Wedding Guest Etiquette

~Keep It Classy~

Wedding guest etiquette is vital for attending any wedding. It is imperative that you, as a guest, keep yourself classy. The bride and groom have spent months, even years planning for this day and you wouldn't want to be 'that guest' that everyone talks about after.

Before The Wedding

It all begins when you receive your invitation. It is good wedding guest etiquette towedding guests respond as soon as possible. If you already know that you will be able to attend, then fill out the RSVP the same day. This shows good wedding rsvp etiquette. The bride and groom would also love to receive a personal note of congratulations with the card, so feel free to do so.

If you will need to make arrangements to get to the wedding, make them as soon as possible. Usually the couple will have hotel information for you to make reservations. This way you will know whether or not you can attend. Also, if something comes up that you need to cancel, do so with a phone call or in person. It shows good wedding guest manners.

Next, it is time to shop for the gift. Using the registry will help you know what the couple needs and wants. Look at your relationship with the couple when you are making your selection, it will help you select something meaningful for them. Be sure to send the gift to the address provided, either with the registry or on the envelope. This way you do not have to take the gift to the wedding, which is indeed a faux pas. It is a good idea to send a gift even if you are not attending. This will show them that you care.

Dressing for the wedding is also a way for you to show good wedding guest etiquette. It is never a good idea for a guest to wear white or off-white clothing and dress to a wedding ceremony. Wear something that will fit the time of year and the location of the wedding. If the ceremony is taking place in a church, be modest in your attire. It shows respect. For the men, a dark suit with a tie is always a good way to go.

The Wedding Ceremony

It is good wedding etiquette to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony. If you are not familiar with the area where it will take place, take some time in the days leading up to the wedding to know how to get to where it will be held.

Normal wedding tradition will have an usher lead you to your seat. Usually the family and friends of the bride sit on the left, while those of the groom sit on the


Please turn off your cell phone during the ceremony. Nobody wants to hear your phone ring.

right.  If it happens that you arrive late, wait until the wedding coordinator or an usher can seat you. If they are not available, and the procession is in progress, wait outside until everyone has entered. At that point, slip in a side door and choose a seat toward the back. Avoid the center aisle, unless there is no other option.

If you are attending a wedding at a church, of which you do not belong, be respectful of their traditions. They will appreciate the fact that you are there and are willing to take part in their celebration.

When the bride enters the chapel, it is wedding guest etiquette to stand. Take your cue from the person officiating the wedding. Remain standing until you are directed to be seated.

As a wedding guest, do not take pictures during the ceremony. The bride and groom have hired a professional to capture the memories. It is not good wedding etiquette to interfere with someone who getting paid to get the 'best angle'.

After the ceremony is completed, remain seated until after the wedding party has left the chapel. Wait until the family of the bride and groom have been escorted out. It is then proper to stand and leave.

The Wedding Reception

When you arrive at the wedding reception, it is good wedding guest etiquette to wait in the receiving line, if they are having one. When you congratulate the couple, keep your greeting brief and happy.

At the reception, make sure you know where you are seated. The bride and groom have taken a lot of time making sure the seating arrangements are such that everyone will enjoy themselves. Introduce yourself to those at the table that you are not acquainted with. It is a time to enjoy yourself, so do just that.

A wedding reception is indeed a celebration. As a good wedding guest, you will have the opportunity to enjoy yourself. Dancing is a great part of the celebration, however it is good manners to wait until the couple has had their first dance before you decided to get your groove on. Also, keep your alcohol consumption to a minimum. Nobody wants to deal with the embarrassment that comes with a drunk wedding guest. Keep yourself classy.

The length of a reception depends upon the bride and groom. They are typically 3-4 hours. It is good etiquette to stay at least until the cake is cut. You will know when things are beginning to wrap up and it is okay to leave. Make sure you give the couple one last hug before you leave. Expressing your gratitude for the opportunity to share the day with them is a great way to leave.

Wedding guest etiquette gives you the chance to show the couple how much you really care about them. You will be able to enjoy the time with them and the other guests by being the classy person you are.

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