Tip of the Day #14: How To Be a Gracious Wedding Guest
It would be a total blanket statement to declare that your role as a wedding guest is as simple as showing up in a semi-formal outfit and enjoying the wedding festivities for the day. As a well-educated, thoughtful friend of the bride and groom, it is important that you do your due diligence and plan ahead. Enjoy a few of my top tips for proving yourself a worthy wedding guest.
RSVPs and Communication
The sooner you respond to a wedding invitation’s request for RSVP, the more at ease you will put the bride. Couples planning a wedding are working tirelessly to put together floor plans and figure out the logistics of a wedding. Do not, in any circumstance, request to bring a date or to have your family attend the wedding unless it was previously discussed. Your invitation will arrive addressed to the people invited to the wedding and they should be the only people planning to attend, end of story.
It may sound obvious but it is extremely important to practice good behavior at a wedding ceremony. I’ll keep it simple — plan to arrive early so you don’t disrupt other guests, turn off the ringer on your cell phone, put away your camera if it has a bright flash and keep chatter to a minimum. If you’re bored, suck it up and focus on thoughts of the fun reception following the ceremony.
Do not ever entertain the idea of wearing white to a wedding. It is disrespectful to the bride and you will attract negative attention from other guests. Same goes for ivory, nude, taupe and other colors in the white family. As a woman, try to avoid any dresses that are too low cut, too tight or risque in any manner. If you wouldn’t wear the dress in front of your grandmother, just put it back on the hanger. If you plan to wear uncomfortable heels, always bring a back up pair so you don’t end up sitting idly at your reception table sulking all night.
To all of those men out there reading my blog today concerned with proper wedding guest etiquette (ha!), it may seem like a no brainer but let’s keep it simple here. Stick to a dark suit with a shirt and tie, brush your hair, shave and maintain some semblance of confidence with an overall “clean” look. No costumes, no hokey props, no sneakers and no hats. It’s the one time your lady can see you dress up like a dapper gentleman, live it up and dress to impress!
Consumption of Food and Beverage
As a rule of thumb, plan to consume one alcoholic beverage per hour or have a glass of water between each alcoholic drink. Guests tend to overindulge in alcohol at weddings, particularly fêtes featuring an open bar. Remember, you are under a microscope of other guests at the wedding and your every move will most likely be recorded on film – and talked about for years to come. In terms of dining, mind your manners and follow the standard golden rules. Keep your napkin in your lap, don’t start eating until everyone at your table is served and when using silverware, take from the farthest location from your plate first.
Shower Me with Gifts
Tailor your gift to your personal budget, how close you are to the bride and groom and what you feel is an appropriate gift. Although gift registries can be helpful in choosing gifts, it is not necessary to buy gifts from a couple’s registry. Cash gifts are always welcome and if a couple asks for guests to donate to a charity in lieu of gifts, it is customary to honor that request. Gifts should be sent before the wedding or as soon after the wedding as possible. A thank you card will signify when the couple has received your gift.