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Bride and Groom Image on Old-Fashioned PaperApril showers bring May flowers and weddings. With the wedding season gearing up, it’s important to know your responsibilities as a good wedding guest. If you’ve got one or more weddings to attend this year, here are some reminders about how to be a good friend from the time you get your invitation to leaving the reception.

Read the Invitation

When you get the invitation, check to see who is invited. Don’t assume you can bring a plus one or your kids unless it’s stated on the invitation. Don’t put the RSVP on your counter, thinking you’ll get back to it. As soon as you know whether you can go, get that RSVP in the mail or do it online. Put the date on your calendar. If you’re not sure what to wear or have questions, try to find one of the wedding party members to ask. The couple is already dealing with hundreds of details, so it’s nice not to add to their list.

Attending the Wedding

Instead of bringing gifts to the wedding reception, have your gift shipped directly to the couple. It’s easier for you, especially if you’re travelling to the wedding. It’s easier for the wedding party, who don’t have worry about packing up gifts after the party. Don’t cancel your RSVP unless it’s absolutely necessary. In addition:

  • Be on time even though weddings tend to run behind. Plan time for parking and walking to the venue. You may need an extra 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Turn off your phone.
  • Dress up for the wedding but pay attention to the venue. Wear nice clothes, even for a casual wedding.
  • Don’t wear white or light ivory.
  • Stay out of the photographer’s way. Don’t take pictures during the ceremony.
  • Congratulate and thank the hosts. You don’t have to know the parents to tell them how much you enjoyed the wedding.
  • Have a good time at the reception. Dance, mingle and enjoy the food. Enjoy the bar, but don’t overdo.
  • Don’t drive home if you’re buzzed on alcohol. Have a designated driver or use a rideshare or taxi.
  • Sign the guestbook. If you write a comment, remember to sign your name. No comments that might embarrass the couple or yourself.
  • If you get a chance to talk to the couple, don’t monopolize their time.
  • Take your wedding favor home with you.
  • If you take pictures during the reception, share them with the couple. Don’t share unflattering pictures.
  • Talk to the people around you, even if you don’t know them well. If you’re not sure what to say, ask how they know the couple and talk about fun memories. Keep your negative opinions to yourself.

When You Aren’t Invited to the Wedding

Not getting an invite to a wedding can hurt. It’s okay to have feelings about it. It’s not okay to pressure the bride and groom or to make them feel guilty. Take the high road and be happy for the couple. Understand that there are a lot of decisions about guests. Even though many places are reopening after the past year of pandemic restrictions, there may still be limits on how many guests can be invited based on space and/or budget. Wish the couple well. Get a gift for them if you want. Or don’t get a gift — there’s no obligation. Don’t get anyone else involved. If you got a save-the-date but didn’t get the invitation, you may want to ask the host about it. Otherwise, consider yourself off the hook.  

Be a Good Guest

Put on your good manners to be a wedding guest. You don’t have to put on airs; just use common courtesy and thoughtfulness. Make the couple’s big day memorable by not being that guest that upstages the couple. Being a good wedding guest honors the couple and your friendship.

Category: Wedding Materials

wedding receptions wedding invitation wedding guests

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