Wedding guest etiquette


At last count, from what I can remember, I have been to seven weddings since I graduated from college. Within the next year, I will be able to add four more. Three of which I’m in the wedding party. So I’ve learned a little something about attending weddings, and I’d like to share with you what I think makes a good wedding guest.

First of all: Dress the part. I was mortified when I went to a wedding back in college where people wore jeans and ts to the ceremony then changed for the reception. Apparently, in some parts of the country, that’s normal. But I don’t wear jeans to church EVER much less when a couple is having one of the most important days of their lives together. And for goodness sake- DO NOT WEAR WHITE. Unless, for some reason, the bride wants you to, in which case do what she says. I cannot stress this enough. Not for the engagement party, not to the bridal shower, not the bachelorette party. DO NOT DO IT. No cheating with cream or ivory or eggwhite or any of those whites incognito either. And now is probably not the time for your gold mini dress or backless red gown. It is her day. Let her be the center of attention.

PicMonkey CollageLucca Couture Drop-Waist Shift Dress//Kate Spade New York Structured Silk Mini Dress//Lilly Pulitzer Women’s Bellina Maxi Wrap Dress//Betsey Johnson Women’s Cap Sleeve Fitted Dress//BCBGMAXAZRIA High Neck Mini Dress//

Additionally with the dress code, feel out the type of even it is and dress accordingly. My cousin got married in the country and had a bbq reception in a beautiful barn. I wore cowgirl boots. The beach wedding I’m in this summer- monogrammed Jack Rogers sandals.


My cousin’s country wedding- photo c/o Morgan Abernathy

As for gifts- I used to be very anti-registry, but now that I have friends who are younger and starting their lives together, I like to get them what they need. However, if you’re attending more than one event for the wedding, my idea is to get them something they need for one event- like the bridal shower. Then get them a fun surprise for the wedding! You also don’t need to break the bank if you’re young and broke like me. You can always go in on something bigger with another guest! This can be a great idea for buying sets of something from the registry as well.

PicMonkey CollageDot & Bo Bottoms Up Champagne Glasses – Set of 2//Snow River End Grain Butcher Block Cutting Board//Williams-Sonoma Two In The Kitchen Cookbook//Faceplant Mr. & Mrs. Pillowcases//kate spade new york Gardner Street Double Invitation Frame//

Let’s talk tech. I personally am not a huge fan of wedding hashtags, but if the bride is using one, be considerate and use it along with her so she can track the pictures taken by her family and friends. On the flip side, if the bride asks for phones to be put away during the ceremony and or reception do it. I’ll be attending a wedding with where cell phones are totally prohibited because of who some of the guests are, but regardless the reason the couple needs their guidelines respected. Phones should be off during the ceremony. No beeps or buzzes, please. And if you are taking pictures with your phone, make sure to let the photographer do their job and stay out of their way. They’re paid to get great pictures and you could be messing them up by weaseling your own camera/ phone into the shot.

This should go without saying but get to the wedding on time.

And speaking of timing, RSVP to the wedding ASAP. Someone is paying a lot of money per person, and it isn’t fair to keep them waiting on you.

While it is natural to have a drink (or several) at a wedding to celebrate, do not become so intoxicated that you make a scene. Someone at a wedding I went to passed out in the bathroom and had to be helped out of the venue by staff (after degrading the staff for being… staff.) It was deplorable. I have also witnessed sobbing bridesmaids in fire escapes. Not a pretty picture.

Generally don’t make any comments about anything except how lovely, beautiful, moving, fun etc. everything is. The bride doesn’t want her feeling hurt if she hears about your cousin’s 4 story chocolate fountain when she has a tiny fondue station, or about how you’ve seen her escort cards done a million times on Pinterest already. They worked hard to put the day together and don’t want to feel judged on any details.

Wait for the bride and groom to come to you to say hi, they are super busy and have to say hi to the rest of the guests too so when they do come over, don’t monopolize their time. If you are close friends they will most likely spend time with you on the dance floor, but this is their day and they are busy bees.

If something goes wrong (seating arrangements are slightly messed up or the bar is out of vodka) tell someone besides the bride and groom. Find the maid of honor, wedding planner, parent, or catering director to tell. As mentioned above they are already busy and things should be stress free.

If you’re in the wedding party, do whatever silly/stupid poses they want you to do for pictures. It’s their day and they’ll be returning the favor for you very soon.That being said, if you weren’t asked to be in the wedding party, accept that gracefully and just be glad you can enjoy the wedding work-free. Jealous doesn’t look good on anyone. Ditto with catching the bouquet. That bouquet was MINE at my big’s wedding- until some crazy girl jumped in front of me and literally swiped it. I pouted momentarily, but in the end it matters not because, once again, THE DAY IS FOR THE COUPLE.

Make sure to thank the couple and or their parents for the lovely event. And don’t forget to tip the bar tenders!

I’d love to know your wedding guest rules + tips!



3 thoughts on “Wedding guest etiquette

  1. such great advice! Unfortunately, all of the weddings I have been to in the past four years I have worn a dress while other patrons have showed up in jeans. seriously suburbia, get your sh*t together!

    As for wedding gifts, I like your idea of getting them something they need for a pre-event and something fun for the wedding! this past year we gave a wine set of three bottles to the happy couple, one to open on the first anniversary, one for the fifth, and one for the tenth, each with a cute quote about love inside the locked box!

    GREAT post dear!
    XO Sahra
    Que Sera Sahra

  2. Pingback: Save Money on Your Wedding | little bitty city one

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