Guest etiquette

By Sharon for The Bride's Avenue

So you’ve been invited to a wedding and you want to be a good guest, how do you go about it? We understand if you have some questions and concerns, it shows you have already mastered the basics of etiquette; consideration for others. By the time you’re done reading this, you will be a guru at etiquette – or wedding guest etiquette anyway.

Remember to R.S.V.P.... on time! Photo: Pinterest

Remember to R.S.V.P.... on time! Photo: Pinterest

Don’t wait too long to R.S.V.P.

Most wedding invitations include a date by which you should R.S.V.P. It is important that you keep to this because it helps the couple plan and coordinate things with their vendors. After a particular date, they need to know exactly how many people they are planning for. But what if there is no R.S.V.P. date? Then put the R.S.V.P. in the mail ASAP so that you don’t forget and leave it last minute. According to Jamie Buerger of Martha Stewart weddings, sneaking it in past the deadline means you are making several people scramble last minute to accommodate you. That’s bad form.

If an invitation has only your name on it, it’s meant just for you

The temptation to bring along a date is quite hard to resist and if you are in a relationship, we perfectly understand. However, if your invitation does not say “and guest”, then please do your best to resist temptation. Provision has been made just for you, and bringing a guest along might cause logistical problems for the couple. It’s not always comfortable to attend a wedding alone, so you can pair up with someone else who is going alone.

Show up early

Okay, that grand entrance you’re so fond of? Well, it is not acceptable for a wedding other than yours. The only person who should be making grand entrances at a wedding is the bride (except she decides not to), so do your best to show up early. All guests should be seated at least 20 minutes before the bride shows up and if you’re unavoidably late, wait till the vows have been said before seating yourself so that you don’t interrupt the ceremony.

Should you bring the kids?

Yeah, weddings with children could be lots of fun. Noisy, but fun. However, if the card was not addressed to the entire family, it probably means that you need to call your favourite babysitter. If the wedding invitation has your names and that of your children or is addressed to the entire family, then take it that the children are invited as well.

If photos are allowed, PLEASE make sure you ask before posting pictures of the couple online! Photo: Style Me Pretty

If photos are allowed, PLEASE make sure you ask before posting pictures of the couple online! Photo: Style Me Pretty

Going online isn’t always okay

In this digitally enhanced and engaging age we’re living in, it’s often hard to resist snapping a picture and posting online, specifically if that picture is of your gorgeous friend in her fabulous designer wedding dress. But please ask the couple after the wedding if it’s okay to put up their pictures on your Facebook or Instagram account. We know it’s hard to believe, but there are actually people who do not want their faces all over social media. It’s only polite to wait to hear from them before you make their faces go viral.

Don’t lug your gift to the wedding venue

Have your gift shipped to the couple’s home and don’t bring it along to the wedding venue, especially if it is a large gift. Although brining your gift to the wedding venue is not bad form, the knot suggests that it might not be very thoughtful, for obvious reasons. Once the wedding ceremony and festivities are over, the couple and their family are left with the task of moving gifts from the venue to their home, which could be really cumbersome.

Keep your phone off or in silent mode

Most wedding venues have several “turn off your phone” signs to remind you, but even if they don’t, do you really want your caller tune to go off just as they’re speaking their vows? You don’t want to be that person. So turn off your phone or place it in silent mode if you absolutely need to leave it on.

Control yourself, photo-bombing is off limits

The wedding photos are for the couple. It is their way of trying to preserve the memories of the day and they really don’t need your mugshot in all their photos. If they invited you to take pictures with them, that’s alright. If not, don’t get in the way of the photographer. Photo-bombing can be fun, but not at a wedding, sorry.