Since we are about to jump into our busy fall wedding season & know that a lot of you may be attending a wedding soon + may need to brush up on your wedding etiquette – we decided to create our Top 10 Wedding Etiquette Rules for Guests (That You Can’t Live Without). After shooting over 150 weddings, take it from us as photographers who are a part of the whole wedding day from start to finish – that WE HAVE SEEN IT ALL…and have definitely cringed from time to time when we see guests breaking the ultimate wedding day etiquette rule! We love & adore all of our couples & will do anything to help their day run smoothly. However, sometimes it’s completely out of our control & a beloved guest can unknowingly put a teeny-tiny wrench in their day or add a little unnecessary stress to their day. So, we wanted to share our do’s & dont’s for sweet guests! If you have friends who will be attending a wedding soon – please share this post with them – because the more guests that abide by these rules, the better wedding days will run for the couples that we all love so much!
- The bridal suite should be OFF-LIMITS! — Sorry, ya’ll – no exceptions here. We know that Aunt Betsy just loves the bride to death & wants to come see her before the ceremony – but honestly, sometimes uninvited visitors can put unnecessary, extra stress on the bride before the day even gets started. Mom — we love you too — but try to refrain from inviting long lost cousins that your daughter hasn’t met yet into the bridal suite. Instead, enjoy the last few hours of your babygirl before she becomes a married lady. She has a big day ahead of her & the stress levels should be kept at a minimum! We know that family is EVERYTHING & no one wants to be rude to a fellow family member – but sometimes, it’s just best if the group in the bridal suite is kept to a small group. Our tip – ask the bride BEFORE the wedding day who is & isn’t allowed into the bridal suite. Anyone who tries to come & visit – just give them a friendly reply that the bride can’t wait to see you after the ceremony! PS – Also, to add to this little tip – the MOH (Maid of Honor) or someone who is responsible can alleviate any stress by taking the brides phone to answer any phone calls from random people who will be bombarding her with questions regarding the day. It will be a huge stress relief for the beautiful bride-to-be & she will appreciate your help so very much when it comes to this!
- Send in your RSVP & do so by snail-mail! There’s nothing more frustrating than when a bride & groom are trying to get their guest count & RSVP list correct than by having to check a million different avenues to try to find your reply. They spent a lot of time & money on those gorgeous invites & they expect you to use them! 🙂 So, refrain from sending a Facebook message or text to let them know you are coming or not & take 30 seconds out of your day to mark your RSVP card & pop back it in the mail.
- Drink Responsibly! We know that weddings are a time to parrrr-tayyy & celebrate the newlyweds…but try to keep it under control if ya know what I mean! We know that the wine or whiskey can sneak up on you – but really, you don’t want to be “that drunk guy” or “that drunk girl” at the wedding. We know you’re having a ball – but keep track of how much you’re drinking. We’ve seen far too many sweaty, sloppy drunk messes out on the dance floor & it’s not cute! Remember, everyone’s going to see you + your shenanigans. Would you be okay if you’re grandma was there watching you? lol(Photo via Green Wedding Shoes)
- DO NOT WEAR WHITE! (& definitely don’t dress to compete or steal the show!) I truly don’t think anything irritates me more on a wedding day (except Rule No.8 which you will get to soon) than when a female guest wears white. *Insert long & dramatic eye roll here* It’s a given…and if you need me to, I will give you the change of clothes I carry in my car. Trust me – it’s that bad!
Also, don’t try to steal the show! I feel like I shouldn’t even have to list this rule because it should be a given – but you’d be surprised how many gals don’t abide by this one :p We know that you may have buns of steal or have been working on your beach bod for months…but there’s a time & place to show off – and trying to be a show stopper at your friends wedding & outshine the bride is just a big no-no! I believe that keeping it classy & tasteful for the day is the best way to go. In my personal opinion, wearing an overly fancy or a revealing outfit should be saved for another occasion. If you have to question whether your outfit is a little too risque or not, it most likely is & you should opt for a toned-down ensemble.
- Speeches should be short, sentimental, sweet & funny. I personally would say no longer than 3-4mins MAX! Of course, there are some exceptions to this rule, but not really. We know how much you love your best friend and how you have had a gazillion drunken crazy stories that can be used as blackmail – but trust me, we will live if we don’t hear them all during your speech – save those stories for your next night out together! 😉 There’s nothing we love more than a hilarious, short & sentimental speech!
- Get Out Of Your Chair! – Be a team player & get out on the dance floor! (even if you can’t dance!) Throw back a glass of wine if you need to (but please refer back to Rule No.3) & get your tooshie out there. Your friend only gets married once! Nothing is more depressing than an empty dance floor with just the bride & wedding party dancing. (Elderly guests of course do not apply to this rule)…but if you can move yo’ legs & hips from side to side – get out there with the couple & participate in the fun festivities. Trust me, they want to feel surrounded with love & be able to look back on their reception & see you by their side rather than a bunch of people who seem “bored” in their chairs all night. They will really, really, really appreciate it so much, Pinky Promise! 🙂
- Mail your gift. It has been a LONGGGGG day for wedding planners & close family members after the wedding comes to a close. Don’t forget that most of the time, they have to stay around after to help breakdown the decor & etc. The last thing they probably want to do is tote heavy gifts out to their cars to give to the bride & groom later. So – our tip is to mail your gift to the couple – it’s a win/win for everyone!
- Go Unplugged During The Ceremony. (This should be rule No.1) I could say a million things about this rule right here…but I will leave it at this: There’s nothing worse than looking through an iPhone screen rather than enjoying the moment and being PRESENT! Also, there’s nothing worse (or sad) than seeing everyones faces covered by their phones during the ceremony. Or covering the GROOM from seeing his bride for the first time just so you can get your cruddy iPhone shot. JUST STOP! Stop.It.Right.Now. We know you adore the bride, but that’s what we’re here for – we promise to capture the pictures so you can relax & enjoy the couples ceremony.
(Photo Above By: Thomas Steward Photography)
- Double check before you bring a plus 1. As you know, it takes a lot of money and time when it comes to planning a wedding and budgeting for hundreds of people. That includes seating charts, food, open bar & etc. If the option to bring a “Plus 1” wasn’t noted on the RSVP card – go ahead & assume that you shouldn’t bring a guest. Also – please refrain from calling the bride to ask if you can bring someone. Can you imagine if 100+ people were calling her to see if they could bring a date? Yeah, I just got anxiety thinking about it too. They probably quadruple checked over their RSVP cards and if wasn’t listed, I’m 99.99999% sure that was intentional. (This also applies to assuming you can bring your kiddos & family!) See if you can find some friends who are going & have a blast with them for the night!
- Arrive on time. If you’re not early, you’re late. Yes, I may be a little too punctual for my own good at times and arrive an hour early usually…but better to be early than late. I believe that guests should arrive no later than 15 minutes before the ceremony starts. There’s nothing more rude than sneaking in right before the wedding party walks down the aisle or mozy-ing up mid-ceremony. Be punctual & respectful. The bride & groom may not see it…but I do…and so do all of the other guests.
Well, guys! That concludes our Top 10 Wedding Etiquette Rules for Guests (That You Can’t Live Without)! If you have any wedding etiquette rules that we haven’t listed, please share them below in the comment section! Also, we can’t wait to see you at the next wedding rocking proper etiquette!PS – Don’t forget, if you loved this article, be sure to share it with your fellow wedding-goers! Until next time! xoxo, Chandy & Daniel