Wedding Guest Etiquette: 20 Dos and Don’ts

Will you be attending a wedding anytime soon? Wedding guests are an important part of any couple’s big day. You can be the perfect guest by following these easy etiquette rules.

Do: RSVP as soon as possible — the couple has decisions to make based on numbers. If you have to cancel, do that immediately, too.

Don’t: Make dietary requests unless they have been solicited.

Don’t: Feel obligated to bring a gift to the engagement party.

Don’t: Ask the bride to be a bridesmaid. There may be circumstances beyond her control, so don’t take it personally if she doesn’t choose you.

Don’t: Pester the happy couple with all of your prewedding questions. Ask members of the wedding party, or consult their wedding Website.

Don’t: Ask for help with your hotel bill. Even if you’re flying in from the opposite coast, the couple isn’t required to pay for it.

Do: Purchase items from the gift registry and make selections based on your relationship with the couple.

Do: Send a gift even if you can’t make the wedding.

Don’t: Bring a guest unless the invitation specifically says you may do so — that includes children.

Don’t: Wear white. Ivory is okay. So is black.

Do: Bring a shawl or a pashmina if you have a strapless dress (unless the wedding is outdoors in the summer).

Don’t: Bring your gift to the ceremony. You have up to one year to send something (although it’s best to send it as soon as possible after the wedding).

Do: Wait for a cue from the wedding or venue coordinator if you are late and the processional or ceremony has already started.

Do: Remember to turn off your cell phone during the ceremony.

Don’t: Take photographs during the service — your flash may interfere with the professional photographer.

Do: Remain respectful even if you do not take part in the religious ceremony.

Don’t: Go crazy at the buffet table if there are a lot of guests who have not eaten yet.

Do: Wait for the bride and groom to dance before you hit the floor, even if music is beckoning. The couple gets the honor of the first dance.

Don’t: Just talk to your date. Engage the people at your table in polite conversation even if you don’t know them.

Do: Write or call the bride and groom to ensure that your gift arrived safely if you have not received a thank-you within two months.

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