25 Tips for Wedding Guest Etiquette

Photo by Erica Lynn Photography

Being a guest at a wedding is so exciting! Likely, we’ve all broken a rule or two from this list, but it’s still good to review “The Do’s and Don’ts of Wedding Guest Etiquette”. Here they are…all 27 of them.

  1. DO be sure to RSVP right away (or at least before the deadline!) Don’t keep the couple waiting on your reply. They have meals to plan for and table seating charts to fill in.
  2. DON’T bring a guest (or your kids) unless the invitation says so. Also, don’t RSVP for 1 and then bring a guest. Again, the couple is trying to get an accurate guest count, so if you bring people who weren’t invited (or someone at the last minute unexpectedly), it may throw off their guest count, meal count, seating chart, and more.
  3. DO give a gift from their registry if you can. The best gift you can possible give is one you know they already want…or money. TIP: If you want to give the couple the gift of money, make your check payable to the bride or groom if you’re sending it before the wedding (use the bride’s maiden name). Oftentimes the bride won’t change her name until after a honeymoon or weeks later and they can’t cash a check that doesn’t have her official name on it.
  4. DON’T wear white to a wedding. Or a super bright color. Is it an outdoor tent wedding? A black tie wedding? On a beach? Dress appropriately.
  5. DO turn your cell phone on silent and don’t take your own pictures during the ceremony. Also, don’t post a picture of the bride before the ceremony. When the appropriate time comes to post a photo on social media, use their Snapchat filter or hashtag. They’ll love you for it! Speaking of cell phones, don’t record the ceremony with your phone unless you’ve been asked to.
  6. DON’T be late to the ceremony or reception. In fact, be 20-30 minutes early, but not too early. When you arrive too early to the ceremony or reception, you may get in the way of final touches or seeing the bride before she’s ready for you to see her. The photographer is likely photographing details that you might be in the way of (like a beautiful EMPTY reception) or the wedding planner may be making important preparations.
  7. DO follow the seating chart. Don’t just sit at another table because you feel like it. It’s like the person who’s sitting in the wrong seat on an airplane. It causes other people to move seats and it’s just annoying. If you must mingle with others at different tables, it’s completely fine to do that when the dance has started.
  8. DON’T get too drunk. Drink at a reasonable pace.
  9. DO keep your negative comments to yourself. Don’t give your opinion on EVERYTHING (costs, flowers, her dress, her hair, the venue, etc.).
  10. DON’T leave too early. You should stay at least until after the cake has been cut.
  11. DO send a gift even if you can’t attend. Technically, you have a year to send a wedding gift, but seriously, don’t wait that long.
  12. DON’T take a full vase of flowers from the table centerpiece.
  13. DO be respectful by not getting too aggressive during the bouquet toss.
  14. DON’T switch your order at the plated dinner. If you RSVPd for chicken, don’t change your mind to steak at the last minute.
  15. DO take a wedding favor.
  16. DON’T bring your charger up to the buffet line. Those are not food-safe and for decoration only.
  17. DO tip the bartenders.
  18. DON’T act bored, tired, or complain.
  19. DO find time throughout the night to greet the couple and offer your well-wishes. However, don’t take your time while they’re eating and avoid hogging the time with the couple.
  20. DON’T text the bride or groom on the wedding day for details and questions. Ask literally anybody else (a wedding planner, a personal attendant, a mother if needed, but NOT the couple).
  21. DON’T sit in the front row unless you’ve been invited to.
  22. DON’T give a speech at the reception unless you’ve been invited to. If you are giving a speech, make sure it’s appropriate. Make sure it’s not too long — or worse, unprepared. For a full list of wedding speech tips, buy our Wedding Day Designer!
  23. DON’T try to distract the flower girl or ring bearer down the aisle. They’re having a hard enough time focusing.
  24. DO compliment the couple (later…the next day or within the week) for the beautiful wedding day you were invited to be a part of. If something went wrong, don’t point it out to the couple.
  25. DON’T let your kids run wild at the reception.

You’ve got this. We trust you! You’ll be the best wedding guest they’ve ever seen. Good luck this wedding season!

Photo by Erica Lynn Photography
Photo by Erica Lynn Photography

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