How to be the Perfect Wedding Guest


Don’t take being invited to a wedding for granted by breaking these rules. 

The perfect wedding guest follows a few key etiquette rules, and trust me, I have broken my fair share. Most of the time it was just because of selfish oversight or because I was battling with my own personal unknowns, like if I was invited with a plus one or if the pending conflict was going to come to fruition. Either way, it’s not okay to be rude. In fact, one of the worst things I have done in my life is RSVP yes to a wedding, then not show. Terrible, I know. I haven’t been able to face the bride to this day, but in case she is reading, I am so truly sorry and embarrassed. One of these days I am going to put on my big girl pants, apologize and send you that gift that’s been collecting dust for a solid four years.

My point is, don’t take being invited to a wedding for granted by breaking the simple rules that help make the planning a teensy bit less stressful for the bride and groom. And as wedding season resets for the year, the Save the Dates will start rolling in and it’s time to start planning for another year of wedding fever. Before that happens, let’s brush up on our manners.

Here’s how to be the perfect wedding guest.

RSVP…ASAP: Traditionally, wedding invitations are sent out 6 – 8 weeks in advance. Save the Dates are sent out months before to provide out-of-towners with a timeline. Check the date on your calendar and see if it’s free. Don’t be that person that assumes the bride knows you’ll be there. Don’t be that person that opens the invite, shoves it aside and forgets to mail in the response card. And for the love of God, if you RSVP’d yes, then show up. If something comes up at the last minute that will prevent you from attending, let the bride and groom know immediately.

Read the Invitation: If your invitation is addressed to “Ms. Jane Smith” that means that you’re on your own. If you have a significant other that you are very serious with, and the wedding is on New Years Eve, feel free to contact the bride and groom, only if you are very close to them, and explain your situation. Don’t just respond by adding your own plus one. And that goes for bringing your children. If the invite is addressed to “Mr. & Mrs. John Smith” that means leave the wee ones with a sitter.


Photo Courtesy of Oh So Beautiful Paper 

Grab your Seat Early: It’s common courtesy as a wedding guest to arrive to the ceremony 30 minutes prior. If you’re running late due to an emergency, a bad hair day or heinous traffic, don’t try wiggling into the last pew of the church ten minutes into the exchanging of the vows. Be respectful, wait until the I Do’s are finished and then join the ceremony. If it’s an outdoor or unconventional ceremony, try your best to squeeze in without causing a scene.


Photo Courtesy of Emmaline Bride 

Be a Team Player: On the day of their wedding, the bride and groom are going to have about a billion things going on. Worrying about your personal well-being, we’re sorry to report, is not one of them. Be as accommodating as possible and take part in the traditions or games you might not necessarily go for on any other occasion. If that means breaking out moves on the dance floor reserved solely for your bedroom, please do it. Your willingness to step outside your comfort zone will only make their wedding day that much more special.


Photo Courtesy The Wedding Tree

Drink Responsibly: People always remember “the drunk person” at the wedding. Don’t let it be you.


Photo Courtesy Style Me Pretty

Mix, Mingle & Move Around: Weddings can be awkward, let’s just get that out of the way. If you’re the date of someone in the wedding party…slightly awkward. If you’re a single guest and don’t know anyone…more awkward. Break the ice by exploring different areas of the party. Check out the bar, coffee station, cake table, dance floor—all different areas where likeminded people could be gathering. Weddings can be as fun as you make them, so take the opportunity and run with it.


Photo Courtesy Pop Sugar

And a few more tips, just for good luck & fortune:

  • Dress properly: no jeans and t-shirt! Non-negotiable.
  • Tip the bartender
  • Keep opinions to yourself
  • Be respectful of the venue
  • Don’t be an “i-phone paparazzo”
  • Remember who the day is really about
  • Always buy a gift
  • …and mail the gift!

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