Being a wedding guest comes with its own set of unspoken rules. Proprietary and respectfulness are expected and held to a higher standard than they would be at an ordinary gathering between friends, because a wedding is no ordinary gathering, after all. Wedding etiquette pertains not only to the bride and groom of the evening, but to everyone present at the event itself. Some are obvious – like not to wear white, or not to drink too much, but there are many other rules to follow in order to be a respectful, and memorable guest.
Politeness, and kindness go a long way, and to the bride and groom (who have doubtlessly spent months painstakingly organising their magical evening), it could mean absolutely everything! So, to help guide you in preparation for the next upcoming reception you might find looming on the horizon of your calendar, GlamCorner has put together a small guide on wedding etiquette!
RSVP on time
It might seem obvious, but plenty of wedding guests leave their RSVP letters to the last moment. The bride and groom need to have an estimative headcount weeks before their final day in order to know how many tables, with how many seats, plates, cutlery and name-tags to arrange. RSVPing to the big day is essential to ensure your seat, and it will take a great weight off the happy couple’s shoulders, and keep them from chasing you up for a response.
If you’re unsure if you can make it to their big day, let them know! Don’t leave them hanging. The odds are, they’ll appreciate your honesty much more than they will your silence, and the majority of the time – they will be especially understanding.
In the same vein as ensuring that you send out your RSVP, don’t bring a date or a plus-one with you to the big day unless it’s explicitly stated that you may (with a clear ‘and guest’ by your name). Don’t ask the bride and groom if it might be okay for your special someone to accompany you. If your name is on the invitation, that’s who is invited. No extras.
Come to the ceremony and the reception
It’s poor taste to show up only to the open bar, and to miss the main event. The ceremony in itself is the most important part of a wedding, the union of two people in love isn’t something to skip for free alcohol and food. Your absence will be noticed if you aren’t present, and could lead to a frankly awkward confrontation at the reception if it’s pointed out. You’re a wedding guest, and that means you’re expected to attend both the ceremony, and the reception.
Attend, smile, clap, and enjoy it. These are your friends (or family!).
Arrange your dress well in advance
Dress in the style that the wedding invitation suggests. If it’s a backyard wedding with ribbons and glitter pressed onto the invitation, silk ball gowns are likely unneeded. If it’s scripted with perfect calligraphy and minimalistic borders embroidered with lace – it’s likely a formal event. If you’re unsure, ask a friend who might also be attending. Or the bride!
The majority of the time, weddings are formal. Arrange what you are going to wear well in advance, and ensure that it’s ready and fits correctly. The last thing you want is to arrive under-dressed because the gorgeous lace mini dress you bought last year now runs a few inches shorter, tighter, or looser than you thought.
Timeless styles that are adaptable to suit most occasions are often the safest choices for weddings. Whether it’s a floor-length lace number, such as the Gabrielle Maxi Dress by the Jetset Diaries, a little black midi dress like the Frankie Hi Low Dress by Sheike, or a knee-length, forest-green bodycon piece such as the Babylon Lace Dress by Thurley – GlamCorner has an entire selection of wedding guest appropriate dresses to serve your needs.
Arrive on time, and with a gift
Even if you cannot attend, send a gift with a written apology to the newlyweds; another small gesture that can, and will go a long way. If you do attend, be sure to purchase off the registry if one is supplied. These are items the bride and groom need.
Schedule an early arrival to the ceremony just in case you get lost on your way there. Don’t arrive late, and be sure to secure your arrival and departure from the venue ahead of time. Weddings often involve drinking, and the last thing you want is to be stranded at a venue with no way to get home, while inebriated.
Sit at your assigned table, and don’t drink too much
Keep an eye on how many glasses of wine you’re drinking. At functions, attentive waiters and waitresses have a knack for topping up glasses at times when the wedding guests aren’t looking. It’s easy to lose track of how much you’ve had, or to drink more than you ordinarily meant to. Keep an eye on your glass at all times, and don’t be afraid to tell the serving staff to hold off on giving you a top-up if you feel you’ve had too much.
A lot of thought goes into seating arrangements, as well as dietary preferences (that are often passed on to the kitchen staff so they know where the vegetarians, vegans, or gluten-free guests are sitting, and where to send their food). The bride and groom spend a decent amount of time taking into consideration the relationships their guests have with one another, and whom would be best seated beside whom. Respect their decisions, and stick to your assigned seat.
Congratulate the couple
Tell them how much you enjoyed the ceremony, and how much fun you’re having at the reception. Praise the food, the bride’s dress, and the groom’s suit. Congratulate them on their night, and keep in mind how much time they have put into arranging this night. A positive outlook and attitude will make all the difference.
Dance! Have fun, mingle, chat to people, drink a little bit (but not too much), and rock your dress. Weddings are made to enjoy, so make the most of this special night out!