Wedding Guest Etiquette

There’s a lot of material out there regarding etiquette that the bride and groom should follow, but very little about wedding guest etiquette. If you’ve never been to a wedding before, the whole ordeal can be a bit confusing for the guest as well. Here are a few tips:

1. RSVP on time! A lot of guests think “oh it’s a given that I’m going so I don’t need to RSVP.” It really does help the couple if everyone, including the bridal party, RSVPs on time. The couple has a lot of other things to do for the wedding as a whole and chasing you down for your response shouldn’t be one of them. Plus, RSVPs have deadlines for a reason – venues require final guest counts, placecards need to be made/printed, favors need to be made/ordered, etc.

Photo Source: Invitation Box

2. Do not ask if you can bring your significant other or a guest to the wedding or rehearsal dinner. If your significant other is invited to anything, the couple will make sure you know. Think about the awkward situation you’re placing the couple in when you ask if you can bring your significant other or a guest. First,  you are asking that the couple or their parents or whoever pay for your significant other’s dinner/presence. Second, if the couple decided not to invite your significant other, there’s probably a good reason (e.g., they can’t afford it).  As much as the couple should be honored by your attending their wedding, you, as a guest, should be honored that you were asked to attend such an important event in their lives.

3. Leave checks blank. Or just write one of the couple’s names on it.  Most people probably don’t realize this, but if you write out a check to both names (or with the wrong last name), some banks won’t deposit the check unless both names are on the account (which may not be true for some couples). Also, you might think that the name you know them by is legally their name, but it might not be.  For example, if someone goes by a nickname or the bride doesn’t change her last name (*gasp* yes, it happens). It’s awkward for the couple to go back to those who graciously gave gifts and ask them for a redo.

4. Appreciate the bride and groom. Planning a wedding is no joke.  A lot of time, effort, and money go into planning a wedding.  Try to show your appreciation, even for the little stuff, that the couple has done to make this day fun and enjoyable for you.  Hopefully, the couple appreciates the time, effort, and money it took for you to attend their big day.

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10 Responses to Wedding Guest Etiquette

  1. joan says:

    nice post, too bad my guests violated every one of your points. but not to blame them, it’s true that information dispersal for wedding guest etiquette is scarce!

  2. Caro says:

    yes yes yes and double yes. particularly on #2 which is what we’re facing a lot (I’ve already had 4 different arguments with people about this.. all coincidentally women). I honestly can say I hate being put into that position and it’s really not fair, but I’m planning on staying consistent with this guest list come hell or high water.

  3. Christine says:

    I think sometimes wedding guests forget that weddings cost money. They think it’s an invitation to an open wallet and they think bringing one more person won’t do any harm. We lost a friendship or two because we wouldn’t allow for significant others to be invited. But some friends respected our restriction and invited their significant other after dinner was over and the dancing was on, which we had no problem with and they asked us in advance.

  4. boo says:

    really? I actually thought that it’s acceptable to bring a date to a wedding as long as you rsvp

  5. Christine says:

    @boo – no, a date is not implied. you should always check with the couple. if it’s a married couple, it could be implied but still, i would check with the couple if both names weren’t addressed on the envelope.

  6. Nicolle says:

    What about the dreaded – “So when are you having children?” That should not be asked for at least a year after a couple is married. And questions about the 2nd child should not be until the first child is at least a year old! It’s no one else’s business, anyway!

  7. Nicolle says:

    Also – regarding #2, refer to your invitation! A bride will be very clear about who is invited by who she addresses the invitation to. If it is “so-and-so +guest”, fair game. If it’s just “so-and-so”, take the hint!

  8. Christine says:

    @Nicolle – I agree about looking at the invitation but so many people don’t take the hint! HOWEVER, there was one couple at our wedding where I TOTALLY forgot to put the husband’s name on there. Big oversight on my part but they wrote his name in the RSVP card. If I heard that happen at someone else’s wedding, I would gasp but knowing me and knowing my friend, it was the right thing to do to include his name. There’s always an exception to the rule and I somehow always seem to find it.

  9. Pingback: Wedding Guest Etiquette | Weddings by Wedgewood

  10. Aliza says:

    If the wedding involves traveling out of town or occurs on a holiday weekend, I like to ask the couple if I will be receinving a plus one when save-the-dates go out (esp. if they go out via email), so I can make my plans beforehand. For instance, I got an email save-the-date for Memorial Day weekend, which is the same time that the NCAA lax tourney is happening and other friends are renting a beach house. It would be nice to know now if my boyfriend is invited or if he can go on one of these other trips with no arguments b/c he’s not invited. I think it’s a difference in asking and presuming — I don’t presume my bf is invited, but I’d like him there if he is.

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