I’ve been to a couple of weddings in the last few weeks and I’ve been astounded by the behaviour of some of the guests, even hearing some of the stories in the build up to the big day left me shocked. There just seemed to be a lack of common sense and general courtesy. Has this gone awry in recent times?
Interested, I put the question to social media and along with what I’ve witnessed and the stories you’ve shared, we’ve compiled a wedding guest guide to etiquette to help you avoid such faux pas.
Invites and Your Attendance
Children and plus ones
Even if subtly, it’ll be evident in the invitation whether children and plus ones are invited. If it isn’t evidently stated, usually in the form of a cutesy poem, an easy way to determine who is being invited is to look to who the invite is addressed to. If addressed to the family, you can assume that your children are invited to share in the special occasion; if addressed to you and your partner then organise for a sitter. The same goes for plus ones. If it doesn’t explicitly state plus one or name your partner, don’t bring someone with you or cause a fuss that a partner or date is excluded.
The first thing to always remember when it comes to a wedding is it is SUPER expensive; you’re looking at upwards of £20 per guest for the day’s festivities and £10+ for evening guests children included, even if they don’t eat much . Organising the guest list is a painstaking process, any exclusion will have had much consideration and you must respect the wishes of the bride and groom. The alternative is to let them know you’ll not be attending in your RSVP.
What you’re being invited to
If you’re being invited to the ceremony and breakfast there is an assumption that you’ll stay to continue the celebrations into the evening. We’re not saying that you have to be the last to leave but it’s likely that food will be organised and you will have been accounted for in this budget. You can still stay for a part of the evening celebrations and say your goodbyes in good time. It would be rude to leave shortly after the wedding breakfast unless you’d discussed this with the bride and groom in plenty of time, before the event.
If you’re an evening guest only, it can be easy to assume you’ll not be missed if it becomes inconvenient to you to make an appearance. I can guarantee it will be noted and don’t forget, you not showing will have a financial implication to the newlyweds. If you have an emergency that prohibits you fulfilling your commitment make sure you at least get a message to the couple and forward on your cards and gifts. Again don’t assume that you’ll not need to give or get them anything.
Your behaviour is a personal reflection on those that invited you. The bride/grooms bosses could be there, their parents and family members will be and inappropriate behaviour is remembered. Don’t embarrass the couple and put them in an awkward position.
The bride and groom are also financially responsible for every guest in attendance. Any damages or theft would come back to them and the smallest of things get noticed by the venue.
Always drink responsibly, be polite, engage with other guests and participate in the festivities; get up and dance, sign the guest book, play games and take advantage of photo booth/props.
A tradition that dates back to the 19th century, white is reserved for the bride and the bride alone. Even if you’re aware that the bride has chosen white dresses for their bridal party, still don’t wear white. Unless explicitly stated in the invitation, a guest must never wear white to such an occasion. No matter how cute you look in that tee dress, it draws attention away from the special occasion as it is seen as unacceptable. We’re not saying white is excluded in its entirety but play it safe and wear with other colours.
As for style, try and find something that suits the occasion. The invitations and venue will give key insights into the theme; church weddings are the more formal occasion so bare this in mind and always look at the venues website or social pages to get an indication of the style the couple may choose.
Social Media and Photos
As a rule of thumb, don’t spend all your time on your phone snapping photos, uploading and definitely not being on social media. The bride and groom generally hire photographers to capture the special moments and in a way they’d like to remember. They’ve paid a lot to have you there and would much rather have you there in the moment and enjoying it then catch you on your phone.
With photos you capture on the day privately send these to the couple for their own records rather than share on social channels and give them the opportunity to share the photos they like most.
Also, be courteous to any request not to upload any pictures to social media- this will be a blanket rule that will apply to all channels including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If they don’t want them up, be respectful of that. If you’ve not previously discussed this with the bride and groom and/or there isn’t anything explicitly stated, don’t post them.