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  • Writer's pictureSirena White-Singleton


So, let's be honest here, the average person does not attend a wedding very often. Most recently I heard a gentleman in his mid-twenties mention that he was going to his first wedding ever and had no idea what to expect! In my head, I was like, " Whoa! Seriously!?" Then I stopped and thought that he's at that age where a flush of friends haven't started getting married yet. You know what I'm talking about. It's that season where all of your friends get married at once and you're at a wedding almost every month! So, let's get straight to the point with wedding guest etiquette. You know not to show up wearing jeans and a tee (I hope!) but there are other non-negotiables when it comes to being a good wedding guest. Here are 6 wedding etiquette tips to being a fabulous wedding guest and not earning the title of "that person at the wedding who..."!

Yeah, people will talk about you after the wedding!


Tip #1: Please just RSVP!

If there’s anything that gets on brides and grooms’ nerves before the wedding, it’s guests failing to RSVP in a timely manner (or not at all and showing up). “RSVP as soon as humanly possible,” Naylor advised. “Within a couple of weeks, send it back, even if the deadline is far off. It’s just good manners,” and it’s essential to determine how much the wedding will cost. “There is so much expense to planning, and most of that expense is dictated by the numbers on the guest list,"

Personally, If you don't RSVP don't expect to attend because there will be a list.

Tip #2: You're not a News Reporter.

Is It Okay to Use Mobile Devices to Upload Pictures During the Wedding?

You are a wedding guest, not a wedding news broadcaster or photographer. Please SIT down, be in the moment, and enjoy the love.

When in doubt, it’s better to ask the couple’s permission before posting photos to any social media outlet—especially during the ceremony. Uploading photos not only distracts you from participating in the moment, but it also broadcasts details of the event to people who may not have been invited. As a wedding photographer, this is a serious pet peeve for me.

So, I had an UNPLUGGED wedding ceremony.

What does that mean? That means no mobile devices and cameras are out during the ceremony.

That means NO Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook Live, InstaStories, Periscope, etc. during the ceremony. You're present as these two people become one. However, during the reception feel free to document your fun as you wish, but be respectful of the professional photographer and/or videographer.

Tip #3: If you weren’t invited with a guest, don’t show up with one.

Do not pencil your significant other’s name onto the RSVP card, and do not call and ask the bride for a +1 (or in some cases adding + 8) if it is not already denoted on the response card. “It is just beyond not okay,” This one of the top ten complaints from couples. “Once the bride and groom have come to their decision, it is what it is. Asking them to change is disrespectful, and it puts them in an awkward position.”

The only exceptions are if you’re married, engaged or cohabitating. In that case, modern-day etiquette says the bride should have included your significant other in the first place, and you can very diplomatically and politely broach the conversation with her.

A wedding is not the place to say, "Girl, wanna come to this wedding with me? They won't mind!" Well, actually they do and it will be embarrassing when your friend gets turned away because they weren't invited.

Tip # 4: DON'T text the bride or groom on their wedding day to ask about logistics!

If you must cancel at the last minute, don’t call the bride or groom. It’ll just add to their nerves. Get in touch with a family member and let them know instead. Following the same suit, do not call or text them asking for directions to their wedding. They go out of their way to put directions on their wedding website and on the invitation. So, make sure to utilize that GPS! Before you leave your house, make sure you have what you need to go to the ceremony and reception on time.

On the other hand, do show your enthusiasm for their wedding with celebratory Facebook posts (or any other social media outlet)or even a short text message with your congratulations on their wedding day. Please don't expect an immediate response.

In most cases, a member of the wedding party will confiscate the bride and groom's phone so that they can focus on what they came there for...TO GET MARRIED!

Oh, and to take selfies with the bride and bridal party!

Tip #5: DO pay attention to the dress code.

You don't want to be underdressed for the wedding. Even if it's casual, always wear a dress, skirt or suit. Dress for the venue, but follow instructions from the bride and groom (reach out and contact them prior to the wedding week).

Dress for the season in which the wedding is held. For evening, depending on how formal the wedding is (you can usually tell this from the formality of the invitation and/or where the wedding is being held), the dress code is cocktail dresses for women and darker suits (or tuxedos, if it's a black-tie affair) for men. Avoid wearing anything too flashy—and remember that if the ceremony is at a religious site, you don't want to show too much skin (for example, shoulders might need to be covered).

Black used to be taboo for weddings, but these days, a black dress is perfect for an evening wedding. Female wedding guests should not wear white—it's considered extremely impolite to take away from the bride on her day by wearing her color. Avoid off-white and ivory too, unless there's a dress code mentioned on the invitation or wedding website that instructs guests to wear a certain color.

So, please don't come to a wedding wearing jeans (especially sagging jeans). Ladies, you are not going to "da club" so please, please no booty short dresses or wearing clothes so small until you look like a can of biscuits!

Tip #6: You should get to the ceremony on time—this is not a party to be "fashionably late" for at anytime.

Also, never consider ditching the ceremony and just showing up for the reception. You've been invited as an honored wedding guest to watch this couple get married.

Ideally, you should arrive at the ceremony site 30 minutes before the time printed on the invitation, and even earlier for a large event (200 wedding guests or more). If you get thereafter it's begun, seat yourself quietly in the back and/or follow the directions of the hostess. If the procession is going on, wait until the bride reaches the altar to enter and find a seat.

You're not expected to participate in religious rituals (if you're Jewish and attending a Catholic wedding, for example, you don't receive Communion). But it's polite to follow the lead of family members sitting in front as far as standing and sitting goes (you don't have to kneel if you don't want to, though). After the recession, wedding guests remain in their seats until the families of the newlyweds have been escorted out. If the receiving line is scheduled post-ceremony, simply join in the line.

So, if you're currently wedding planning or not....please feel free to share these helpful tips to elevate your wedding day experience. Also, if you've experienced some wedding day craziness please share it below in the comments of this post!

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#WeddingPlanningTips #WeddingEtiquette #WeddingTips #WeddingGuest #Weddings

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