I recently read an article from an upset bride who wrote into an advice column on slate.com. Her dilemma was whether to continue being friends with the best man of their wedding who proposed to his girlfriend in the middle of the ceremony. How could this best man have chosen that moment to propose to his girlfriend – a moment that the bride and groom had planned for months and that should have been solely theirs? Apparently, no one ever told him about wedding etiquette.
As we approach the height of wedding season, here are few thoughts to help you with what to do and what not to do as a wedding guest.
When you receive your invitation, look for the reply card and the “due date”. This is the date the couple is requesting to know whether you are or are not attending. This date is important as most venues require couples to commit to a specific number of attendees by a specific date. So be sure to send in your RSVP as soon as possible.
DO NOT assume you can bring a date
If you are invited to bring a date, the invitation will be addressed to you and guest. This is important, as many couples must stay under a certain number of people to stay within their budget. If you are invited solo, find out who else is attending and plan your accommodations and transportation together. If you’re too uncomfortable to attend alone, then decline the invitation. But whatever you do, do not ask the couple if you can bring a date. If they could afford to have you plus a guest, they would have addressed the invitation that way.
DO bring a gift
As with any gift, it’s not about how much you spend, it’s the thought that counts. There is no minimum or maximum amount that should be spent, just consider your budget and your relationship to the couple when purchasing the gift. Most couples will register for items they would like to start their life together. If you’re not sure where they’ve registered, try googling their names and its likely their registry will appear. Shop early for the best selection and ship it directly to the couple’s house. This will save you the hassle of hauling the gift to the ceremony and will save the couple from having to get it home.
Do be on time
Yes, it’s true that most weddings start late, but you shouldn’t be. Plan to be there at least 15 minutes before the start of the ceremony and be sure to use the restroom before it starts so you won’t need to make an untimely exit.
DO NOT wear white
White and ivory are reserved for the bride on her wedding day. Plan your outfit while adhering to the dress code. In most cases, the invitation will denote the dress code for the celebration. If not, look at the time of day and venue as an indication on what to wear. It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed so even if the wedding is casual, choose a dress or skirt to celebrate the occasion.
DO NOT post photos to social media
The bride and groom have hired photographers and videographers to capture the day and night. And many places of worship prohibit the use of phones or cameras during a religious ceremony. If you feel you absolutely must take photos of the bride and groom, wait until the reception and then be sure to get the couples’ permission before posting them to social media. Better yet, turn off your phone and be there in the moment. Let the professional photographer and videographer capture you celebrating with the bride and groom.
Weddings are a time for celebration so be sure to wear your dancing shoes and socialize with other guests. Although you should have fun, DO NOT get drunk. An open bar does not mean you should become overserved. One drink too many and you could create a lasting impression on the couple and all their guests.