We wanted to put together a guide specifically for wedding guests as we hear these subjects coming up a lot from brides & grooms!
We hear brides asking what to do when their guest adds a plus one and they have no room for them, they have a family member complaining that their kids are not invited to the wedding, but the couple wants their wedding at a unique venue without kids, and even guests posting pictures of a white floral dress asking if it is acceptable to wear to a wedding.
We decided to answer the top ten wedding etiquette questions we hear the most from our perspective. You may disagree with what we think, and that is okay! Just make sure to think about the bride and groom! What do they want? Frankly, it’s not about what we want or what you, the guest wants, it’s all about the bride and groom!
Here are our top 10 etiquette tips for wedding guests!
This is an important one. Do not share pictures from the wedding until the bride and groom do. Let the bride and groom post the first picture from their wedding to social media. Why is this so important? First, it was their big day, let them brag about it! Second, the first person who posts, gets all the likes and comments. The bride and groom want to watch their notifications go off with all the sweet comments! If you post, they don’t get those sweet comments on their pictures because people comment on the first picture they see. That’s just not fair to the couple.
Take lots of pictures, but make sure to follow the couple’s requests! If the couple wants an unplugged ceremony, put your electronics away. Many couples are upset seeing photos of their ceremony with their guests behind phones or cameras! We capture guests emotions and capture the bride and groom with all the guests at their ceremony, so yes it is in the pictures! The couple invited you to listen to their well thought out vows, not for you to take pictures (Sorry, that’s our job!)
Remember when there was a time before cell phones? How did guests get pictures of the wedding? They usually didn’t! They may have seen pictures in a photo album! Luckily, we now have social media, and we promise we will share the images! So sit back and enjoy the moment, listen to their vows, laugh with them, cry with them, and most of all, be there for them. Ceremonies are short and they only happen once!
How many phones can you count in this photo of Gina & Mike’s first kiss?
Save the color white for the bride. If you are questioning if your outfit has too much white, pick a different outfit.
Bring a card. Thank and congratulate the couple. It is recommended to include $80-150 per guest to cover the cost of your plate. If a couple invites 100 guests to their wedding and has a $100 per plate fee, that’s $10,000 just in catering. They also pay for the venue, the bar, favors, DJ, photo booth, and so much more that is specifically for their guests to have a great time! Make sure to say thank you for all the effort they put into the wedding by giving them cash or a check on their wedding day. If you don’t want to give cash, make sure to gift them something off their registry!
Shopping for the couple. Stick to the registry. Yes, you may find something that you think the couple will love, but it may not match their style or home decor. The couple registered for exactly what they want for their new life together! If you feel that the gifts on the registry are boring, you can always team up with a few other guests to get them a big ticket item. We love to make a basket of smaller registry items or a themed gift!
- We love seeing unique gift ideas like a date night basket! What about a basket with a casino night theme? Concert or show tickets, a gift card to a nice restaurant, spa gift card, and a hotel room all at the casino! We love Mohegan Sun and think this would be such a great gift for the couple who may need a break from wedding planning, or may not be able to afford a honeymoon right away!
- Another theme could be a wine tour or beer tour basket. Gift them tastings at a few local spots, and include a map! Send them on a little adventure! You can gift it all in a picnic basket/backpack (like this one) so they can bring along snacks! They will use the bag again and again and remember their amazing experience as newly weds was a gift from you!
- If the couple ran out of gifts on their registry, you can get them gift cards to the store they registered at, gift cards to their favorite restaurants, a spa for massages, or a card to a local home improvement store.
Don’t add a plus one to your RSVP if it is obvious you are only given one seat. Don’t put the couple in an awkward position of having to pay more for that guest. Also, venues DO have limits on how many people can attend, and if the couple lets you bring a plus one (because they felt bad) now someone else may feel hurt that they did not get a plus one. Go to the wedding and have fun with the guests that are invited! It is only one night!
Follow their rules for children. Same as the plus one situation, if the couple lets you bring your child, they now have to let everyone bring their kids. If the couple wants to either be child free on their wedding night (which is okay!), or just wants to cut costs on their day, let them! It is their big day! You can hire a sitter and go home at the end of the night to your little ones and enjoy the wedding as a date night!
You can also hire a sitter at the venue! We have seen guests hire a sitter to hangout in the hotel room to watch their kids until they can get back. This also works for breastfeeding moms! You can go up to your room as many times as you want to check in and feed your little one! If the wedding is at a venue without hotel rooms near by, you can ask the couple if there is a room at the venue that the babysitter can hangout in. Sometimes there is a spare dining room or bridal suite that the bride would not mind your baby being in. This may be too much to ask a couple if your child is old enough to run around, they don’t want to stress about a little one breaking anything at the venue.
Get up and dance. You may hate to dance, you may be tired, or the music may be awful, but get up and boogie! The couple put so much time, money, and effort into this wedding, and they want to have fun! The worst thing at a wedding is seeing guests sitting. You can tell the couple is upset that their guests are not having fun. Pretend if you have to. Do it for the bride and groom! They invited you because you mean something to them, so do this for them!
Sign the guest book, use the photo booth, and take your favor home!
- You may think the guestbook is pointless, but years after the wedding, when they are looking through their wedding pictures and memories, they want to see your name in that book. Remember they invited you because you mean something to them!
- If they paid for a photobooth or other attraction for their guests, go use it. They did that for you!
- The bride and groom took time, effort, and money to give you a gift at the end of the night. You may not like what the gift is, but the couple does not want to see that their guests did not appreciate their effort. Take it home.
Drink, but don’t get overly drunk. Not only is it annoying and disruptive, but it can actually end the wedding. There have been weddings that get shut down early because of a drunk guest. Enjoy the night, have fun, but be responsible. Remember, there will be photographic evidence of your drunken shenanigans!
Tell us your thoughts in the comments! What is your favorite etiquette topic we covered? Do you have any we didn’t include?
We can’t wait to hear what you think!
Shelby & Zachary