How to Be an A+ Wedding Guest

As we enter the holiday season, you may soon begin to notice an influx of engagement announcements, “save the dates,” and wedding invitations in your mailbox. As you prepare to send back RSVPs and attend the weddings of loved ones, your friends here at Griffin’s Floral Design are helping you brush up on important wedding etiquette. From inviting a plus-one to unplugging from your phone and taking advantage of an open bar to sending a gift, this guide to wedding guest etiquette will answer many of your questions when it comes to modern weddings.

Wedding guests holding hands

Don’t Assume a Plus-One

Although it is common for wedding guests to bring a plus-one, it should not always be assumed that the invitation may be extended. A sure way to know if the couple is open to you bringing a date or friend to their wedding is if they indicated so on your invitation. If you receive a wedding invitation address to you “and guest,” then you may certainly bring a plus-one. Otherwise, the wedding invitation was meant for you alone.

Woman picking out a tan dress

Dress Up

These days, there are numerous wedding styles, themes, and venues for couples to choose from and create a unique event. With this in mind, it can sometimes be hard to find the perfect outfit to wear to a modern wedding. If you find yourself thinking about what to wear, consider that weddings tend to be more formal events, and jeans, shorts, and casual tops are usually frowned upon. If your wedding invitation indicates a black-tie affair, semi-formal dress, or request to wear a particular color, then you should follow suit. If not, suits and ties, dress pants, and cocktail dresses are the most common type of wedding attire. White dresses, including ivory, should be avoided at all costs as not to upstage the bride on her big day.

Wedding guest using their phone to take photos of ceremony

Unplug During the Ceremony

We don’t have to tell you that texting, talking on the phone, and scrolling through social media while at an event is rude and inappropriate. However, it is always a nice and helpful reminder to ensure your cell phone is on silent mode or turned off, especially during the wedding ceremony. In addition, taking photos of the wedding is undoubtedly a sweet way to remember the day and great to share with the couple, but keep in mind that they have also hired a photographer and possibly a videographer. Be mindful that you are not blocking the photographer in any way by using flash, standing in the aisle, or reaching up high to get the best angle and shot. Not only will they not be able to do their job adequately, but you can wind up in their photos, too.

Woman in black dressing holding a glass of champagne during wedding ceremony

Respect the Open Bar

If the couple has opted for an open bar, this means that they want you and all of their other guests to let loose and have a good time. However, what they don’t want is the attention to be taken off of them during their big day. If the bar is open before the ceremony begins, it is, of course, appropriate to take a drink to your seat to sip on. Remember, this is only the beginning of the wedding, so try not to order too many before the reception. If the bar closes during speeches and first dances, this means the couple wants you to pay attention and share the moment with them. Respect the couple and take your seat. Then, return to order your drink when the bar reopens. Be sure you are respectful to the bartenders and leave a small tip.

Wedding card box at reception

Send a Gift or Bring a Card

According to traditional wedding etiquette, guests can take up to one year to find and send the perfect wedding gift to the couple. Whether it is something the couple included on their registry or you thought of a thoughtful and unique gift of your own, do not feel obligated to haul to the wedding. Not only is this inconvenient for you to carry or hold through the ceremony, but it can be a hassle for the bride and groom to take home at the end of the evening. Instead, send the gift directly to their home. You may also write out a card and offer a monetary gift. This can either be sent as well or brought to the wedding, as most couples have a card box.

Wedding guests dancing

Dance and Have Fun!

One of the best gifts you can give to the newlyweds is an energetic dance floor full of enthusiasm. Most brides and grooms want nothing more out of their day than to have the most incredible celebration with their friends and family. They have spent many months and some even years planning this day and making decisions that they hope will bring joy. As a guest, do your part to share in their merriment and participate in the festivities.

Above all, the three most important wedding etiquette rules are to be respectful, be polite, and be pleasant. Treat weddings as you would any other formal event, dinner, or party. Just because it is a celebration for a friend does not mean it is time to disregard your manners. As the reception winds down, be sure to find the bride or groom’s parents as well as the couple themselves, to say your goodbyes and thank them for the fantastic time. For more advice and tips, let the experts here at Griffin’s Floral Design be your number one wedding resource.