Family and relationships

Wedding etiquette: Dos and don’ts for guests

Unsure of the rules in attending weddings and receptions? Read on. You may already be committing an unforgivable wedding faux pas.

By Sher Bautista

Weddings are fun affairs to attend. They are, however, also often fraught with more than a couple of etiquette landmines that should be avoided at all costs if you want to still get invited to any other future shindigs. Here are a few reminders, from the time you receive your invite right to the happy day itself.

RSVP Promptly.

Do not wait until the day before the wedding to get back to the happy couple. Late replies not only require them to change the headcount but to also shuffle around complicated seating arrangements.

Alleviate that stress a little by replying early. If there are other questions attached to the invitation—such as your preference for an entrée—answer those as well and ASAP.

Bring a plus one only if specified.

Do not bring a plus one if it specifically says on the invite that they have reserved one seat for you. In the same vein, do not bring your entire clan if the invite only includes you and your partner.

Some weddings may also specify that they are adults-only events and that children are not to be included in the reception. While this is rare, you must respect the wishes of the couple and leave the little tots at home with a babysitter.

Do not wear white.

You are not the bride. Her wedding day is not the day to steal her thunder. If you have absolutely nothing else in your closet besides black and white pieces, the better option would be the formal black dress. Better yet, why not go out and buy something new? Or borrow a dress from a friend. Take note of the motif and try to see if you can find something within that color wheel.

Also, dress appropriately. If the wedding is on a beach, light, flowy dresses and linen pants are acceptable. If, however, it is an indoor evening event, adjust accordingly. If the invitation states that a formal dress is required, please comply.

Do bring a gift.

It is only proper to show up with a gift for the couple, this is what the wedding registry is for.

If you find you cannot afford any of the items on their wish list, consider pooling your resources with common friends and sharing the cost of one awesome gift. If this isn’t possible, find the time to get them a personal, well-thought-out gift that’ll be appreciated. Your presence would count to the couple, but a nice gift wouldn’t hurt.

Show up on time.

The only person allowed to be late is, you guessed it, the bride. Show up a little early. This should give you time to greet other friends or members of the family you may know and to find yourselves seats in the church or venue.

If you are part of the wedding entourage, you should definitely be there way before the ceremony is scheduled to start. This is typically a time for official bridal party photos and other last-minute instructions.

The wedding planner would have given the bridal entourage a call time the day before, so set your alarm early and make sure you follow the schedule given to you.

Do not inquire about the wedding expenses.

Not only is this crude and tasteless, it also puts the couple in an awkward position of having to discuss finances on a day that is meant to be celebratory. If you really must know how much those floral centerpieces cost, approach the planner and get her number for future reference and event costing details. In the meantime, just admire the beautiful décor, and enjoy the party.