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Wedding Guest Etiquette
Who doesn’t love a good wedding? But if you are invited as a guest, there are some things you should and should not do. Etiquette experts say:
Do RSVP promptly, using the included card or whatever other instructions the couple provides. Getting an accurate count as early as possible lets the couple – and the caterer -- know how many people to expect.
Don’t add your own guest. The name or names of the invitees should be written either on the outside envelope or on an inside envelope. Usually, if the couple knows the name of your significant other, it will be included: John Smith and Mary Jones. If you are allowed to bring a guest of your choice, your invitation will read: John Smith and Guest. If it just says John Smith, you must come alone. Similarly, unless the envelope mentions your children by name or says “and family,” children are not invited.
Do show up on time. That means you should be in your seat before the time listed on the invitation.
Don’t wear white. Women should not wear a dress that is mainly white or ivory, so as not to detract from the bride’s dress. And if specific guidelines for dress – such as black tie or formal – are on the invitation, men and women should follow those guidelines.
Do be respectful during the service. Don’t talk throughout or wave to friends. Silence your phone -- or better yet, put it away.
Don’t bring your gift to the wedding. Someone will have to pack up those gifts and take them back to the couple’s home. Instead, have your gift sent to the address the couple provides on their registry.
Do show up if you say you are coming. An RSVP to a wedding is not a casual thing. Unless you are sick or dealing with some actual tragedy, go.
Don’t get in the way of the photographer or the DJ. Similarly, don’t hijack the playlist, and don’t monopolize the couple. They have a vision for how their wedding should go.
Do sit where you are told at the reception. Couples usually spend a lot of time deciding who should sit at what table, so just go where you are sent.
Don’t overindulge. This is not specific to weddings, of course. But where there is an open bar, there usually are some people who end up overusing it. Don’t be one of those people.
Do go with the flow. Even if you hate the Chicken Dance or the YMCA, be a good sport. Remember that it is the couple's day.