Be On Your “Guest” Behavior

wedding etiquette

Wedding etiquette can be a tricky area for many people, especially those who are unfamiliar with it to begin with and have received mixed advice from well-meaning friends and family members. With a little help from Emily Post, we have compiled a list of etiquette tips for wedding guests who want to avoid a faux pas or social snafu.

  • RSVP immediately! Just like writing thank-you notes, the easiest and most-efficient way to make sure you get that response out is to write it immediately. It is absolutely imperative that you respond – whether your answer is yes or no – so the bride and groom can plan for the right number of people at their ceremony and reception.
    • When your invitation does not include a response card, there are several appropriate ways to respond, depending on your relationship to the couple. You may respond in writing with a formal response (which follows the wording of a traditional wedding invitation), or with a personal note (written to hosts you know well).
    • If you later learn that you cannot attend the wedding, let your hosts know as soon as possible. They may be able to save a little money or invite someone else in your place.
  • Do not bring extra people with you to the wedding. If your invitation is addressed to you and one guest, only two people have been invited. If it’s addressed to you, your partner, and your five children, seven people have been invited. Weddings are very expensive, and couples invite a specific number of people for a reason.
  • Send a gift to the happy couple! Normally, this is done in advance of the ceremony, although some couples provide a gift table at the reception for those who choose to bring their gifts with them. If the couple requests a charitable donation in lieu of gifts, respect their wishes.
  • Be a respectful guest. Dress appropriately, don’t cause a fuss, and arrive on time. In the words of Emily Post, “the good guest is almost invisible, enjoying him- or herself, communing with fellow guests, and, most of all, enjoying the generous hospitality of the hosts.”
  • Speaking of dressing appropriately, avoid a fashion faux pas by avoiding the following at all weddings, no matter what time of day it’s held: blue jeans, t-shirts, immodest or skimpy dresses or skirts, exercise apparel, baseball caps and large hats, and inappropriate footwear (gym shoes with a cocktail dress). In some religions and regions of the country, it’s expected that ladies will have their shoulders and arms covered, or that head coverings will be worn. Make sure you understand the nature of the service and the expectations of the couple as far as dress is concerned. It never hurts to ask them about what’s considered appropriate dress for the event!
  • Gifts – It is NOT required to spend as much on your gift as the couple spent on your “plate” at the wedding. It is NOT required to buy a gift from the couple’s registry, although that will give you a good idea of what they are looking for. Sending money is always a great idea and is NOT tacky at all. Gifts SHOULD be purchased before the wedding or as soon after as possible; you don’t have a year after the wedding to buy a gift, contrary to popular belief.

This post was written by a guest contributor for The Perfect Card Box, home of the patented keepsake card holders for all occasions

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