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Article: Top 10 Etiquette Tips All Wedding Guests Should Know

Top 10 Etiquette Tips All Wedding Guests Should Know - NOTIQ

Top 10 Etiquette Tips All Wedding Guests Should Know

Luxury wedding reception table with green and beige color scheme.

Is this your first time being invited to a wedding? Congratulations! Weddings are a unique and special time for celebration with the people the bride and groom cherish most. Before you arrive, however, it’s always good to prepare and research how to conduct yourself at one of these major events. Aside from putting together the perfect outfit, there are a few things you should know. If you are interested in learning how to be an elegant and gracious wedding guest, keep on reading.

Here are the top 10 etiquette tips all wedding guests should know for the best experience:

1. Promptly Respond To Invitations

When receiving an invitation to such a big event, it’s crucial to respond as soon as possible, especially before the due date. This gives the couple time to plan for your attendance (and if offered, your guest, as well.) Wedding catering is most often prepared in advance, and the couple is usually charged by the headcount at their event. Not only will you safely secure your spot at the table, but it’s also courteous to the bride and groom.

It is also important to notify the couple should you be in a position where you cannot attend their gathering. Politely thank them for the invite and provide a brief, but sincere apology explaining your reasoning.

*Be sure to fill out the invitation correctly! And don’t forget to let the couple know of any dietary restrictions.

2. Adhere To The Dress Code

Most formal events require a dress code, and weddings are no different. While dress codes are typically provided on your invitation, it is always best to clarify with someone if you are unsure. When attending a wedding you should adhere to the dress code as much as possible, especially if there is a unique or specific theme in mind. That way everyone can enjoy the experience as planned, and it limits the possibility of someone sticking out unnecessarily from the crowd.

Guests are also generally expected to avoid wearing white or lacy attire altogether, as many cultures find this to be a strict faux pas during the bride’s special day. However, some modern brides don’t mind this rule, so use your best judgment.

3. Respect The Couple’s Requests

Part of being a gracious wedding guest is respecting the couple’s instructions or requests. This means following the seating chart, only bringing the number of guests allowed on the invitation, and being mindful of children (or opting not to bring them at all, if it is explicitly requested.) If you are having difficulty with a request, you may kindly bring it up to the couple and see their thoughts, but ultimately remember that it is their event and you are their guest.

Man cutting cheese at a wedding reception.

4. Be Punctual To All Events

It is essential that you arrive on time for all of the events you are expected to be at. If you are a part of the wedding party, this may mean showing up hours prior to help ensure that everything runs smoothly. And if you are a guest attendee, you will especially want to avoid being late for the ceremony. When people are late, this can push back the events of the wedding, potentially leading to problems during the time-sensitive areas of the itinerary.

5. Drink And Act Responsibly

Chances are if you were invited to the wedding, then you probably have some connection to the bride or groom. This means that you are responsible not only for your image but theirs, as well. It’s important to uphold yourself respectfully and be accountable for your actions. Overindulging can lead to poor decision-making and bad behavior, so it’s imperative that you are mindful of your actions throughout the event.

6. Keep Toasts And Speeches To A Minimum

Unless it has been planned beforehand to accommodate your longer speech, it's best to keep your toasts and remarks to a minimum. While your thoughts are greatly appreciated, remember that the spotlight is primarily reserved for the bride and groom. Be discerning with your toasts and speeches and ensure they don’t drag on for too long or take away attention from the couple. If you have more to say, kindly save your words for a card- some weddings even have an “advice box” where guests can share their tips for the couple and their new life ahead.

Wedding guest toasting newlywed couple at wedding reception.

7. Wait To Make Your Big Announcements

It’s understandable that you are excited to share the news with the people you love, but while everyone is sure to be happy that you are newly engaged or expecting, please do not make your big announcement at the wedding. You may instead announce the news prior to the event, or after the celebrations are finished. Doing so during the wedding takes away from the couple and their special day. Feel free to bask in your excitement and share your special news with the people around you during a better time when the focus can be solely on you.

8. Be Mindful Of Photographers

The couple has likely paid a great deal to capture their special event, so it’s only polite to avoid getting in the way of photographers while they’re working. Don’t be afraid to be in the moment; just simply be aware of your surroundings and be attentive to where you are standing so that way the moment can be captured in its entirety. This also means avoiding phones and flash photography during the ceremony- just leave that to the professionals!

9. Ask Permission Before Sharing

Unless it has been said already, please politely refrain from sharing the couple on social media until they give their permission. There are many reasons for this- some may want to protect their privacy and limit interactions strictly to those at the event, or some may simply desire to be the first to share images of their wedding.

Most times, however, couples are more than happy to allow guests to post throughout the wedding, but others may kindly ask that you wait. Whatever their reasons, it’s best to respect their wishes.

10. Kindly Send Your Gift

It may come as a surprise to hear that you shouldn't always bring a gift with you to the wedding. This is because it can be difficult to plan for and arrange the gifts' transportation after the event. While monetary gifts and cards are usually fine to bring the day of, larger gifts like appliances and home goods should be sent before or after the wedding.

If you are unsure of what to gift them, you may check their wedding registry for items the newlyweds would greatly appreciate in building their life together.

*In good etiquette, you typically have up to a year to send your gifts to the couple after the wedding date.

Bonus Tip: Be Present And Have Fun!

You were invited because the couple wanted to share the greatest moment of their lives with you- that is so exciting! So embrace and enjoy every moment. Be present throughout the event- avoid being on your devices and have a great time with the other guests present.

The key thing to remember is to be polite, thoughtful, and respectful. By keeping in mind a handful of etiquette tips, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying your first wedding experience and creating amazing memories with those around you.

Do you have any tips to share with us? Comment them down below!


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