Being invited to a wedding is a great honor, and means that you are considered an important part of the couple’s future. They want you to be a part of one of their most important life events, so make sure you don’t let them down. Here are some tips on wedding etiquette, and how to be a great guest:
You should RSVP as soon as possible. Be sure to use one of the RSVP methods listed on the invitation – don’t send a casual Facebook message if they’ve included a formal RSVP card. If you are unable to attend the wedding, you should RSVP sooner rather than later. Tell them why you are unable to attend, and how sorry you are to be missing their big day.
Most couples register for gifts, and the details of the list should be included in the invitation. You should choose a gift from the list. If you are unable to attend on the day, you should still send a card and gift to wish the bride and groom well. If you are part of the bridal party and have contributed towards the cost of the bachelorette or bridal party, then it is understood that you will spend less on the gift.
If the invitation doesn’t mention a plus one, don’t take one. Similarly, if the kids aren’t mentioned on the invitation, they aren’t invited. It could be budget or space limiting the number of guests, so do not turn up with extra bums to seat and mouths to feed on the big day.
Dress for the occasion
If the invitation mentions a dress code, you must dress appropriately. Weddings are fancy occasions and you should make sure you look your best. Men should wear suits and ties unless otherwise stated. Women should avoid very short skirts and excessive cleavage. Do not wear white or cream to a wedding.
You should arrive at the venue around half an hour before the service starts. Make sure you switch your mobile phone off during the ceremony. If you choose to take photos during the service, do not use the camera flash. If the person leading the service asks that no photos are taken, respect this as it is likely to be under direction of the bride and groom.
If you are asked to feature in the official wedding photos, make sure you can be seen. The bride and groom obviously want to remember you as part of the day, so don’t hide behind Aunt Nora’s enormous hat. Make sure you take lots of your own photos throughout the day too.
The Seating Plan
It is likely that the bride and groom have lost a few nights sleep, shed a few tears and had a few tiffs over the seating plan, so don’t waltz in and announce you’re joining a different table. Sit at your allotted table, and mingle with the other guests.
Whatever you do, don’t leave before the cake is cut. The cutting of the cake is traditionally a subtle sign to the older guests that they are now allowed to leave the reception if they wish.
Of course you want to tell your friends how perfect and wonderful their wedding has been, but keep it short and sweet. The bride and groom need to do the rounds and speak to each of their guests, so don’t hog their attention.
Show off your moves on the dancefloor, impress the other guests with your witty banter, and show off your happy grin. Basically, enjoy yourself. After all that planning, the bride and groom will be pleased to see that their hard work has paid off and that guests are having fun.
Say goodbye to the happy couple before you leave at the end of the night. Tell them what a wonderful day you’ve had, and that it was a truly special day. Be sure to thank them for inviting you.
Send a thank you note after the event, thanking them for including you and noting any of your favorite moments of the day. If you took photos on the day, you may like to include a disc of photos with the note, so they can share your memories too.
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