If you are reading this guide then I’m guessing you are either a bride or groom who is planning a wedding. Or a guest who has been invited to a friend or family wedding.
If you are organising a wedding then congratulations! Feel free to link this article on social media or personal wedding website if you have one.
If you have been invited to a wedding then here are some of my top tips on how to be the best wedding guest.
THE WEDDING INVITATION
Firstly make sure you’ve got one. Don’t assume for a moment that you WILL be invited unless you are a close friend or close family. Nothing strikes fear in a bride more than a work colleague or acquaintance assuming they’re invited when they are not. Awkward!
When you do get the invite, make a note if you are invited to the full day or just the evening. Due to numbers and budgets, it may not be possible to invite everyone to the entire day. Please be sensitive about the tough choices the bride & groom will have had to make. Don’t go complaining to them about it and accept it with good grace.
Believe it or not, the most common complaint I hear on bridal groups is when guests do not RSVP to say if they are actually coming to the wedding or not.
Without a timely reply, the couple have no idea of the numbers. Which in turn means they cannot sort out the seating plan. They can’t even pay the venue since they don’t know how many to cater for! No wonder this is a huge problem.
So once you get that initiation, don’t delay. Get the reply done as quickly as you can.
Reply in the manner you’ve been given the invitation. Usually this is a postal invitation. In which case, do spend a few minutes to write a little not. Then post it promptly. I know it’s the 21st century. A text message back saying ‘Yep, I’ll come’ isn’t appropriate.
Look carefully at the invitation. If yours is the only name then then you are the only person invited. Not your boyfriend. Not even your children. If you are allowed a plus one then usually it will say your name then ‘and guest’
Now that of course may not be OK with you. And that’s fine. You can decide if that is a dealbreaker or not.
However, please don’t go and complain to all your mutual friends, family and eventually let word get back to the bride & groom. Weddings are incredibly expensive to organise and often venues are limited on numbers they can accommodate. Trust me. The couple will have spent a long time agonising on who to invite and who is not invited.
PRESENTS OR MONEY?
As a guest it’s always a dilemma what to buy for the happy couple. Often the couple will indicate what they prefer. It is quite common nowadays to skip the traditional gift list since the vast majority of couples will already live together before they get married. So they will already have toasters and kettles etc.
Instead most of the weddings I’ve been to have asked for donations towards something. For example, their honeymoon. This is what we did for our own wedding.
BE ON TIME!
The time on the invitation is when the ceremony STARTS. So if it says 1pm on your invite. Be there BEFORE 1pm. It is the bride who is traditionally supposed to be a little late before making a grand entrance. Stumbling through the door after the bride is a big faux pas. Don’t do it!
WEAR SOMETHING APPROPRIATE
For guys, you can err on the side of caution by wearing a suit with a tie. You can always remove the jacket and tie if others have and it’s a really warm summer day. The suit jacket also can double as a handy rain cover for your other half should the heavens open up mid ceremony!
For ladies, wear a dress. Avoid white or ivory. You don’t want to be stealing the bride’s thunder do you?
Black is OK as long as you don’t look like you are going to a funeral. Add some colour to be safe.
Of course take photographs. Lots of them too. Just be aware of your surroundings. So don’t get in the official photographer’s way. Don’t view the entire wedding ceremony through the back of the camera.
Don’t upload your photos to social media until the bride has done it. Certainly not on the same day! The bride has spent a long time planning the perfect wedding. She’d like it to wow her evening guests rather than them see everything on Facebook through blurry photos from your phone.
Oh and do share the photographs with the happy couple after the wedding. Trust me they will love to see every photograph you’ve taken.
This is a little bug bear of mine since I see it a lot. When it’s time for the bride & groom to do the traditional first dance. Please make the time to watch them. It saddens me greatly to see the bride & groom doing a first dance but their guests appear not to be interested. Surfing their phones, chatting to someone else. Sometimes not even in the same room! The DJ usually will announce the first dance. Just spend a couple of minutes watching. It really is the least you can do!
Party hard. Get (nicely) drunk‚ unless you’re driving. Enjoy yourself!