Off to a wedding? Don’t end up being the talk of the day for all of the wrong reasons with our handy guide to wedding guest etiquette.
The wedding day should be all about the happy couple, so we have some top tips on how to ensure they have the best time and the focus remains solely on them.
Even before the happy day arrives, you can do the bride and groom a huge favour by sending an RSVP as soon as possible, once you receive the wedding invitation. As much as you, individually, no doubt mean the world to the happy couple…with numbers restricted at most venues, they will have a ‘back up list’ of others to invite (just in case!). So, do confirm if you can attend or not, so they can make the most of their allocation.
Follow the RSVP instructions too – you may be asked for dietary requirements, menu selection or to RSVP in specific form of correspondence or to a specific address…so don’t just send a WhatsApp…even if the bride is your best friend! Plus, there are some gorgeous acceptance cards to choose from.
Dress appropriately…and not in white
Some wedding invites will offer a ‘dress code’...some couples may not care what you wear…but one golden rule is to avoid wearing white, cream or ivory…essential if you know the bride is wearing a traditional wedding dress. You want her to be centre of attention on the big day after all.
It can also be handy to find out the chosen colour for the bridesmaids, maid of honour, perhaps even the groom, best man and ushers – so that you don’t accidentally look like a slight mismatch to the bridal party.
Most importantly, wear something you feel fabulous in! You’ll be in it all day…enjoying a delicious wedding breakfast…and partying until late – so make sure you feel comfortable too.
Arrive on time
…early is even better! We all know the tradition for the bride to be late, but it’s a definite ‘no-no’ for the guests.
No one wants to intercept the bride on her arrival or slip in the back and disturb the ceremony – so make sure you know where you are going and leave in plenty of time. The earlier you are, the better seat you’ll get anyway!
Put your phone on silent
Imagine the moment when they ask, "If anyone knows a reason why these two shall not be wed, let them speak now or forever hold their peace" and your phone rings or pings…! It’s just not worth thinking about. Whether it’s the vows or the best man’s speech, just pop your phone on silent – it’ll help you to focus on the special moments of the day too.
Stand until the newly-weds arrive at the wedding breakfast
This is probably a bit old fashioned, but did you know you should remain standing at your allocated seat (…thanks to the precision-planned table arrangements) until the couple arrive for the wedding breakfast and take their seats? So, stay standing and raise a toast, give them a clap and a cheer, and make the newly-wed couple feel extra special as they are announced and enter the room together.
Hit the dance floor
We all love a good party and the reception of any wedding should be a time of fun, laughter and celebration. The couple will have chosen their favourite band or DJ, but even if it’s not to your taste, make the effort and take the chance to have a dance.
For the happy couple, there’s nothing better than seeing a dance floor full of their guests enjoying themselves – old and young – so no matter the music, get involved!
Buy a suitable wedding gift
If the wedding invite includes a gift list or a request for certain items, then the etiquette and safest choice is to purchase something the couple have asked for. However, if there isn’t a gift list; the items are outside of your budget; or maybe the couple have suggested the gift list is optional, then it is definitely ok to choose something else.
Happy wedding memories for all
For many couples, whilst the wedding day is traditionally ‘all about them’ – seeing the guests having a great time; seeing friends from all areas of their life, as well as family, who have known you forever, all together in the same room, all happy, that is one of the most precious elements of any marriage celebration.
As a guest, have a good time, smile and enjoy yourself– because that’s the best ‘etiquette’ tip we can recommend.