If you just received your first wedding invitation or haven’t attended a wedding in a while, you may not be aware of the specifics of wedding etiquette. There are some pretty common blunders that you could make throughout the process of RSVPing, preparing to attend, or even at the ceremony. Worry not. We are going to address the most common mistakes that wedding guests make. And, as long as you don’t show up in white, you will likely do just fine.
1. Not Sending an RSVP on Time
The first mistake you can make as a wedding guest is not RSVPing on time. A lot goes into planning a wedding, and much of that is dependent on an accurate headcount. If a couple feels like you are important enough to them to attend their wedding, then you should give them the respect of a timely response. Regardless of whether you can make it or not, you need to RSVP. Additionally, make sure you are doing this accurately. Your invitation will come with instructions on how to respond. This will either be done through a physical response card or online through the couple’s wedding page. If you have to send your response in the mail, make sure you send it out early enough to arrive by the deadline.
2. Not Abiding by Plus One Invites
Do not assume that you have a plus one. This is a pretty easy mistake if you are not familiar with wedding etiquette. Most people assume that there is an unspoken rule about plus ones. However, you need to pay attention to what it says on your invitation. Weddings are typically priced out based on how many wedding guests will be in attendance, so the couple will have to decide if plus ones are in their budget. Do not show up with a plus one unless your invite says your name plus a guest, and you and your plus one both RSVPed. This is a major faux pas, so make sure that you are clear on whether or not your invite includes a plus one.
3. Not Following the Dress Code
In addition to plus one information, you will also want to refer to the invitation or wedding website to find out the dress code. Not abiding by the dress code put in place by the couple is a major no when attending the ceremony. Wedding guest dresses will vary by dress code, so ensure that you know what to look for before buying a dress. Here are the three most popular dress codes that you’ll see for wedding guests and what to wear for each.
- Formal: This is a step down from black tie but shares some similarities for the ladies. You can choose between a floor-length gown or an elegant knee-length option. You will want to avoid anything bright, flashy, or overly patterned.
- Cocktail: This is the most common dress code we see and is not overly strict with its guidelines. Short cocktail dresses or pantsuits are a perfect option. You can also have more fun with the colors or patterns of your dress, but don’t try to draw too much attention (save that for the bride).
- Daytime or Casual: We often see this one for backyard or daytime weddings. Ladies can get away with sundresses and sandals, or you can do heels if you want to dress it up more. While it does say casual, you are still attending a wedding, so try to look your best.
4. Taking iPhone Pictures During the Ceremony
In the past few years, wedding photographers have been speaking up about this issue on social media. Many of us have seen these upsetting shots of the bride coming down the aisle, obstructed by someone reaching out to capture the moment on their iPhone. Do NOT do this. Couples spend a lot of money on a professional photographer to capture these once-in-a-lifetime moments. On the other hand, you will likely never look at the photos you took on your phone again. Leave the photographing to the professionals, and if you want to relive the moment that badly, you can wait for the couple to post their official wedding photos to social media.
5. Contacting the Bride or Groom on the Wedding Day
This may seem like a given, but some enthusiastic wedding guests can’t help themselves. It is normal to be excited for the bride and groom, but you should express your excitement during the reception. The wedding day will be a whirlwind for the couple, so let them focus on their big day. Even if it is just well wishes, you don’t want to make them feel pressured to respond to text messages while they are getting ready for what could be the most significant day of their lives.
At the end of the day, being a wedding guest is a lot of fun. Watching your friends exchange vows is an exciting and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you should enjoy! As long as you follow these tips, you will surely be a model wedding guest.
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