As I make the transition from always having been a wedding guest to now planning my own wedding, there are many things I am seeing in a new light. From the planning side of things, I’m gaining a new understanding for the very real pains and struggles that go into the big event. As my fiancé and I painfully slim down our guest list, continually revisit whether or not we can host a full bar, and agonize over what menu options will best suit everyone, I can’t help but look back on all the weddings I have attended. I hope I was a good guest. I hope I wasn’t an added stressor to the bride or groom. I hope I showed my gratitude for having received an invitation!
A difficult or annoying guest is the last thing the happy couple needs on their wedding day. They didn’t have to invite you and yet they did! So, pull on your fancy pants, brush your teeth, and take note of what it takes to be a good wedding guest.
Whether you are able to attend or not, let the couple know by returning your RSVP through whatever format requested, by the date requested. This is the #1 rule on this list for a reason. Couples pay the caterer based on the number of guests attending, and they need to give those numbers to the caterer in advance of the wedding. Escort cards are also created ahead of the wedding, so get your RSVP in if you want to find your name and table number waiting for you. A final point on this one: even if you’re a family member or close friend of the couple, and they know you’re coming, you should still RSVP. Respect their system, and their finely tuned spreadsheets and budgets will thank you.
2. Respect the +1 Rule
This is simple in theory, but for some reason harder to execute. If you did not have a plus one or “and guest” specified on your invitation, by no means do you get to bring one. Simple as that. No you may not ask the couple for one, and no, substitutions are not allowed. As aforementioned, the couple has spent hours curating the guest list in order to coincide with their budget and capacity. This day is about the couple, not you and your date (or lack thereof).
3. Give the wedding couple space.
The bride and groom probably know every single person that attends their party, and they are going to make an honest effort to say hello and take some time to chat with as many people as possible. They will likely be flitting about from guest to guest, never lingering too long with any one person. Even if you’re a best friend, sibling, or cousin, know that they have a lot of people who also want to talk to them and give them well wishes, so give them the space and time to do so.
4. Stick to the registry.
The entire purpose of having a registry is so that the couple gets what they want and need for their home. It couldn’t be more laid out! They want the things on their registry, so don’t stray from it. The only exceptions to this rule are gifts of cash, gift cards to stores they registered at (not giftcards to Tesco’s), or something that is either being passed down or custom made for them. Also, not getting them a gift is not an option. Never show up to a wedding empty handed!
5. Don’t wear white.
Most people wouldn’t dream of doing this, but I still see it happen from time to time. This is a once-in-a-lifetime day for a bride, and nothing should compete with how beautiful and radiant she gets to be. Not only will the bride secretly (or not so secretly) hate you for showing up to her wedding in a dress of the same color, but every other female guest will be whispering about you and your poor outfit choice. Don’t be the topic of whispers. Wear something other than white.
6. Use their hashtag.
This is a more modern rule, and especially important among the Instagram crowd (so, basically everyone in their twenties who is getting married). It is not uncommon to see the wedding day’s hashtag displayed at the reception, proliferated by the wedding party, or even printed on invitations and save the dates. If the couple has created a hashtag, use it! If you have a more clever one, go ahead and use it, but use it in addition to the publicised one. In a world where people don’t print photos anymore, finding photos via hashtags is the new way of viewing a photo album. Help the couple collect the memories and moments from their big day by letting them easily find the photos that were taken by their guests. You, too, will have fun looking through them and will be glad everyone followed suit.
Now you’re ready to be the best wedding guest you can be! Cheers!
We'd like to thank Bow & Arrow magazine for their help with this blog and Nick Kent Photgraphy for the wonderful pictures. For anyone looking for lifestyle and fashion tips from those in the know, check out the lovely ladies @bowandarrowmag and follow us on twitter for news and future discounts @matchboxmusic.co.uk