The dos and don’ts of being a wedding guest
Posted: Aug 19, 2014
It’s an honour to be invited to a wedding and know that a couple wants to include you in their celebrations. But accepting your invitation brings responsibilities with it as well, and we’re not just talking about buying a wedding present. You need to do your bit as a guest to make sure that the bride and groom have a day they’ll remember for all the right reasons.
Do reply promptly
The bride has enough to do without chasing up late replies – and if you don’t reply promptly, it will make her think that her day isn’t that important to you. Be polite and reply as soon as you can – preferably within two weeks.
The bride will probably have a back-up list of guests to invite and her biggest expense is likely to be the number of guests invited, so you’ll be helping with the planning by sending an early reply.
Do honour the couple’s wishes
Don’t even think about just going to the reception if you’re invited to the ceremony as well. You may not be keen on the idea of a long religious service but the couple want you to be a part of it and so you should honour that wish.
Do be respectful
If the day includes a religious ceremony then be respectful. You may need to cover your head and shoulders and unless you’re at a beach wedding, showing your cleavage at the ceremony is a real no-no, so cover up with a coat or jacket if you need to.
Do dress appropriately
If the wedding is morning dress for men, hats and frocks for women, then dress smartly. If it’s a little more casual then you can adapt your outfit accordingly. If you’re in doubt, get in touch with the bride’s mother to ask her advice – but not the bride.
Don’t be late
It’s the bride’s day and all eyes should be on her, not you as you try to slink unnoticed into the back pew. It’s also disrespectful to the bride – don’t you want to see her enjoy her big entrance?
Do send a polite gift
If you’re invited to a wedding but can’t attend, you should still send a gift. You should also buy a gift from the gift list if there is one. While you may think your boho ideas are perfect for the couple, there are things they want and need and you should honour that. As for regifting something you don’t like – forget it.
Do respect the seating plan
You may wonder why you’ve been put on a certain table with a load of people you don’t seem to have much in common with but the bride and groom will have thought carefully about the seating plan and there’ll be a reason for it. And if there’s a seating plan at your actual table then stick to it; don’t swap the place cards to sit next to somebody you fancy. Sorry, but you really can’t.
Don’t assume partners are invited
If you haven’t been told that you can bring a date, then don’t. It will cause embarrassment all day – from the seating at the ceremony to the wedding reception. If you really feel you can’t go alone, then perhaps you shouldn’t go at all. And don’t ask the bride if you can bring somebody with you, either. She doesn’t want random people she doesn’t know sharing the most important day of her life.
She will have a budget to stick to and if that stretches to you bringing a guest she would have let you know beforehand. (Although if you’re co-habiting, engaged or married then your significant other should be invited.) Plus, if you’re single, you never know who she has in mind for you to meet!
Do bring a fun plus one
If you’ve been invited to bring a guest, then bring along somebody who is going to add to the atmosphere and enjoy themselves. You don’t want to feel you have to look after them all evening, they should be capable of making conversation with others themselves. Also, don’t bring somebody who always drinks too much – drunk guests at a wedding aren’t welcome.
Don’t play with your phone
Don’t make calls or text during the ceremony or at the reception. If you really must make an important call, then excuse yourself and go and do it discreetly.
Don’t rush off
No matter how exhausted you are or how long your journey home is, you need to stay at the reception until the wedding cake is cut. Then you can do your thank yous and say goodbye but not until then.
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