You’ve just received the invitation! What a fabulous couple, you can’t wait to attend their spectacular wedding!! What’s the next step?? How do you make sure you’re the best guest ever??
Sometimes, people do not know how they should behave when attending a wedding. Although most people assume that wedding etiquette is reserved for the bride, her groom and their family members, certain etiquette applies to guests too and starts well before the day of the wedding.
Embarrassing the bride, groom or their family should be avoided at all costs especially during the most important day for the newlyweds. The rules for the guests are much easier to follow and they come naturally to most people. Here are a few tips you should be aware of that will help make you a great wedding guest!
Each invitation has an RSVP date. Because an accurate count is needed well before the date of the wedding, it wouldn’t do to respond late, even if you don’t plan to attend. Failure to respond in a timely manner is considered rude and disrespectful and can be very stressful to the bride and groom. Many vital decisions are based on the number of guests who will be attending a wedding and it is therefore very important and polite to confirm one’s attendance as soon as you can, to make work easier for the couple and the planners. From meals to décor to the seating list, if the bride and groom don’t have their guest count, many things cannot be finalized and their budget remains in flux. There are enough last minute details they will have to handle, try not to make your RSVP one of them.
YOUR “GO TO” PERSON
No matter how far you've traveled to attend a wedding, the couple isn't required to pay for your hotel -- or even let you crash on their couch. Many couples will reserve blocks of hotel rooms to get a good rate for their out-of-town guests, but don't expect them to foot the bill. If you're not sure where to stay, ask a member of the bridal party for recommendations.
The first rule is getting to the wedding on time. All wedding invitation cards indicate the time the wedding ceremony is scheduled to start and as a guest it is your responsibility to arrive on time, actually at least 15 minutes before the ceremony time is the rule of thumb. Arriving just as the bride is walking to the front of the church or ceremony location is a big NO-NO! If you are late, stand in the rear of the wedding location and watch from afar. Walking down the aisle after the bride and shuffling around trying a find a seat is a HUGE faux pas!
At the reception it’s likely you will have assigned seating. Your hosts have taken the time to see that you will be seated with people you know or are at least compatible with. If you’ve never made the acquaintance of some of the people at your table, start off the evening by making introductions. Before long, you’ll all be chatting like old friends.
Changing seats or even worse, tables, is considered disrespectful to your hosts. They have planned every detail carefully and have thoughtfully seated guest where they have for a reason. Also, changing places can wreak havoc with the dinner service. The caterer will have been given a schematic of all the tables and where every guest is seated. They know, seat by seat, who gets the fish and who gets the chicken, that the guest at table 6, seat 5 is allergic to nuts and there are vegetarians at table 1, 2 and 3 in seat 3, 7 and 9 respectively. Changing places and/or tables can end up resulting in guests getting the wrong meal and being unhappy…. or even worse. It’s not something the bride and groom need to deal with on the happiest day of the lives.
Be mindful of speeches and announcements and the first dances. Guests conversing amongst themselves while something important is going on is not acceptable behavior.