It is the guests who make the weddings what they are — joyous or morose, small or grand. They are the ones who provide all the fond memories that the couple takes back from their wedding day. And, as a result of how our society functions, you will find yourself attending weddings all your life even if you decide to never have a wedding yourself! The very fact that a couple found you important enough to be a part of their wedding requires that you put in your greatest effort and show up at your best behavior. To this purpose, it would do you all the good to keep some of these time honoured etiquettes in mind. These etiquettes not only make the tasks of the organizers easier, they also make your experience of the wedding hassle free. And the best weddings are those which are free of the hiccups that arise out of ill-behaved or inflexible guests.
Wedding Guest Etiquette
The guests at a wedding should follow a series of specifications which help make the wedding enjoyable. These include:
The Invitation & The Specifications
- As with most ceremonies and formal occasions, in this case too it all starts with the invitation. The invitation not only serves the obvious purpose of letting you know about the event and inviting you to it but also brings with it an obligation to reply.
- Respond immediately to your invitation. In addition to making you appear rude and disrespectful, not responding to an invitation can also result in some very practical problems. The couple will need to arrange for the event according to the number of guests expected and this requires a response well-in-advance.
- The invitation also specifies whether you can take a guest along with you to the wedding or not. If the invitation mentions only your name and nothing along the lines of ‘and Family’ or ‘and Guest’, then it is only proper that you attend the wedding on your own. The same goes for the children too.
- Never take along a guest without informing the organizers beforehand.
Once You Have Decided To Attend
- Choose you attire with care. The dress that you choose to wear to the wedding should never be white. Only the bride gets to wear white on her wedding day. Some cultures also prevent you from turning up in black for a wedding as it is believed to bring bad luck. So, chose wisely!
- Remember to wear a shawl or the likes of it, if you are wearing a dress that bares your shoulders to a wedding that is held in a church.
- You must make sure not to arrive late for the wedding. Not only is it inconvenient for yourself, arriving late at the wedding can create a lot of embarrassment for you and also cause undue disturbance to the event.
- If, by any chance you are late then wait for the wedding planners or the site organizers instructions before enter the wedding venue. Standing at the back and following the proceedings would be a better idea than forcing your way to the front in such cases.
During The Ceremony
- The ceremony is the most important part of the wedding. The guests have to be at their best behavior and cooperate fully to ensure its success.
- Maintain silence when the ceremony is in progress. The last thing the couple would want is their ceremony to be disturbed by noisy guests. Children should be told to behave themselves. If they persist to make noise, it would be better to take them outside.
- If you can help it then it would be better to stop yourself from taking photographs of the ceremony. In any case, the official photographer is bound to have copies of the occasion which you can collect any time.
- The reception is where all the socializing takes place at a wedding. You can mingle with the crowd and make new acquaintances.
- If the organizers have assigned seats for you then follow their arrangements.
- The first dance is always reserved for the bride and the groom so make sure you do not hit the dance floor before they do.
- Finally, there will probably be alcohol served but it is up to you to keep yourself in check from consuming too much of it. You don’t want the couple’s wedding memories to reek of your drunk behavior at the ceremony.
Gifts & Others
- Gifts are usually not presented during the wedding. They are either sent before the wedding or after it. In fact, you have up to a year to send the couple their gift.
- It is only manners to send the couple a gift even if you are not attending the wedding considering that they invited you to be a part of the most special day in their life.
- Weddings are always events to be cherished. They are special not just to the bride and the groom, but to all those who share their happiness. This happiness is magnified when all goes well therefore, it’s imperative that each one of us is on our best behavior throughout the wedding.
Simple, specific and compulsory—the abovementioned set of wedding guest etiquette can make or break your reputation as a wedding guest. Not to mention, these also contribute towards making the wedding you attend, joyful or not. The above etiquette is so basic that you need not worry about not understanding any part of it. Just be punctual, polite and considerate of the couple’s sentiments and all shall fall in place automatically.