Wedding Guest Etiquette 101
One of my all time favorite lyrics is from the king of hip-hop Jay-z, HOV.
“You can pay for school but you can’t buy class!”
Swaggers like Us remix
After listening to this song it gave me the idea for this very important post. Having the honor of being a part of my three dear friends wedding party and attending more than a couple dozen weddings I have learned a lot on how to be the best wedding guest I can be. I was thunderbolted and disturbed to hear some of the guest stories my blogger counterparts and work associates had to say about some of the behavior their wedding guest had. So I’m going to cover the basics on how to be a classy and not TACKY wedding guest. You’re behavior at a wedding may be expressing more than you think about yourself! So listen up and don’t forever be labeled as the “SUNDAY” guest. I reference un-classy people as SUNDAY cause on Sunday’s there’s NO CLASS!
When your friends or family get married, there are all kinds of wedding etiquette and rules that govern their behavior. But did you know there are rules for wedding guests too? To ensure that you don’t inadvertently commit a faux pas or do anything mistaken at a loved one’s wedding, follow these simple rules.
1. Don’t be late! If a wedding invitation says that the ceremony will begin at 4 pm, be sure to arrive there by 3:30 this will give you time to find a seat and get settled. You wouldn’t want to interrupt the processional. This is one of my pet peeves; since I’m a Latina I see this #1 rule broken all the time. Google your directions and print them ahead of time. Be prepared people!
2. Please avoid taking photographs during the ceremony. Leave this to the photographer they hired and respect the sanctity of the ritual in front of you.
I say wait until the ceremony is finished and snap away but I’m sure etiquette professionals would differ.
3. Lets learn French.
R.S.V.P. “Répondez s’il vous plaît”, a French phrase that translates to “please respond” and word for word translation is “respond if you please”.
Please RSVP promptly. It is standard practice to reply to an RSVP weather you’re confirming attendance or declining. The couple will be making many decisions based on the number of guest who will be attending. Furthermore, if you must cancel after you have accepted, do so as soon as possible.
4. Bring a guest ONLY if your invitation specifically says their name or “+ Guest” If there is no such indication do not assume it’s alright to do so. Remember each place setting is an additional expense for the couple and her family and each dinner plate cost is generally high. You most definitely can’t expect the Bride to forego her cousin of the wedding list so you can bring a date. Most importantly bringing unexpected guests is very impolite. This includes your children, relatives or a friend the couple doesn’t know.
Don’t be a wedding crasher…it’s not cute.
5. Gifts are a part of getting married and there is etiquette to them. While it is not necessary to bring gifts to the wedding, a wedding gift for the happy couple is indeed required. Either mail the wedding gift ahead of time or bring it on the day of. PLEASE understand the couple will be delighted that you were thoughtful enough to give a gift period. Monetary gifts are most common and usually given on the day of the wedding. However, follow this unspoken language for gift giving. Now a day we all know weddings cost thousands of dollars. Please at least cover the cost of your plate (range of $60-$100) and if you bring a guest cover the cost of their plate too. I can’t stress enough on the message you are sending to the wedding couple if you don’t at least do that. This is why Hallmark makes wedding cards people. Whichever way you choose to give a gift it is TACKY if you don’t give a gift. Even if you are not attending the wedding it is still customary to send a gift if you were invited. Don’t be a SUNDAY on this one!
6. Wedding Attire
The style of the invitation is sure to give you a few clues on what the wedding guest attire should be. If the wedding invitation comes on expensive paper and it’s in formal language chances are it will be a formal affair. If there is a theme dress according to the theme. Depending on the season and if the wedding is indoor or outdoor follow this guide and read between the lines on the invitation. theknot.com
7. Behave yourself. While the happy couple wants you to enjoy yourself to the fullest please refrain from being a drunken mess. Yes open bar is tempting, but if you can’t be counted on to hold your liquor, perhaps you don’t need to be near the open bar, just stay away. No one enjoys being surrounded around a drunken wedding guest. While you overindulge you not only embarrass others in attendance but most importantly embarrass yourself! And NO “I was drunk” will not excuse your behavior. Drink in moderation.
Following all above will be sure to make the wedding couple proud and remind them why you were selected to be a part of their special day. Keep it CLASSY on your next wedding attendance if not you will forever be known as a Sunday!