Wedding Guest Etiquette
You’ve just been invited to a wedding! Yay! We all know there are certain parts to play for the bride, groom, family, and wedding party, but what about your part as the guest? Below are some simple etiquette tips for being a great wedding guest.
#1. The Invite
The first thing to do when invited to a wedding is to respond immediately. Even if you are unable to attend (especially if you are unable to attend), it is important to inform the bride and groom so they have numbers as soon as possible.
It is also important to respect the invitation. It is inappropriate to ask the host or hostess if you can bring a date or children when the invitation is specific on who it is to. For example, if the invite is specifically addressed to you and a plus one it is impolite to ask for a second plus one.
#2. What to Wear
If the invitation does not specify what you are expected to wear your attire choice could be tricky. Take into consideration the time of the ceremony and where it is being held. For example, for a early afternoon wedding in summer outdoors it would be appropriate for women to wear a cocktail dress and men to wear a dark suit or a nice blazer with slacks. However, if the ceremony will take place in the evening at a church or special venue it is appropriate for women to wear an evening dress or longer cocktail dress and men to wear a tuxedo.
Unless otherwise specified the following should never be worn; jeans, t-shirts, sunglasses, skimpy or provocative clothing, baseball hats, tennis shoes or sandals, flashy jewelry, or any boutonnieres or corsages not supplied by the host.
#3. Choosing Gifts
Let’s get some myths about wedding gift-giving out of the way:
You do not have to choose something from the bridal registry, however the registry is for your convenience and looking at it may help you determine what the couple would like to receive.
It is not required to spend as much on a gift as the host/hostess is spending per person. The amount you spend is strictly a matter of budget, how close you are to the couple, and what you think is appropriate.
It is not tacky so send a monetary amount to the couple instead of an item. Often times this is the best option for a couple who already has established their households. A monetary gift is either sent to the couple with a note or into a financial gift registry set up by the couple.
You do not have a full year after the wedding to send a gift. It is appropriate to send a gift before the wedding or immediately following the wedding. However late is better than never so send it when you can.
Gifts may be taken to the wedding only if it is within the couples traditions to do so. If you are buying from a registry it is clearly stated where the gift should be sent.
Group gifts are ok. Generally a married couple, family, or a group living together will send a single gift for the group. It is also acceptable to pool money as a larger group to buy one large gift.
#4. Backing Out
Please oh please do not say you will attend and then just not show up. We all have been through financial and family issues and most people understand why you may not be able to attend. If you previously said you would attend and now are unable to do so let the bride and groom know immediately. At first they will be disappointed, but they will most likely understand.
Also, if you say you will attend then have to back out, do not decide you can attend a week before and ask the bride and groom for your seat back. A lot of times at this point the couple can not add to their wedding arrangements to accommodate last minute additions.
#5. The Most Important Rule
Keep the focus on the happy couple. You are not there for a family reunion; you are not there to hook up with someone; you are there to congratulate the bride and groom on their big day. Do not complain about the arrangements for their ceremony or reception or about anything else. Your job is to be a guest at their wedding and enjoy their first day as a married couple.