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  • Christina Hubeli

How To Be a Great Wedding Guest

Being a great wedding guest
Photo: Sean Cook Photography

Wedding season is in full swing, and you might find your refrigerator decorated with a myriad of save-the-dates and invitations. Whether you’ll be attending your first wedding or your fiftieth this year, there are some basic etiquette rules that you should follow as a wedding guest.

The best rule of thumb? Put yourself in the couples’ shoes. How would you want your guests to act on your wedding day? If you wouldn’t want your guests texting you the morning of asking for directions to the venue, then don’t do it to others!

Follow these rules to be an outstanding guest at the next wedding you’ll be attending.

1) RSVP.

Yes, this seems obvious, but every married couple can tell you that they had to track down X amount of RSVPs after their deadline because people didn’t respond. Once you receive your invitation, try to respond as soon as possible. You may need some time to figure out your work schedule, travel plans, etc. and that’s okay! Just make sure to RSVP by the deadline.

This is also a great time to let the couple know of any dietary restrictions you have. More often than not, there will be a spot on the RSVP for you to convey this information. But if not, just send the couple a note about your restrictions so they can plan accordingly.

2) Read the invitation (and the wedding website) carefully.

Your invitation should tell you all the information you’ll need to know for the day-of. Carefully read over the invitation for all the important details like the where and when, the dress code, if you have a +1 or not, and if kids are invited.

If the couple has a wedding website (usually listed on the invitation), this is where you can find additional info like notes on hotel room blocks, shuttle schedules, and more. If you have questions, take another look at the invitation and website to make sure you didn’t miss anything. And if you do have questions close to or on the wedding day, try texting someone other than the couple like one of their wedding party members, a family member, etc.

3) Be on time.

A wedding isn’t the time to be fashionably late! Double check the invitation for the start time of the wedding and allow yourself extra time to park, go to the bathroom, and grab a seat. If you’ll be driving yourself, check out the route on Google Maps and buffer in some extra time in case there’s traffic.

4) Put away your phone.

The couple hired a professional photographer (and possibly a videographer as well!) for a reason! Don’t get in their way by sticking out your phone to snap a photo of the couple during the ceremony. Not only will you be getting in the way of the photographer or videographer, the photos they take will be littered with guests on their phones, which doesn’t look cute. Once you head into the reception, it’s generally safe to pull out your phone for some photos, but still be mindful of other guests and the wedding pros.

When it comes to posting on social media, follow the couple’s lead. Wait until they have had a chance to post before you show off your pics from the day.

5) Stay positive.

Mingling is more or less inevitable when it comes to weddings, and you may find that you’re attending a wedding with an ex-friend or family member that you might not get along with too well. Despite whatever has come between you, keep things cordial and light. Now isn’t the time to dig into the past and bring up any issues.

On the flip side, also keep negative comments about the wedding to yourself. Everyone has a different budget, style, and vision that all impact how the wedding day turns out. Couples may choose to forgo certain “traditional” wedding elements or may infuse unique components into the day that you haven’t seen before. If you’re not a fan of some aspects of the wedding, keep any negative comments to yourself and remind yourself that it’s not your wedding.

6) Celebrate but don’t go overboard.

The reception is time to let loose, have fun, and dance the night away! But just because there’s an open bar doesn’t mean you should treat the wedding like your favorite club. Monitor your alcohol intake and don’t get too rowdy -- the last thing the couple wants to do is have to deal with a guest that drinks too much or can’t get themselves home safely.

Weddings are such an exciting time for both the couple and the guests. It’s a time to celebrate the love of a pair that you care for, so make sure you are helping to make their day special with these tips!

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