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Rules of etiquette every wedding guest should follow

Thursday, August 23, 2018
Photo by:Caroline Moses


A rule of thumb for most weddings is to wear something “nice” – but honestly, nice can mean different things to different people. While you might show up in a ball gown, other guests might be in a cocktail dress, and don’t get us started on the men: suit, no suit, tie, no tie? How do you know what you’re really supposed to be wearing to your friend’s wedding? Well, take a look at the invitation, chances are, it’ll have some kind of dress code indicated to avoid this exact dilemma. Weddings can range from anywhere from black tie (super formal gowns and tuxedos for the men) to semi-formal (the usual cocktail dress or long dress) to dressy casual (the business-casual of the wedding world) or plain old casual (feel free to rock jeans, but no sweats). It’s up to you to figure out an outfit based on what your invitation says.


We know we’re supposed to RSVP, but we’re all kind of really bad at it, right? Not only should you RSVP (especially if you’re not planning to attend), but you should do it as early as possible. Some weddings have assigned seating and need the exact number of guests and their names so that the bride and groom and their families can fight over who sits on what table (sounds horrible, right?), while others just need to submit final numbers to the venue and caterers. While some weddings ask for a regrets only RSVP, it’s better safe than sorry to let the bride and groom know if you’ll be attending – and if any plans should change, be sure to let them know as soon as you do.


Let’s put it out there: don’t assume your invitation comes with a plus-one. Unless you’re dating someone seriously, and they have a relationship with the bride and groom like you do, you shouldn’t even assume your significant other will also be invited. A rule of thumb is that if both you and your SO’s names are on the invitation, you’re both invited. If your name appears alone with a +1 alongside it, you can bring whoever you want as your guest – but be sure to let the bride and groom know if you will be using it. But if your name appears alone, then do not by any means, show up with your flame of the month. If you have a close relationship with the couple, ask if you can bring a date. If not, you’re going solo, sorry!


Yes, you want to add the perfect Boomerang of your friend walking down the aisle, or get that perfect shot of their first kiss, but chances are if you’re paying more attention to snapping photos of the ceremony, you’ve missed half of it. While, yes, a wedding is an event and an excuse to get dressed up and take some photos, it’s also the start of (hopefully) a lifelong marriage, and the commitment they’re taking in these moments is a serious one. Also, they’ve hired a photographer, and the last thing the professional photographer wants is a million smartphones held in the air into the aisle while she’s trying to get a photo of the bride’s entrance. Be respectful of your friends and sit back and enjoy the moment. There’ll be plenty time for Instagrams at the reception.


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