You've been hand-selected to go to your friend or family member's wedding, it's time to celebrate! Being a guest is not just about purchasing the right gift or refraining from all white. Your new task is to take the couples’ wishes into consideration and mold yourself into the best wedding guest you could possibly be. We’ve rounded up a short list of what guests should and shouldn't do to help the newlyweds have the best celebration of love. When something comes up beyond this list that you may have a question about, don't hesitate to send that text or give the couple a call as long as your concern arises before the day of the wedding.
Be late. Whether it comes to responding to your invite or actually showing up for the ceremony or reception, it's important to not be late. If you're on time, you get to enjoy all of the fun and you don't risk your seat or spot on the dance floor getting taken.
Play with your phone. Silence your phone during the ceremony, unless asked otherwise. If people are trying to speak with you don't be rude. Tell them you just want to enjoy the festivities alone or walk away if you feel like it's too much. For those with social anxiety, it may be easy to use your phone as a crutch, but if you truly want to celebrate, know that the best moments are spent unplugged.
Rush off to other engagements. Unless you're on-call for work and it's for the common good that you step out, at least stay until the cake has been cut. This way everyone has settled in to enjoy the flavors of the evening, you’ve seen who you want to see, and have most likely had your dinner and drinks. Just don't forget to say goodbye!
Get smashed. You may be the type of person who sees an open bar and squeals internally with delight. This is great. But on this day, some things are sacred. Remember, this is not the club where you can get as drunk as you want. Have a few drinks, but pace yourself. The couple doesn't have an open bar just so you can pass out at the reception. Keep it classy.
Remove clothing unless it's a light sweater, jacket, or a winter coat. If you’re drinking and dancing at the reception it may get a little stuffy. There may be sweat happening. Your heels may be killing you and you don't want to dance anymore. Make an oath to your outfit and accessories when you put it on that it will not come off until you get home, or at least somewhere private. Delayed gratification is key here.
Wear white. Now, if you have a black and white dress, or are planning on wearing a grey and white shirt, that’s fine. If more than 50% of your outfit is white, you may want to reconsider wearing it. You don't want to be matching the bride or groom. So keep it colorful and exciting, but be conscious of the couple’s outfit colors.
Photo courtesy of By Julieta
Try and outdo the paparazzi. In the words of the famous Lady Gaga tune, you may be the couple’s biggest fan, but don't follow them until they love you. They already do! Stay in your lane with your photography. As a courtesy, don't post anything until the wedding is over—unless you're advised otherwise.
Dance up on others unless asked to do so. In this #MeToo era, we know that consent is important in all avenues of life—especially on the dance floor. You may want to twerk to the rap music the DJ is playing, but you have to stay cool. If you're having a great time with someone you just met, that doesn't mean you can be all up on them—unless they explicitly ask for you to be. Respect others’ space!
Respond in a timely fashion and honor the wishes of the invite. It's of the utmost importance that you reply to your invitation promptly. It's been suggested that guests respond within two weeks of receiving your invite so that the couple can prepare a place for you.
Be respectful. It may be a religious ceremony. If you're not religious, that's okay, just remember to be courteous and peaceful. This also applies to the reception and the wedding overall. It's a good rule of thumb to not be disrespectful to the couple or other guests because you never know who you may meet or run into.
Dress to impress, but not to outshine. Now is not the time to show up in a "better" outfit than the couple or a fellow guest. Show up dressed as your best self. Save your revenge dress for when you see Samantha at the class reunion.
Photo courtesy of Sarah Bradshaw Photography
Be a fun plus one or bring a fun plus one. It's important to take heed if the couple asks you not to bring a plus one or your children to their wedding. Your children are a blessing, but sometimes can be quite the terror. And, since you know this, don’t bring them unless you know they're welcome. Also, if you can bring a plus one, make sure that person is ready for a good time! You definitely don't want your best friend Debbie to be a downer.
Be a team player. When the couple, wedding staff, or even another guest asks you for help, try to help them to the best of your ability. This doesn't mean to do whatever people tell you, it just means to be conscientious of being asked to move seats or pull up an extra chair.
Photo courtesy of Kym Ventola
Keep your speech short. If you've been asked to speak on behalf of the couple, keep your speech under 5 minutes at the most. By all means, tell your funny jokes and reminisce, but no one wants to hear all of the specific details. Try writing out your speech or dedication at least a week before the wedding and practice in front of a mirror to ensure that you say within the time limits.
Be conscious of your surroundings. Don't take the décor unless it's specifically stated that you can do so. Sometimes the décor is not owned by the couple, but the venue itself. Be courteous to the venue staff and other wedding assistants. Also, a good rule of thumb for any event (not exclusively weddings), if you see something concerning happening, say something.
Have fun! Give a gift—or fifteen! You're there to celebrate the love of two people. Take it in, exude love, and you'll receive love in return.
Hero photo courtesy of Sami Kathryn Photography