Attending a wedding is a fun experience! Dancing, drinking and toasting to the bride and groom are all fun aspects of most weddings. However, a wedding is only as fun as the guests who attend. There are definitely some unspoken rules for wedding guests to ensure the event goes on without a hitch and is fun and memorable for everyone.
- Bring a gift. Don’t be *that* guest–you know, the one who doesn’t bring a gift. Even if you can’t attend, still send something small, such as an engraved picture frame. It’s basic wedding guest etiquette to always bring a gift. Showing up to a wedding without a gift is basically like telling the couple, “I’m just here for the free food and drinks.” Avoid any hurt feelings by bringing a wedding gift to the wedding.
- Follow their registry. When deciding on a wedding gift for the couple, make sure to get something from their registry. They’ve selected the items on their registry for a reason–because it’s something they need! There is one way you can deviate a bit from the registry, though. Consider giving the happy couple a personalized wedding gift. If they’ve got a set of salad tossers on their registry, why not give them a personalized set with their last name and wedding date etched into it? If the items won’t get to you in time, a gift card to any of the places they’ve created a registry with is a perfect gift idea.
- RSVP early. When you get your invitation, don’t wait until the last minute to send your acceptance or declination. And, please, follow the instructions on the invitation. Couples spend money for the invitations as well as the return postage. If the invitation asks for you to send your RSVP back by mail, do so. It really goes a long way to show the couple that you respect them and their wedding. Plus, if they have to make any changes or decisions to their guest count, your early RSVP might sway them to keep you from getting the cut.
- Sit where the seating chart says. One of the most annoying things is having a guest not sitting where they’re supposed to. Couples agonize over the seating chart. If you decide to go sit somewhere other than what’s on the seating chart, it shows that you don’t care for their plans. Planning a wedding is tough, and your decisions to sit somewhere other than where they request can actually have other consequences–one person at the table you choose to sit at doesn’t have a seat anymore! If you really want to talk to the people at Table 6 when you’re sitting at Table 9, do it after dinner. Once dinner is over, the dance floor opens up and the party really gets started. At that point, most people don’t usually care about their seats so you can go hang out at another table later.
- Arrive on time. The wedding might not be able to start until the bride gets to the aisle, but it can start without you. If you don’t arrive on time, you will probably have to miss it–or at least miss watching the bride walk down the aisle. If you do arrive on time, you’ll have enough time to sign the guestbook, drop off your personalized gift for the couple and mingle with any other guests. Plus, you can grab a good seat for the ceremony.
- Don’t bring a plus-one. If your invitation doesn’t say your name “and guest,” then you shouldn’t bring a plus-one. This also goes for kids. If your invitation doesn’t say “and family,” then you also shouldn’t bring your children. If you aren’t sure based on the information in the invitation, contact the person listed on it. Most couples will have their planner or parents serve as the point-of-contact for any wedding-related questions. A lot of couples also create wedding websites, where all the pertinent information for the wedding is listed–including info about plus-ones, children, food, etc.
- Don’t drink too much alcohol. You might think the words “open bar” are a free pass to get plastered. Wrong! A plastered wedding guest isn’t what you want to be known as. Not only can you hurt yourself or others, but now other people become responsible for you. They have to find you a ride, they have to make sure you can get to your hotel or home–the list goes on. Instead, have a couple of drinks and enjoy the party. You can rest assured that you won’t be remembered as the wedding guest who passed out in the front part of the venue.
- Remind them of your dietary restrictions. On your RSVP card, remind them about your dietary restrictions. Whether you’re vegan, keto-friendly or gluten-free, you should definitely let the couple, their hosts or their wedding planner know about any allergies or dietary restrictions you have. That will help them plan meals with their caterer. They’ll be able to give their caterer a corresponding table number for each guest who needs a specific meal. Or, if a majority of guests request specific needs, they might adjust their buffet to be more accommodating and request specific meals. Either way, they’ll appreciate your honesty.
- Leave after the send-off. Once the send-off is over, don’t stick around trying to keep the party going (unless the DJ tells you it’s a faux send-off). A lot of venues require that couples, guests and vendors get the area cleaned up and be off the premises by a specific time. The couple can get charged a hefty fine for not being out of the building. This is especially if the couple leaves at their send-off and doesn’t come back. Once they are gone, the party is over! It’s respectful of the couple and their vendors if you leave after the send-off. You will be out of their way and will ensure the couple doesn’t incur any additional fees.