Want to know how to be the best wedding guest? You probably haven't been able to help but notice the influx of wedding hashtags and photos circulating your social media feed.
That’s because wedding season is already well underway. And aside from wearing the perfect dress and partying, there’s more to being a wedding guest than you may think.
If you’re attending your first wedding this summer, you may be wondering how to be the best wedding guest. And even if you’re a frequent wedding attendee, it never hurts to brush up on the basics.
That’s why we’re bringing you these 6 tips on how to be the best wedding guest this season, and for years to come!
1. RSVP ASAP!
You received your “Save the Date”, which was soon followed up with the actual invitation. It then found its way under a pile of mail on your desk or kitchen counter.
There’s more to an RSVP than letting the bride and groom know what you want for dinner. They need to coordinate their seating chart and give their vendors a head count. This is especially pertinent if you’re allowed to bring a guest.
Wondering how to be the best wedding guest ever? For starters, don’t be tardy with your RSVP. Even if you can’t attend, let the bride and groom know. You’ll only add to their stress level by procrastinating.
2. Choose the Right Guest
Unless the envelope and invitation state your name “and guest”, don’t assume you can bring one.
The bride and groom get to decide who comes, so you shouldn’t ask to bring a guest unless it’s specified on the invite. This even applies to your significant other, as well.
If you can bring a guest, choose wisely. Bringing your significant other is acceptable. But be cautious of bringing along someone you’ve only known for a short period of time. You may not know how well they interact with strangers, or how they act under the influence of alcohol.
So, rule #2 on how to be the best wedding guest ever:
If you’re allowed to bring a guest, bring someone who will be a good time but won’t have too much fun in the process.
3. Picking the Perfect Dress
Getting to shop for a dress is often the best part of receiving an invite to a wedding. But if you don’t choose appropriately, you could run into some serious embarrassment.
For starters, wearing white to a wedding is still a big faux pas you don’t want to commit. You also don’t want to wear something that looks like a bridesmaid’s dress.
The key is to keep it classy and simple, and there are a few other things to keep in mind.
Choose something that aligns with the dress code specified on the invitation. Full-length formal or evening gowns are necessary for black and white tie events. “Cocktail attire” means semi-formal, but you shouldn't wear a sundress, either.
You should also choose the perfect dress based on your body and skin type. Even if a dress seems perfect in a dressing room, you may wind up tugging and pulling at it at the wedding. Be sure you can walk around comfortably in a dress before buying it.
4. Nailing the Gift
Sending a thoughtful and appropriate gift is a large part of how to be the best wedding guest. But not every wedding is the same, which means there are some nuances to choosing the right gift.
Some couples will choose items from a registry. If a registry isn’t specified, you can ask the close friends or family of the couple.
You don’t have to necessarily choose a gift from a registry. But it may make things easier for you to choose something that the couple has already picked out. You can also choose your own gift that you think the couple will like.
No matter which gift you choose, you shouldn’t bring it with you on the day of the wedding. Instead, you should mail it or bring it to the couple’s home sometime before or after the big day.
Money gifts are also appropriate. There will likely be a drop-off box at the reception. Make sure you make the check payable to either the groom or the bride. If you mail it out beforehand to the bride, use her maiden name.
5. Ceremony Etiquette
Want to know how to be the best wedding guest ever? For one thing, don’t arrive late to the ceremony!
You must attend the ceremony if you plan to attend the reception. You should aim to arrive at least 30 minutes before the starting time indicated on the invitation. If you do arrive late, wait to seat yourself in the back until after the bride has made it to the altar.
It helps to follow the lead of those around you, especially if you’re not familiar with religious ceremonies. You don’t have to participate in taking communion, for example. But you should sit and stand simultaneously with the rest of the guests.
Avoid taking flash photography at any type of ceremony, whether inside or outside. If the ceremony is to take place in a church, avoid wearing sunglasses inside. You may also want to bring a formal shawl to cover your bare shoulders.
6. Reception Etiquette
Before the party begins, there will likely be a receiving line. This is your opportunity to thank the couple and their parents for inviting you. It will be a brief encounter, but it’s where you can make the best first impression.
Next, you’ll want to find your seat. It’s likely that you’ll sit with people you know. Still, feel free to get up and socialize before the reception formally begins.
There will likely be a cocktail hour going on before the reception starts. Enjoy yourself without going overboard on the drinks. Make sure to sip on water throughout the night, especially in between drinks.
Dancing will usually commence once the couple has their first dance. You don’t have to dance or partake in the bouquet toss. But you shouldn’t be a wallflower, either. These events are the perfect time to socialize, take pictures, and enjoy the special day.
Plan to stay until dessert time or when the couple cuts their cake. On your way out, say your farewell to the couple and thank some of the immediate family members for having you.
Now that you know how to be the perfect wedding guest, we hope you enjoy yourself this wedding season!
Will you be attending a wedding this summer or fall? What will you be wearing on the big day? Let us know in the comments!