Wedding Etiquette Dos and Don’ts for Guests

By Published On: July 9, 2024

As a guest, following proper wedding etiquette is essential to ensure you contribute to the couple’s special day without any mishaps. If you are someone who hasn’t attended many weddings or is unfamiliar with what to do when attending a wedding, fear not! We’re breaking down the biggest wedding etiquette do’s and don’ts for guests so you can enjoy your time while ensuring you’re celebrating the couple properly.

Wedding Etiquette Dos

1. Do Follow the Dress Code

When a couple specifies a dress code, it’s important to adhere to it. Whether it’s black-tie, semi-formal, or casual, following the dress code shows respect for the couple’s wishes and the tone they want to set for their wedding. If you’re unsure about what to wear, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. We also have many guides here with ideas and tips for weddings based on dress codes. Here are some ideas on what to wear to a black-tie optional wedding.

2. Do Take Your Wedding Favor

Wedding favors are a token of appreciation from the couple to their guests. Make sure to take yours home as a memento of the celebration. Some guests feel weird about taking the wedding favor but trust us, the couple appreciates you being there and wants you to take it!

3. Do RSVP on Time

RSVPing on time is one of the most crucial wedding etiquette dos. The couple needs to finalize headcounts for catering, seating, and other arrangements. Promptly responding to the invitation shows consideration and helps the couple manage their planning efficiently.

4. Do Silence Your Phone During the Ceremony

Ensure your phone is silenced or turned off during the ceremony to avoid any interruptions. The ceremony is a sacred and intimate moment for the couple, and unexpected phone noises can be disruptive and disrespectful. It’s one of the easiest things to do, so turn it on silent and enjoy the ceremony! In addition, make sure you pay attention to ceremony rules for filming and photos. Unplugged weddings are becoming more popular, which asks guests to refrain from taking photos or videos of the couple during the ceremony. This allows everyone to be more present and for the photographer/videographer to be able to capture the day without screens blocking the photos.

5. Do Bring a Gift or Card

Bringing a gift or card is a thoughtful gesture to celebrate the couple’s new journey and is often expected unless otherwise specified in the invitation details.  In general, gifts are more common at bridal showers, while at the wedding a congratulatory card and some money are most common. So even if you’ve already given a present at a bridal shower or engagement party, a card with a heartfelt message is always appreciated.

6. Do Look a The Wedding Website

Couples spend a lot of time perfecting their wedding website, and it has tons of helpful information for guests! You can often find answers to many questions, such as how to get to the venue and detailed dress code information. You can also find answers to questions you didn’t even know you had, such as if the couple has a honeymoon fund you can donate to for their wedding gift, or if there is a certain type of footwear that is recommended for the venue.

Wedding Etiquette Don’ts

1. Don’t Wear These Colors or Clothes

Avoid wearing white, ivory, or any color that could be mistaken for bridal attire. These colors are traditionally reserved for the bride. Additionally, steer clear of the colors specified in the couple’s invitation, as these are often part of the wedding theme or bridal party attire. Avoid anything too revealing or that creates a statement. Remember, it’s the bride’s day! You want to look your best as a guest, without making a scene.

Also avoid anything that is considered casual, such as flip-flops, jeans, sneakers, etc. Even if it is a more casual wedding, wear a nice pair of sandals, a summer dress, or a button-up shirt.

2. Don’t Show Up Late

Arriving on time is essential. Plan to arrive at least 15-30 minutes before the ceremony starts to find your seat and settle in. Showing up late can be disruptive and take away from the couple’s special moment. If you’re someone who is always late, pretend the wedding starts 30 mins before to keep you on time!

3. Don’t Drink Too Much

Enjoying a few drinks at the reception is fine, but overindulging is not. Excessive drinking can lead to inappropriate behavior, which can be embarrassing for you and uncomfortable for other guests. Trust us, nothing is worse than hangxiety after a wedding!

4. Don’t Post on Social Media Before the Couple

Respect the couple’s privacy and excitement by not posting photos or videos of the wedding on social media before they do. They may have specific plans for how and when they want to share their special day. Wait until they’ve shared their posts before you upload any of your own.

5. Don’t No-Show After RSVPing Yes

If you’ve RSVP’d yes, make every effort to attend. No-showing without a valid reason can cause unnecessary complications and costs for the couple, as they’ve planned and paid for your attendance. If something urgent arises, notify the couple as soon as possible.

Wedding Etiquette Dos and Don’ts for Guests

By following these wedding etiquette dos and don’ts, you’ll show respect for the couple and won’t have to worry about doing anything embarrassing or rude during the ceremony/reception. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to the couple before their big day! They will appreciate you asking and checking in.

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