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July 11, 2018
Last week we talked about ways that brides and grooms can show their wedding guests how much they love the people that surround their on their wedding day. Today we’re flipping the script, chatting to a different audience, and sharing how to be a gracious wedding guest! If you’ve been invited to a wedding recently, and you are preparing to party, you definitely want to read through this post for some do’s, don’ts, and general Wedding Guest Etiquette.
Before I go into any of my points, let’s start here. At the end of the day, it’s all about being a gracious guest. Think of attending a wedding celebration as if you are entering someone’s home for the first time. Just as the host desires to accommodate, love, and serve you, it is your duty to be gracious, and respectful of the experience and the “world” they are enveloping you in. My mom used to joke around when my sister and I were kids that if we went to someone’s house and misbehaved, that we would never be asked to come back over. As funny as that sounds, that was and still is an imminent threat for any event that you are invited to. Know this: you were invited to this monumental milestone in your family or friend’s life for a reason. You are not just a number on a guest list, and the bride and groom have gone out of their way to make sure you feel loved on their wedding day. Want to love them back in return? Keep reading for some do’s and don’ts for being a gracious wedding guest!
1. Do use common sense.
This is where I put on my mama hat for a moment. There are certain things that are just common sense when it comes to sharing in a wedding day. And most of them may sound familiar because they are very similar to etiquette for any event you will attend. For example, paying attention to the dress code, drinking responsibly, and placing your phone on silent or vibrate are all things we should do during any special event. Even for the rules that are not so obvious, there is often an “aha moment” attached to the explanation that drives that point home. An example of this would be to not wear shades of white (unless specifically requested to do otherwise) to allow the bride her moment to shine. Essentially, we hope you’ll be considerate and treat the wedding that you’re attending with the same respect you’d have for your own.
2. Don’t ignore instructions.
Yay! You received this gorgeously curated wedding invitation in the mail! But it’s not just fancy paper, people. It’s packed with information about the wedding day: the time and place of wedding events, where to stay if you’re an out-of-town guest, how to get to the celebrations, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are many couples, nowadays, that double down and provide even more information on their wedding website! Think about all the time that went into creating these materials–all the hours of research, meticulous design, endless logistics, and financial resources that ultimately went into making sure you, the wedding guest, had all the information they needed to enjoy this beautiful day. A good wedding guest will respond by taking heed to the instructions and information shared with them. A few things you can do to follow wedding instructions involve following deadlines! RSVP by the date provided on the response card. Book your hotel room before the booking deadline arrives. Arrive 15 to 30 minutes prior to the ceremony (if you arrive at the time the ceremony starts, there may be a seating hold meaning you’ll miss the processional, or sometimes the entire ceremony!). If the bride and groom call for an unplugged ceremony, turn off your devices and be present with them (Don’t worry! The couple will share professional images that you can share with friends and family! But seriously, have you ever seen what it looks like when guests don’t follow this rule? Check this out. It’s awful.). Whatever those special instructions are, they are there to make sure guests are accommodated and that they can have an amazing time, while being considerate of the wedding honorees’ wishes.
3. Do sit back, and relax.
I say this as an instruction to encourage guests to enjoy the day without feeling like they need to work. Prayerfully, the couple has hired a wedding planner and other wedding professionals that are working around the clock to take care of the needs of the couple and their guests. So when a couple asks you to sit back and relax, please do just that. It really is as simple as that, my friends!
4. Don’t be critical.
This really should go without saying, but I find myself having to reiterate this point fairly often. When you attend someone else’s wedding do not think about or converse about the things you would change or do differently if it were your own. The truth is, it’s not your wedding day. That may be an “ouch” moment, but I hope you’ll let that sink in. This day was planned, curated, designed, and executed for two very specific people to share their love story with you and other wedding guests. If this were your wedding day, I’d expect and hope that the day would be completely different and full of meaningful details that suited your likes and desires. This does go back to being respectful when you enter into the home or experience of the host. Inviting someone into your home, your life, your love story, and even your event requires a certain amount of vulnerability. I’d imagine that some brides and grooms even feel nervous when they make certain wedding decisions because of the fear that this special moment could be criticized or even rejected by the very people they hope will support them on their journey. Instead of criticizing their details, look at the bigger picture and be supportive of this moment and the journey the couple is beginning on their day.
5. Always be grateful.
Want to be a gracious guest? Be grateful. Again, you were invited for a reason. Your presence matters to the two individuals that this day is all about. Not only that, but you get to enjoy a fun day, good food and drinks, lovely conversation, awesome music and dancing, at little to no expense. The best wedding gift you could give in return would be to show up, be kind, and always be grateful.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips, and that you’ll meet us again, next week for more tips, tricks, and wedding insight from yours truly!! Happy Wedding Wednesday!!
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