Everybody and their mama seems to be getting married this year. Your social calendars are probably popping with showers, engagements, ceremonies, and the like. If you follow me on Instagram, you likely know that my baby brother’s nuptials took place just about two weeks ago. The ceremony was absolutely stunning and so is the honeymoon video they just shared from Maldives! I’ve gotten a handful of wedding guest etiquette questions from y’all on the topics of gifts, RSVPs, reception dinners (check out dining tips here), and more. I’ve also witnessed my fair share of bad behavior over the years so please don’t feel like you’re alone. Today, we’re continuing the Dash of Jazz Etiquette Series to get everybody on the right foot. I’m also including some social media tips because…well you know!
Many of us have probably done one of the don’ts below at some point. But do not sweat it if you’ve made an etiquette gaff in the past. Now you’ll know for next time. As the wise Oprah Winfrey often says “When you know better, you do better.” Since last week’s bridesmaids dos and don’ts format went over well, let’s keep that energy going here. Start scrolling for wedding guest etiquette dos and don’ts, friend.
Wedding Guest Etiquette Dos and Don’ts
First things first, an RSVP is a “yes” or a “no”. And I went on a rant about “maybe” responses awhile back but long story short, they aren’t helpful. Giving no response at all is highly undesirable but technically OK if you absolutely won’t attend. Still, it just takes a few minutes to go to the wedding website, type in your name, and click the “no” box.
Don’t Bring a Plus One, that isn’t on your RSVP.
This is so rude but you’d be surprised by how many people try to slide through the reception with their newest boo. Or maybe you wouldn’t. No judgement here but please don’t do that. Everything associated with putting on an event comes at a cost. Anything with the word “wedding” in it comes at an inflated cost. If this person wasn’t invited (which is essentially the case if they aren’t on the RSVP or you met them after the fact), the couple probably doesn’t want to pay for their plate. Sure, guests who RSVP sometimes can’t make it, which frees up seats but don’t count on that.
Do give a gift.
Weddings these days are a huge production that come at great expense. Ideally, you’re a close friend or relative of the couple who wants to help them get their household or honeymoon started but, even if you’re an aloof plus one, it’s customary and greatly appreciated to choose something from the wedding registry. Think of it as the ultimate host gift since they are technically feeding you and providing a party. Also, even if you aren’t able to attend, you can still send a gift in your absence.
Don’t Share your Invitation.
It should go without saying but, in this social media age, people post all kinds of things they shouldn’t. Don’t post or otherwise share the details of someone’s wedding invitation. If you just love the design of the invite and think others should appreciate it, redact the details. I’ve actually done that before. Everybody got to admire the beautiful laser-cut gold invite in my Instagram story and there were no pop-up guests because the date, location, etc. were covered.
Don’t ask “Where’s my Invite?”
Do not do that! I guarantee you that the people getting married spent a lot of time on the guest list. If, by some chance, they overlooked you on accident, their memory will likely be jogged over the course of a conversation with you that does not include the phrase “Where’s my invite?” 🙂 To be clear, this is an undesirable thing to say in any scenario, not just a wedding.
Do Dress the Part.
The desired dress code (semi-formal, formal, black tie, etc.) should be stated on the invitation but, if you’re unsure, ask. Also, unless it’s the requested guest attire, it’s extremely inappropriate to wear white at a wedding. But what if the bride isn’t wearing white? That doesn’t really matter and isn’t something you’d necessarily know when getting dressed anyway.
Do Bring a Change of Shoes.
If a reception is happening, a turn up is to be expected. And you’ll want to celebrate with the couple. If the heels you stepped out in have a short shelf life, bring comfortable flats so that you can swag surf, wobble, and shaku shaku the night away.
Wedding Guest Etiquette on Social Media
Don’t Pull out Your Phone at an Unplugged Ceremony.
I personally feel that every ceremony should be cell phone free but that’s a rant for another day. It’s rude to shove your phone in someone’s face as they walk down the aisle and even more so if they have explicitly requested you not do so. When I get married, y’all just might have to place your phones and tablets in those little lock bags comedians use at shows when they’re taping for Netflix. 🙂
Do Double-Check the Hashtag.
Not everybody is into wedding or event hashtags but couples that use them likely want keep track of the shared images on social media. It’s helpful if you use it when posting. My one piece of advice is to make sure the hashtag is spelled correctly.
Do Follow the Couple’s Lead.
Watching two people you love get married is so exciting. And we often want to share the love online. A general rule I try to follow is this: If the celebrant(s) haven’t posted or re-posted anything to social media, you probably shouldn’t either.
I hope this is helpful to you. Share the love with anyone who might benefit and be sure to pin this on Pinterest. Thanks for reading!