When you boil them down to their core, weddings are big parties, thrown in the name of celebrating the awesome love between two people. There is eating and dancing and laughing and more fun in one eight hour period than most others you will live through.
That being said, there are still some manners of etiquette that must be followed. The bride and groom and possibly their parents, have spent a lot of money and put a lot of energy into creating a beautiful day for themselves and the people they love.19
Here are ten ways you can be an awesome wedding guest while still enjoying the party.
RSVP before the date on the card. In fact, if you know you’ll be attending, put that thing back in the mail the day you get it.
Show up on time. Better yet, show up 10 minutes early. That way you can find a seat well in advance of the bridal party coming down the aisle and avoid disrupting the whole ceremony.
Don’t assume kids are invited. Ask the bride if you are unsure.
Put your cell phone away during the ceremony. The couple has paid a lot of money to have a professional photographer shoot their day, and there’s nothing more frustrating than getting photos back to find the only ones the photographer was able to get of their kiss were obstructed by the backs of heads and the screens of cell phones. There will be plenty of candid moments they will love for you to capture during the reception (the photographer can’t be everywhere!), but the aisle is small and the professionals have got the ceremony covered.
Sit where you’re seated. It takes a long time to hash out a wedding seating chart. And each guest is placed meticulously to avoid potential family spats or exes sitting together. If you find yourself among strangers, it’s probably because the bride and groom felt you’d enjoy each other’s company. Go ahead. Make new friends.
Dress appropriately. Weddings are as unique as the people who plan them. Some are formal affairs thrown in fancy ballrooms while others are casual backyard barbecues. Find out ahead of time what kind of celebration you are attending and dress accordingly. It’s not okay to show up to an elegant, black tie wedding dressed in cowboy boots and a sundress or jeans and a t-shirt. And it will likely be just as embarrassing showing up to a barbecue in a ball gown.
Don’t post photos to social media without permission from the couple. You don’t want to be the one responsible for the groom seeing the bride before the ceremony because you couldn’t wait to post a photo of your beautiful friend on her wedding day.
Don’t show up with extra guests. Weddings are expensive and the couple has likely spent a lot of time narrowing down the most important people to include (and to provide dinner for), so if the invite says “Plus One,” by all means, bring someone. If it does not, respect their wishes and go stag.
Drink respectfully. It’s not a frat kegger, it’s a wedding. While most weddings involve some sort of drinking, it’s not okay to get so drunk you’re throwing up in the venue’s beautifully manicured gardens or passing out on the dance floor. That doesn’t mean don’t have fun. It just means do it a respectful amount.
Respect the bride and groom’s families. Let them go first in the buffet line and give them priority when it comes to visiting with the couple. Your presence there means a great deal, but sometimes family members come from far away and have precious little time to spend with them.
Weddings are lovely and exciting, and there’s plenty of fun to be had by all, but please respect your friends or loved ones and consider these ten suggestions for being an awesome wedding guest.