your friends are getting married and settling down, the other half are partying every night and getting drunk. Or are those just my friends…? Anyway. My point is that you’ll probably be getting invited to a lot of weddings over the next few years – either as a regular guest or as part of the wedding party. So you better know some of these “rules” about being a guest!
So without further delay, let’s dive right in shall we?
1) The absolutely biggest no-no is forgetting to RSVP or RSVPing late
Couples usually have to pay per guest for food and drinks, and caterers generally ask for final guest counts anywhere from 14-60 days before the actual wedding date. So that late RSVPer ends up being a headache for everyone. The bride/groom now has to contact the caterer to adjust the guest count, who then has to order food last-minute and will charge the bride/groom more. Seating charts likely have to be re-arranged. And that’s if the guest RSVPs late.
If a guest just shows up without RSVPing altogether, it’s even worse. And they might not even have a seat assignment. The bride/groom will definitely be charged a premium for the surprise guest, and then have to deal with that on their wedding day. Who wants to deal with that on their wedding day?? Definitely not me.
Which brings me to another point…
2) RSVPing and not showing up
Come on guys. If you RSVP and don’t show up, the bride and groom still get charged for you. Don’t be that guy. And the same goes if you RSVP “no” – please don’t suddenly show up. It is not a nice surprise.
If it’s an emergency, cancelled flights, random unexpected delay, or you suddenly became ill then that’s totally understandable. Just be sure to call anyone other than the bride and groom on the wedding day to let someone know.
3) Don’t ignore the registry
The couple made a registry for a reason – please don’t send them gifts that weren’t asked for (unless you spoke to them and got gift approval or are sending cash). And generally, the registry will allow you to ship the gift straight to the couple at an address of their choosing. Do this. Avoid showing up on the wedding day with a huge gift that the couple or person in the wedding party has to deal with.
4) Avoid wearing wedding colors
Avoid obvious choices like white or cream. Don’t wear black. If you don’t want to match the wedding party, pay attending to the invitation color scheme or ask someone close to the bride what her wedding colors are. I personally wouldn’t care if you showed up in something similar to my bridesmaids, but I also wouldn’t want to match them if I was a guest.
5) Check before bringing a plus 1, or your children
If your invitation clearly says you + guest, then you’re in the clear. If not, clarify before bringing someone with you as a date. Same goes for children – if your invitations says “Smith Family” then you’re probably good, but if it isn’t clear just clarify. I personally don’t want kids at my wedding, so I would appreciate people calling to clarify before they brought their kids along.
6) Don’t bombard the couple before or (excessively) during the wedding
The couple has to get ready too. Let them. Unless you were invited to the bridal suite before the ceremony, wait until the reception to chit chat like the rest of the guests. Which brings me to my next point…
The couple will be pretty busy during the reception – between trying to dance and enjoy themselves, scarfing down some food, and greeting guests, they’ll have a lot on their plate. So rest assured, they’ll make their rounds to thank everyone and say hello when they get the chance. If you see them grabbing something to eat or taking a break from dancing – let them be. Let them come to you, or catch them while they are in-between tables. Otherwise, let them enjoy their food and enjoy the celebration!
7) Don’t constantly be on your phone and avoid sharing pictures
As I mentioned before, the couple paid for your seat. Don’t be rude and constantly have your face glued to your phone. Also be sure to put your phone on silent/vibrate for the ceremony!
And, unless stated in the invitation or somewhere at the wedding venue, avoid taking and sharing photos of the bride/groom on social media, especially before the ceremony (talking about you bridesmaids!). Let’s say you’re a bridesmaid and you take a selfie with the bride in her dress before the ceremony. And post that on Instagram or Facebook. And the groom sees. Now the bride is probably pissed because the groom has already seen her before she walked down the aisle. I know I would be pretty upset, especially since I want to see his reaction. So before you post anything, make sure it’s ok first!
Some couples want their professional photos to be the first people see. Others create a hashtag for guests to use with their pictures. When in doubt, ask. It’s always better to ask!
8) DO NOT bring your fancy-schmancy DSLR camera and take pictures of everything or get in the photographer’s way
Unless asked by the bride or groom to do so – leave your fancy cameras at home. The couple likely paid a ton of money for a photographer, so please let them do their job.
Imagine this for a second. Great-Aunt Sue thinks she’s good at taking photos. So she brings her older-yet-still-working digital camera, the kind that has that red light that shines before the camera flashes. You know the kind right? So, it’s the couple’s first dance, and their expensive professional photographer is just about to capture the perfect shot of the couple giving googly-eyes for each other….right as Great-Aunt Sue decides to also take a picture. So that beautiful and perfect shot of the couple? Ruined with a blinding red glow.
Don’t be Great-Aunt Sue. Even if you’re talented at photography, unless the couple told you to bring your camera and snap away, let the photographer that the couple paid a ton of money for do their job.
9) Don’t make an informal toast, grab the mic, or propose.
Generally, the bridal party and family worked out who is saying what and when. Don’t mess that up, unless (again) the couple has explicitly stated somewhere that they welcome everyone to make a speech. And don’t steal the spotlight by stealing the mic, making a fool of yourself, or proposing. If you plan on proposing, ask the couple first. It’s their wedding first and foremost, so don’t take it from them.
10) Don’t get sloppy drunk
There’s having a good time, and then there’s having a little too much of a good time. I totally understand taking advantage of that open bar. I’m right there with you. But don’t become so drunk that you prevent others from having a good time, think having your emotional breakdown in the middle of the dance floor is a good idea, or even worse pass out and have to have someone bring you home.
Stay classy people.
11) Don’t steal decor
It kind of goes without saying – don’t take things that don’t belong to you. You never know what the couple rented or purchased themselves, so don’t take anything without asking first!
12) Know the Dress Code
It is going to be mentioned somewhere – either on the invitation or wedding website. Find it and dress appropriately. Some couples want a more relaxed wedding so you’ll look out of place in a tux, and vice versa. This pin on Pinterest does a wonderful job of explaining the different dress codes!
Here’s what we wore for a “dressy casual” wedding:
13) Make sure to say goodbye
I mentioned earlier not to bombard the bride and groom, but before you leave for good, be sure to say a quick goodbye or offer your thanks. You were a guest after all, so be polite and thank them for the invite or wave them goodbye before you go!
Have anything to add?
Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!