top of page

Wedding Etiquette: Guest Edition

With wedding season in the air, the anticipation and excitement of celebrating love and unity are palpable. As invitations land in our mailboxes and our social calendars begin to fill, it's the perfect time to reflect on the role we play as guests in these momentous occasions. Weddings, with their diverse traditions and expressions, invite us to partake in one of life's most cherished ceremonies. Let's explore some ways you can be not just a guest but a great contributor to the wedding day, enhancing the celebration with your presence and actions.

1.Respond to RSVPs Thoughtfully:

The cornerstone of wedding guest etiquette begins with the RSVP. This simple act of responding in a timely manner is a significant first step in showing respect for the couple's planning and preparations. Remember, every guest counts, and your promptness helps them finalize crucial details like seating arrangements and catering numbers. If circumstances change and you're unable to attend after RSVPing 'yes,' communicate this as soon as possible to allow the couple to adjust their plans accordingly. Ideally the RSVP will have an "RSVP by" date, typically up to four weeks before the wedding date. If not, RSVP as soon as you possibly can.

2. Gift-Giving with Grace:

Gift-giving is a traditional way to celebrate the couple's new journey. While wedding registries are a helpful guide, thoughtful consideration in choosing a gift that reflects the couple's tastes and needs speaks volumes. If you're opting for a monetary gift, consider the cultural and personal preferences of the couple. Regardless of the gift's nature or value, the sentiment behind it is what truly matters, and a heartfelt note accompanying the gift can add a personal touch that will be cherished. Don't forget to include a card so the couple knows who it is from.

3. Ceremony Conduct:

The wedding ceremony is a solemn and significant moment for the couple. As a guest, your role is to bear witness and honor this commitment. Arriving on time, turning off your phone, and refraining from unnecessary movements or noise during the ceremony are simple yet impactful ways to show respect. If the couple has specific requests, such as a 'no photos' policy during the ceremony, adhering to these wishes is paramount.

4. Reception Revelries:

A wedding reception is a time for celebration and having fun. However, it's important to remember to be polite and considerate to others. This involves being mindful of where you sit, being friendly to other guests, and participating in the festivities in a way that makes everyone feel happy and comfortable. You can enjoy the delicious food, dance, and entertainment, but it's important to remember the importance of the event and behave in a way that is respectful and appropriate. This also means not drinking too much alcohol, so that everyone can enjoy the day without any uncomfortable or embarrassing situations. Lastly, be mindful of your camera. It's very likely the bride and groom hired a photographer (and for good reason!), so don't let your camera get in the way.

5. Dressing with Respect:

The invitation often provides clues to the expected dress code, whether it's formal, semi-formal, casual, or themed. It's not just about dressing appropriately; it's about contributing to the atmosphere the couple wishes to create. If the dress code is unclear, erring on the side of slightly more formal attire is usually a safe bet. However, one rule stands paramount in wedding guest attire: refrain from wearing white or any hue that could be construed as bridal. This tradition, deeply rooted in respecting the bride's unique presence, helps ensure that she remains the focal point of the day.

The essence of wedding guest etiquette in terms of attire is to look your best while ensuring that your outfit doesn't become a talking point for the wrong reasons. This means avoiding overly flashy, provocative, or extravagant dresses that might draw attention away from the couple, particularly the bride. The day is a celebration of their love and commitment, and our role as guests is to enhance this celebration with our presence and support, not to divert attention.

6. Hold Back Negative Remarks:

If you have reservations or criticisms about any aspect of the wedding, it's crucial to keep those thoughts to yourself. Maintaining a positive and supportive atmosphere is key to honoring the couple's efforts and ensuring their day remains a joyful celebration. Don't be the one to put a damper on their special day.

7. Give the Bride and Groom Space:

While it's wonderful to spend time with the newlyweds, be mindful not to monopolize their attention. They have many guests to greet and thank, so ensure your interactions are thoughtful yet brief, allowing them to share their special day with all in attendance.

The Finer Details:

Dress code, plus-ones, and participation in wedding traditions should be navigated with attention to the couple's guidelines and wishes. If you're unsure, it's always better to ask or err on the side of caution and formality.

As we embrace the wedding season and the myriad of celebrations it brings, let us remember the privilege it is to share in such significant moments of love and commitment. By embodying the principles of respect, consideration, and joy, we contribute not just to the success of the day but to the lasting memories that the couple will treasure. At Poised & Proper, we champion these values, encouraging every guest to bring their best selves to each celebration, making every wedding not just an event, but a cherished memory for all involved.


bottom of page