Don't Be That Wedding Guest...
Maybe this is the first wedding you've been invited to, or maybe you're just unsure about wedding etiquette. Either way, you want to make sure you aren't that wedding guest that the couple complains about to their family and friends afterwards. Here is everything you need to know about what NOT to do to ensure you remain in the good graces of the couple.
RSVP on time
When you receive your wedding invitation it has a specific RSVP deadline date on it. Abide by that! And don't assume that the couple knows you're coming, you need to officially RSVP regardless especially if they are asking you to select a meal choice or provide other information. As soon as you receive the invitation, communicate with your job about getting the time off, start thinking about travel and other arrangements, etc. Do not wait until the RSVP deadline to start this process. If the couple has to text/call you asking if you're coming to the wedding, you are causing them stress. The couple has to provide their venue and vendors an accurate guest count by a specific date and so when they have guests who are dragging their feet, it delays the process and could end up costing the couple money.
Don't show up if you didn't RSVP
If you RSVP'd "no" or didn't RSVP at all, your name will not be on the guest list and there will not be a seat for you at reception. Even if you just found out the day of the wedding that your boss will now let you take the time off, you can't just show up and magically expect a seat to be available for you. The venue will now have to rearrange tables and chairs to make room and believe me you'll get a side-eye look from the couple. Unexpected guests are not only stressful on the wedding day but it will actually cost the couple additional money because their vendors will charge them for any additional guests that went over the final number they gave them. You may think it's a cute idea to surprise the couple at the wedding after telling them you couldn't make it but trust me, it's more of a hassle. If you want to coordinate a surprise you have to communicate with one of them far in advance and make sure they pass along the correct count to the vendors.
Do not bring an unexpected guest
If your invitation did not specifically say that you are allowed to bring a guest, don't show up with someone for the same reasons as stated above. Feel free to ask the couple to clarify if you can bring someone but you need to ask far in advance, not the week of the wedding.
Don't just not show up
Yes emergencies happen but you should still have the courtesy to reach out to the couple if you are no longer able to attend the wedding after RSVPing "yes." If you don't find out you can't make it until the week of the wedding you should probably just notify someone from the wedding party and they will use their judgment of whether telling you is necessary or just going to push you over the edge. If it's less than a month from the wedding date, the couple has likely already sent their final guest count and paid for your seat and they can't get that money back; so you can imagine the stress that would cause. And on top of that, if you just don't show up without saying anything to anyone that is extremely rude and may cause an issue in your relationship with the couple. So definitely reach out in some way and I also recommend mailing a card or gift to still congratulate the couple and show your gratitude for being invited.
Don't call/text the couple
If you forgot the venue address or can't decide what to wear, do not bother the couple if it's the week of the wedding. Trust me, they are busy and stressing putting final details together, dealing with last minute changes, and fed up with the nonstop calls. Instead, reach out to the wedding party, especially the best man or maid of honor. The same goes if the couple is going on their honeymoon immediately after the wedding; leave them alone until they get back.
Don't be late
This may seem obvious but ohmygoodness you would not believe how many guests I've seen arrive ridiculously late to a wedding. Before the wedding date, map out how far the venue is from you. Don't guestimate because you know the area so well; literally pull up the directions on Google/Apple Maps. Be sure to also account for traffic on the wedding date especially if the wedding is on a weekday. You may think "Eh, if I'm late I'll just miss a few minutes of the beginning of the ceremony." But a lot of times, the couple will ask to delay the ceremony until all the guests arrive. This is a lovely gesture on their part but now the entire day's timeline is thrown off because you had to stop to get an iced coffee. And even if the couple doesn't delay the ceremony, now you're walking in to the venue in the middle of the processional or vows, distracting other guests, and probably getting in the way of the photographer as you find your seat. Always plan to be early, but not obnoxiously early. If you arrive more than 30-45 minutes early you may awkwardly walk in on the first look between the couple or wedding party photos or the venue still being set up.
Bring a gift
Even if you don't know the couple that well you should absolutely bring a wedding gift or at least contribute to their honeymoon fund. Weddings easily cost in the tens of thousands of dollars and up, and all that money is spent to make sure you and the other guests have an amazing time. The nice venue, the open bar, the catered food, etc. all adds up. You don't have to shell out for something expensive or lavish, literally any gift of any kind will mean a lot to the couple.
Don't wear white
Unless the couple is throwing a themed "all white" party or specifically gives the okay for guests to wear white, it is a no-no. The bride is to stand out in every way possible, including being the only person wearing white.
Be mindful about wearing black
Back in the day, wearing black to a wedding was considered back luck and/or demonstrating that you are not in favor of the couple's union. Nowadays, it's not looked at as that serious and I've seen many guests wearing black at weddings without the couple being offended but it is still something to be mindful of when choosing your outfit. I would base it off of what you know about the couple (or just straight up ask them). If they are very religious or traditional or err on the superstitious side, I would forgo the black.
Don't get drunk
An open bar is very enticing but this is not the time to get blackout drunk. Yes the couple wants you to eat, drink, and have a good time but if the attention starts to fall on you because you broke a glass or are arguing with the bartender about being cut off, that is not a good look.
Keep the gossip to yourself
If something happened at the wedding like a fight, a hookup, etc. do not bring it up to the couple that day. They probably don't want to talk about it or they may not even know it happened. To you it may just seem like good tea to spill but for the couple they might be devastated that their special day has turned into an episode of the Real World. Maybe you can talk and laugh about it after the wedding but for now, keep it to yourself.
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