Wedding Guest Dos and Don’ts

Wedding Guest Etiquette

Weddings are a lot of fun – they’re a chance for you to dress up, reconnect with old friends (and make new ones), and simply let loose for the day (no stress thoughts). But you mustn’t forget that as a wedding guest, you’re a representative of the bride and/or groom, so there are certain behaviour rules you need to abide by. Here, we discuss the mistakes you need to avoid if you want your wedding guest reputation to stay untarnished.

Do RSVP: Let the soon-to-be married couple know that you’ll be attending their nuptials as soon as possible. If you don’t RSVP and simply show up on the day, you’ll put the couple under pressure as they’ll have to rearrange their seating plan and order an extra meal to accommodate for your expected arrival.

Don’t be late: Weddings tend to run a bit behind schedule but that doesn’t mean you should. If the ceremony begins at 5pm, don’t show up at 5.20pm. You should plan to arrive 20 to 30 minutes early.

Do turn off or silence your phone: You don’t want to be the person who ruined the couple’s ceremony because your phone kept pinging. Keep it on silent or, to be extra safe, switch it to airplane mode for the entire ceremony.

Don’t bring an uninvited plus-one: Unless it says ‘and guest’ on the invitation, you should be attending the wedding solo. You can’t simply arrive on the day with a plus-one and do not contact the bride and groom the week of the wedding asking if you can bring someone with you – if they had the budget and space for an extra guest, they would have extended the invitation.

Do stick to the dress code: If you’ve read multiple wedding guest etiquette lists, you’ll find this one coming up again and again. Don’t wear white (the bride has dibs on that colour), don’t wear the same style and colour dress as the bridesmaids (check with the bride or bridesmaids before the wedding to find out what colour dresses they are wearing), and don’t wear jeans – even if the wedding invitation says ‘casual dress’,  try to stick to a dress, skirt and top, or suit. A good tip is to match your outfit to the venue.

Don’t criticise the food, loudly: If the food isn’t for you, don’t share your negative comments in the middle of the meal. The couple spent a lot of time creating the perfect menu for their day so to be polite, save your comments for another time and pretend everything is delicious.

Do tell the couple about food allergies: Whether you’re a vegan, follow a gluten-free diet, or are allergic to nuts, be sure to the tell the couple of your allergies in advance. That way, they can have the venue prepare a special menu for you.

Don’t drink too much: You don’t need to take full advantage of the open bar. You can have a good time but be sure to pace yourself too – you want to see the couple cut the cake.

Do introduce yourself to people at your table: If your table has people you’ve never met, introduce yourself when you sit down. The married couple worked long and hard on the seating plan so chances are you’re at that table because they feel you’ll mix well with the others.

Don’t give an unplanned speech: The microphone at the wedding isn’t a free for all. A wedding already comes with its fair share of speeches so if you want to speak, chat with the couple beforehand so they can schedule you in.