The dos and don’ts of being a wedding guest seem pretty clear cut until you see a guest rounding up all the flowers from the tables and walking out of the wedding at 7:30 with a bouquet of three-dozen pink roses, subsequently leaving empty vases on all of the tables. Follow the golden rule of weddings and don’t do anything you wouldn’t want done on your own wedding day:
1. RSVP by the requested date. If you weren’t invited to bring a guest, don’t (including your children). If something changes, let the bride and groom know instead of just showing up or not showing up. 2. Showing up early isn’t polite and neither is showing up late. If you show up too early, you can interrupt the wedding party getting ready or taking pictures. Slipping in behind the bride is also not acceptable, wait until after the processional and sit in the back if you’re late. 3. If you’re invited and RSVP ‘yes’, don’t just show up to the reception. The bride and groom invited you to their wedding ceremony, not just the dinner and drinks afterwards. Celebrate the whole day with them unless you make them aware upfront why you can’t. 4. Don’t wear a dress that you think will compete with the bride or make you stand out. White, ivory and off-white are off limits unless requested by the bride; the same goes for matching the wedding party. 5. Don’t take items that aren’t meant as favors. This means don’t snatch any decorations or mugs. The bride and groom can incur charges for rented items that go missing. Also, don’t take the flowers. 6. Don’t take from the dessert table until the bride and groom cut the cake. Lots of pictures are taken when the bride and groom cut the cake and they won’t want their table to look bare. 7. The photographer is a professional and will make sure to get all the posed shots, so there’s no need to follow them around with a smartphone taking photos. Save your shots for the reception and grab a couple candid pictures and then have some fun! 8. If the couple has requested an unplugged wedding, respect it. Put your phone down and be present on their special day. 9. Get a gift, even if you can’t go. If you’re going with a physical gift, get it from the registry. Don’t want to carry a gift to the wedding? Give a card with cash or have the gift sent to the couple prior to the wedding.10. Don’t leave before the cake is cut. While it may be an old rule, it still stands. It’s usually done right after dinner, and earlier in the evening, giving those who wish to cut out early a cue when it’s acceptable to head out.
Weddings are a time for celebration. Sticking to these simple guidelines can help you be a courteous and fun guest, and make the bride and groom happy as clams.