Ladylike Laws: Wedding Guest Etiquette

Ladylike Laws: Wedding Guest Etiquette

From the invitation wording to the guest list, we’ve talked about quite a few of the wedding etiquette rules that a bride and groom have to consider. But what if you’re simply a guest at a wedding? Believe it or not, there are still a lot of etiquette rules that you should keep in mind. As someone who has been a wedding guest, a planner, and a bride, I’ve witnessed from multiple perspectives what is appropriate and what is not. So before you dive head first into wedding season, here are some simple etiquette tips to follow…

RSVP by the Deadline

Good wedding guest etiquette starts the minute you receive the invitation in the mail. Most hosts give you plenty of time to get your RSVP in, so there’s usually no excuse for sending back your response card late. If you’re simply forgetful or tend to lose pieces of mail, make a concerted effort to send in your response on the same day it’s delivered to you.

Be Punctual

Yes, it’s common for a couple to start their ceremony 15 or 30 minutes after the time on the invitation in order to ensure that everyone is there and settled. But even if you know this is going to be the case, you should still make your very best effort to get there at the time listed on the invite. Stumbling in when the ceremony is already underway is both embarrassing for you and disrespectful to the couple. So get there with time to spare, and enjoy some cool refreshments and good company while you wait patiently.

Do Not Wear White

You would think this common rule wouldn’t need repeating at this point, but you’d be surprised. Almost every wedding I’ve attended has had a guest or two who has disobeyed this statute of wedding etiquette. If you’re not sure if your dress is considered white or not (cream or very pale pink for instance), it’s best to err on the side of caution and choose another outfit option. Let the bride stand out from the rest of the crowd.

Drink Responsibly

An open bar is not a good excuse to drink more than you usually would. Know your limits, and don’t do anything to make a fool of yourself or make a mess of the bride and groom’s dream day. If you have trouble resisting limitless free alcohol, pair up with a responsible friend who will remind you to slow down if you need to.

Be on Good Behavior

This goes hand-in-hand with drinking responsibly for many. But the bottom line is, don’t do anything that would draw attention away from the couple. Any loud, obnoxious, or attention-seeking behavior is a major no. (Even impromptu toasts when you weren’t asked to speak are tricky…) Be polite, well mannered, and gracious to be included in such an important day for your friends. If you know who is hosting the event (ie. the bride or groom’s parents), be sure to thank them at some point in the night.

Mail Large Gifts

If you are getting the bride and groom a gift that is large in size (whether it was an item off their registry or otherwise), it is best to ship it directly to their home ahead of time. It’s perfectly fine to bring envelopes and smaller boxes on the day of, but anything unwieldy only makes it difficult for the bride and groom.

Don’t Become an iPhone Paparazzo

It has become quite common for guests to snap photos on their camera phones throughout the ceremony and reception these days. Some couples even encourage it by creating their own social media hashtag for the event. But please use common courtesy when you’re playing iPhone photographer. That means making sure that you’re still present and in the moment during the ceremony, and that you’re not blocking anyone else’s view when you strain to get the perfect shot. And if the bride and groom do ask you to refrain from taking photographs or posting on social media, you must respect their wishes completely.

Keep the Chitchat with the Couple Brief 

Of course you are excited to congratulate your newly married loved ones on their union. But keep in mind that your bride and groom have many guests to greet in their receiving line. So, keep the congratulatory chitchat to a minimum and certainly don’t take offense if you don’t get to spend a ton of one-on-one time with the couple.

Do you have any etiquette rules to add to my list?

Share them in the comments below.

xo Ilana
Team LC

Photo: 100 Layer Cake
Categories: Celebrate, Contributors, Etiquette, Grow, Ilana Saul, Ladylike Laws, Wedding
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  • Jennifer

    I think you should add two more to the list:

    1. Don’t use the wedding as an excuse to hook up. Dancing and exchanging numbers with the cute single guy at your table is one thing; coming back to the bridesmaid’s house the next morning in your dress from the wedding after hooking up with the sleazy best man? Not very classy.

    2. Nowadays, almost all weddings are ‘destination weddings,’ at least for some guests. If you go in on a hotel room, house, or any other expenses with friends, be sure to pay them back in a timely manner. No one likes to chase people down for money, so remove the awkwardness, send them a check and maybe even a thank you note for organizing accommodations!

  • Claire

    You can never be too dressed up at a Wedding.
    Dress up properly including doing makeup & hair for women & not too casual for men.Don’t know about there but in Australia some people take casual to a whole new level.Looking like they are going to a BBQ.

    • Bex

      Unless the wedding IS casual, and is noted as such on the invitations. I attended a come as you are wedding and the bride and groom WANTED everyone to feel like it was a BBQ. It was the best one I’ve been to.

    • Kriss

      Omg I went to a reception and it was country themed but when people showed up in cut offs and dirty jeans that’s pushing it!

      • Miss Kelly

        I could never do that! Such a brave couple

  • Charlotte Copeland

    I really agree with only the bride in white, my friend is currently having a problem with her fiancee sister buying a white maxi dress to wear at her wedding. So so rude x

    • misanthrope

      My sister got married last year and a friend of hers showed up in beige dress. My sister jokingly gave her a little grief (“You’re wearing white, bitch!”) but the friend insisted it was beige, not white. My sister wasn’t bothered and took it in stride, but c’mon people, if it could ever be mistaken as white, DON’T WEAR IT!

    • Lizzy Lou

      Actually, most etiquette books say guests CAN wear white (and black and red) to weddings as long as the fabric and cut aren’t bridal looking (no lace, chiffon, etc). It’s a stupid rule some spoiled woman made up decades ago that stuck. People will talk, but you actually can wear white to weddings. So stupid.

      • Cne’

        It’s not your day. Wear white whenever the hell you want but not on the single most important day of these couples lives. They put so much time and effort into creating a memorable at to celebrate their love and new life together. I think it’s selfish to wear white and draw attention away from the bride. You have every day of your life to wear white I think you can sacrifice it for one day….

      • Hannah

        Even if it’s not the most thought-out rule to begin with, it will draw attention away from the couple and you will serve as a distraction on the couple’s wedding day. Let people talk about how pretty the bride’s white dress is- not their opinions on yours.

    • Jessica

      I accidentally wore a dress very close to the bridemaids dresses colors to a cousins wedding. I had no idea until I showed up, but none the less it was awkward when someone said I matched…if only there was a polite way to announce the colors not to wear haha.

      • Andie

        Omg, this happened to me twice! I wish they could announce colors… I have wedding anxiety now. I’ve learned to not buy a dress that is the season’s “it” color and your chances reduce greatly of not matching the bridesmaid.

      • Grace

        I had a very smart friend who did her wedding stationary in navy and cream – and then her bridesmaids dresses were navy. I don’t know if everyone thinks it through that much or if it can be helped but having her colors very prominently on the invite made sure the rest of us could stay away from those (and not get mistaken for a bridesmaid haha).

  • Name

    Perhaps change the title to simply “Wedding Etiquette.” This can include constructive suggesting to brides and grooms such as: tacky to ask for money “in lieu of gifts” to fund your honeymoon, etc. May not be received well when bridesmaids are flat out told to bring champagne to the bridal suite for getting ready on the big day. Finally, if you must choose the most expensive bridesmaids dresses for your bridal party- consider paying for half or something. After being a bridesmaid a handful of times, it is easy to quickly go broke! I am certain you can easily add more to this list :)

    • laura

      The asking for money thing I think is fine and in the UK is very common. This bridesmaids having to buy their own dress thing I find really odd though. In the UK you probably won’t get a free bar at a wedding but if you are apart of the bridal party (bridesmaid, best man, usher) you wouldn’t paid for bridesmaid dresses or suit hire and if you are all expected to wear matching shoes or accessories they would be paid for as well. There is also generally no wedding shower with gifts just a bachelorette party.

    • Alisa B

      I’ve found it’s quite common to ask for honeymoon money and I don’t mind it.

    • golfgal90

      I agree that asking for money is tacky! Always has been and always will be to me and my family.

    • Lizzy Lou

      My friend itemized their honeymoon on HoneyFund and I thought it was a great present. I paid for them to go scuba diving. I think it’s fine. Especially since a lot of my friends who are couples are in their late 20s or early 30s and already have all the stuff they need and have been living together. They don’t make a ton of money, so putting money towards their honeymoon was fine by me.

  • Jessica

    Know what type of wedding you are attending in regards to an appropriate gift. ie: if you’re going to an Italian or Portuguese wedding, it’s usually not appropriate to bring a present, but instead a cash gift that is usually in the approximate amount of what each head cost. So if you think the couple based on where their reception is held is about $150/head, then your envelope should reflect that roughly based on how many are in your attending party. Many cultures appreciate the cash gift, but for those who do have registries, stick to the registry and again, make sure your gift reflects a decent amount spent… don’t just get them the nice salt and pepper shakers, that’s not going to make up for what it cost the hosts for you to eat and drink at the venue that night. And with that said, no bride and groom like it when THAT guest shows up with some awful gift basket full of things they don’t want or need. If the couple received just gifts like that, there’s no way they could afford the wedding after the blessed event. Know who’s wedding your attending beforehand. And if you can’t afford to be a guest, then respectively decline your invite.

    • Jessica

      Furthermore, if a wedding invitation does not state anything about a registry, it is safe to assume the couple prefers cash gifts. It is also perfectly acceptable on a bridal shower invitation, to put “monetary gifts are appreciated”. Again, if it’s for a bride to be who has an Italian family, this is often assumed anyway. To be honest in my experience, people prefer to give cash… so much easier than going out to pick a gift! And these days, most couples have already moved out of their parents’ homes before their wedding day. So they more than likely already have many daily essentials that they don’t need to register for, like pots and pans. Instead of registering for fancy stemware they may never use, cash is great so they can use it towards their honeymoon, pay off the wedding, or put it towards a down payment on a future home.

      • golfgal90

        I don’t think guests should be required to give the amount of money they cost per plate… if you can’t afford to throw a large wedding, don’t do it. Period. One shouldn’t be relying on your guests to come through with cash and help pay for it. Stick to what you can afford. And it is in very poor taste to put “monetary gifts are appreciated”. I would be horrified to go to a wedding shower or wedding that listed that on the invitation. The bride and groom should be gracious about all gifts received, even if they aren’t cash or something they registered for. Accept it, write a nice thank you note, and move on. Donate it if it isn’t what you want. I’m sure someone out there will appreciate it.

        • Nicole Elisha Fisher

          It isn’t in poor taste to state that monetary gifts are appreciated or to list your registery/registeries. It not only makes it profoundly easier and less stressful for the guests, but it assures that the newly weds aren’t going to receive multiples of the same thing and that during the hectic, busy time after the big day they won’t have to go through the hassle of returning, exchanging or donating things they didn’t ask for and don’t like, need or want. If monetary gifts or something from their registry are what the couple prefers, then you should do your best to honor their wishes; it is their big day, not a time for you to pass judgment or gossip about “how tacky” you think it is. Give whatever you can afford- a small cash gift or something less expensive from their registry. Something a little more personal is nice too, IF you know it’s something the couple enjoys (i.e. candles, nice soaps or a favorite special coffee or candy). If you can’t afford cash or something on the registry, a card with something cute and personal, such as the candy is equally as appreciative. I completely agree that, no matter the occasion, wedding or not, the recipient should act appreciative of the gift and send a thank you note; that’s simply being polite. But, I believe it’s equally as important for the guest to try their hardest to give a gift that they know the couple wants/needs and will, at least, like. Don’t get the newly weds something out of left field.
          P.S.- if the couple does state that they’ll be accepting monetary gifts, do not assume they’re having a wedding or honeymoon they can’t afford. That’s impolite, disrespectful and, once again, gossip. Perhaps they’re saving up for their nursery or to buy new appliances or hardwood floors. Regardless, it’s none of your business; it isn’t your wedding. So, really, your opinion on the matter is irrelevant and giving an opposing one (just agree, even if you don’t, it’s polite!), even if asked, or gossiping about it is so absolutely rude and bitchy. Woman are sensitive and even the implication that you think part of their wedding, one of the biggest events of their lives, is tacky or that she’s cheap could partially ruin the day for her! Don’t make the bride regret she invited you!

          • Laina

            Any wedding magazine or planning book explicitly states that it is never okay to ask for cash.

          • Caroline

            I think this is, like was stated before, largely a cultural difference. I’m Belgian and here it’s widely accepted (and appreciated) to give money as a wedding gift. I have never been to a wedding in which the couple had registered for gifts. However, whenever I come across this topic on an American website, the majority of commenters are horrified at the idea of giving money!

            Furthermore, I fully agree with the ‘pay what you can’, mentioned by others. When I look at myself and my partner, we give the same amount of money at every wedding (although it has increased: ever since we started working, we are able to give a bigger gift than we did while in college). It doesn’t matter whether we are treated to a five-course meal or whether it’s a smaller reception with a bar and hors d’oeuvres, each wedding you’re invited to is worth a token of your appreciation.

      • Elizabeth

        Registries should never be mentioned on wedding invitations, so if it’s not mentioned it just means the couple is well mannered, not that there is no registry. You can reach out to someone close to the couple like the MOH or mother of the bride to inquire as to whether the couple is registered anywhere. Or, you can opt to give cash in cultures where that is acceptable.

        • Guest

          Agreed! I was so offended when the first thing I saw when opening a friend’s wedding invitation was a link for her wedding registry.
          Especially when

        • Dawn Wells-Siddiqui

          Agreed. I recently had a friend receive an invite where the first thing she saw (right on top!) was the link to the couple’s registry. I thought it was awfully gutsy considering the couple wasn’t even having a dinner – although my friend fully expected to bring a gift anyway, it just seemed tacky. I think it would have been better if this were for the shower, but still – guests are just that – guests, not wedding fairies.

  • Amanda

    Don’t ask to bring a plus 1 if you were not given one and especially do not just add them to your RSVP. There’s a reason you were not given one. The bride and groom spend a lot of time on the guest list!

    • Samantha Brown

      I definitely agree with this! Plus not knowing anyone else at a wedding shouldn’t be a reason not to go. If you don’t have a plus one use it as an excuse to meet someone new – you won’t be the only one there alone.

      Sam xx – how to make the most of your twenties

    • Katie Albury

      I agree too! I even had a guest say that they would pay for their plus one if they can invite them…how awkward! x

      • Ellen Rozalia

        Very good points and I agree! I think a lot of people forget that a wedding should be about the couple, not the guests.

        Ellen Rozalia xx

    • Michelle

      Yes! And also goes for Children.. If the invitation was addressed to “Mr & Mrs” and not “xxx Family”, don’t add 4 additional kids on the RSVP…

      • Kristi Ladd

        omg so true. my wedding was 14 years ago and i had a HUGE problem with this. we even provided a dozen babysitters and had a nursery (in the church) where parents could drop their kids off for the ceremony. we had a note in with the invitation that childcare would be provided….it was a big wedding, pretty formal and i DID NOT want screaming kids in there. BUT of course right as we are about to say our “I Dos” i hear a baby start screaming bloody murder. that may sound harsh (i have 3 kids now) but i hardly EVER take them to weddings. My six year old year loves to go to them, but if they aren’t invited its SOOOO RUDE to add their names on the reply card. jeez. i could write an entire book on this issue.

    • Cory

      Also please don’t ask the bride or groom-to-be if you can bring the guy you just started dating or your small child while in the company of others. That really puts them on the spot and is not at all appropriate. If you must ask, but please don’t, then that should be a private conversation.

    • ticker212

      I was very specific in addressing my invites. If you’ve been involved with the same person for quite some time (married, dating, living together, whatever), the invite was addressed to the both of you. If I have never met your SO, I don’t want them at my wedding. I don’t want a bunch of strange people there!

  • Toughmudderette

    How about….NO JEANS!!!! EVER!!! So distasteful!

    • Jy

      Disagree. I’ve been to several casual and country weddings where jeans were worn by 80% of attendees.

  • Virginia

    I have a family wedding to attend in less than 3 weeks. I just don’t have the funding for new clothes and am wondering if the no white rule applies to just dresses. I plan on wearing Navy dress slacks and a really pretty white blouse. I also plan on covering with a light cardigan that is mostly white with Navy and coral details. In the case it’s way too hot for the cardigan in the outdoor wedding, is the rest of the outfit appropriate?

    • Antonia Correa

      I think your outfit is appropriate, wearing all white is one thing, but wearing it on some pieces is very acceptable!

  • Grace Denny

    Not wearing white is SUPER important – you should never take the limelight away from the Bride on her special day if you wouldn’t want it to happen to you either. Even if you think it doesn’t make a difference, there will definitely be other guests that will notice. I’ve seen it happen before.

    XO, G from grace’d

  • Electric Eel Fashion

    …and no jeans!


  • mwl

    Don’t BYO alcohol and drink it from under the table if you don’t like what’s on the bar. I had this at mine and we had to close the reception down almost 2 hours early because the winery owner (and us) found out. I was so angry and it was close family to.

    • Danielle

      Most venues frown upon bringing in your own liquor because of liquor liscence reasons. If someone gets too intoxicated or is under age they can loose their liscence. It’s too risky. You can usually bring your own but pay a corkage fee and the control the servings

  • Victoria

    My mother-in-law wore white to my wedding… the NERVE of this woman continues to astound me. Thankfully my husband is an absolute darling and definitely worth all the misery she brings.
    Whoever you are, the no white rule applies. Even if you think the couple getting married are fairly lax. DO NOT DO IT.

  • Kay

    What if the bride isn’t wearing white? What is the ettiquite for such a situation? What if you end up wearing the same color (say it is red) as the bride because you didn’t know she would not wear white. Total nightmare!

    • Alisa B

      She probably doesn’t mind then if she’s not going for traditional white.

    • Mia

      The Bride then should state it the dress code to not wear that certain color. I went to an Indian/American wedding wear the guest were ask to only wear black and white so that the Bride’s red dress stood out.

    • Miss Kelly

      Dont wear white, red or black regardless of what the bride is wearing

      • Lizzy Lou

        Etiquette says you CAN wear black, white, or red as long as the fabric and cut isn’t bridal looking. Look it up.

  • Ana Pierce

    This is a great list! I wrote a list of tips on how to be a good wedding date here:

  • Grace

    This such an informative and unique post! I don’t think I’ve ever seen any other blogger write about this topic :)

  • Kinsey

    Most of these I have had to learn the hard way and I think that transitioning from an adolescent to an adult there are so many things that you are totally clueless about and wedding etiquette is a big one!

  • Annie

    I really feel the “Do not wear white” is an important reminder – I find it very discourteous when somewhere wears something even “off white”.

    With regards to the “iPhone photographer” – I completely agree! Its hard to enjoy the moment when you are seeing it through your camera screen!

    Annie @

  • Ashley

    If invitations say, adult reception don’t call the bride a few weeks before the wedding and ask to bring your Very young children because you have no babysitter. Rsvp no or try and find a reliable sitter….. believe it or not I have 3 people do this to me.!.!

    • Elizabeth

      I have a friend dealing with the same issue. She’s been trying to spin it as a night off for the parents to enjoy themselves, especially since its an open bar, but there’s been a few people refusing to come if they can’t bring their children.

    • Karla

      I agree!! I want adults only and my mom is tryin to tell me to be a little considerate of ppl w/ kids. She told me, some are kind of old enough and others are out of town family. But my fiancé says, that’s the guests problem, not ours. Funny how everyone tries to take over and think it’s ok to do what they want to please everyone else.

  • Joules

    Great guidelines–particularly the RSVP deadline! So stressful when people don’t follow that one…

    Style by Joules

  • Susie

    I never considered shipping big gifts! It would be such a hassle for B+G to have to get that all home! Woopseys – will remember for future.

    Susie | june lorraine

  • Liz

    To add to the iPhone Photographer: stay out of the paid photographers way. :)

    • Jessica

      I have a passion for photography and at my friends recent wedding I took almost or just over 1,000 pictures. It wasn’t hard, and I was still “in the moment” and respectful. I not only took a lot of good shots, but saw a lot of shots their photographer seemed to miss. The bride told me I took more pictures than their professional photographer, granted not all of mine were good shots, and I was never in the paid photographers way, but sometimes it bothers me when paid photographers don’t get the pictures I wish I could.

      • Michelle

        Well, then you should look into second shooting for professional photographers! If you feel like you love it that much and are disappointed when you think the professional is not getting the right shots, then why not!? Second shooting is a ton of fun and much less stress w/o having to edit, etc. I am a professional wedding photographer and it is extremely disrespectful at times when other guests take pictures throughout. Although, I would pride myself on getting all the good ones. It’s a really long and difficult day to shoot for 8-10 hours, and if it’s just one Lead Photographer it is even more pressure to catch everything. While it is a blast, it is also very exhausting. Last wedding I shot I had an older gentleman taking shots with a basic DSLR and I simply and directly approached him and introduced myself as Lead Photographer, and I had no problem with him taking pics but I would be letting him know if I needed him to move or not. It’s the photographer’s job to be sure they are clear with the shooting guests. Taking your own shots at a wedding IS how you learn, HOWEVER, having to ask people to move constantly, or a guest standing in an area to catch the ‘best shot’ will partially be a reason the actual professional can’t get to that shot themselves. As well intentioned as you may be, they chose that photographer for a reason, and it is actually rude to bring a professional camera and shoot all day. My genuine advice is to look into being a second shooter and then it will be your job to catch whatever the lead photographer is missing! Plus you get to party with people who are having the time of their lives, AND you might get paid. 😉 Best wishes!

  • Lenae

    Never been a bride, but it’s my second MOH gig and for BRIDESMAIDS: please try to consider the feelings of the bride on this day. Every wedding I’ve ever been in, the bride has been super over the top concerned about picking outfit/jewelry/dresses that everyone would be able to afford easily or already own. It seems to be very trendy these days to pick simply a colour and not a style or brand of dress and maybe one colour shoe. In this wedding, a bridesmaid STILL picked something different (i.e. she said nude shoes with gold accessories and one girl wore a SILVER belt, necklace and shoes).
    Don’t make the bride confront you (she didn’t, she just went with it).

    Also, keep in mind these pictures are going to last a lifetime (and probably cost a fortune), so make your best effort to look as nice for the day as you can for your good friend. Sometimes, I’ve seen bridesmaids act as if it’s their last thought. One wedding I was in the bride let us pick any style pink dress. My good friend picked a dress, didn’t try it on until the weekend before the wedding and couldn’t find an appropriate bra in time to fit the dress and her chest. We ended up fixing some makeshift it every few minutes between pictures. No one asked her to spend a fortune on anything, but just to think ahead to buy a dress she could wear with her chest.

  • Sayraht

    Oy! Can we pleas STOP perpetuating the myth about NOT wearing white? It’s actually NOT against etiquette rules. And had you even done the slightest bit of googling wedding etiquette at the LEAST you would know better than to continue to spread misinformation. And all you ladies below complaint about people wearing white, best read up on your wedding etiquette too girls. Cause you are wrong. Want a source? How about Huffington post and Martha Stuart?

    • Constant wedding guest

      Ummmm both sources suggest that you don’t-and it will depend on when the etiquette book was written. White for brides wasn’t popular until Queen Victoria chose a white dress. Once white became the fashion so did the tradition that guests avoid it (it’s also considered unlucky for the marriage if you wear green or black-the colours of mourning). Rules have relaxed and now it’s just seen as a way of trying to steal the brides thunder. It’s up to the guest to judge the mood of the wedding and the couple in question but I would recommend you err in the side of caution. I once knew an older single girl given free reign on her bridesmaid dress at her younger sisters wedding. She chose a long white dress. It’s still all anyone remembers-and not in a good way.

    • Tara Taitt

      It’s Huffington Post via Martha *Stewart Weddings, so it’s actually just one source and they’re adamantly against it. (See link below, but maybe read all the words this time) Go ahead, wear a white dress to someone else’s wedding. Bring your etiquette book to prove everyone wrong. See if they still think you’re an a-hole. Good luck!

      • ShabbyRoses

        LMAO!!! “Bring your etiquette book” – VERY well said Ms. Tara!!! :)

  • Susan

    Don’t stay at a nicer hotel than the bride & groom. I always stay at the same hotel as the wedding party or another hotel with an equivalent star level.

    • Mia

      Why not?

  • Elizabeth

    I must add that aside from not dressing inappropriately for the occasion if you do bring a date make sure they are fully aware of wedding attire etiquette as well. My (thankfully now ex) mother in law wore a cream colored prom dress to my wedding and to make matters more interesting her boyfriend/date wore a Hawaiian shirt and sandals, talk about awkward wedding photos.

  • Emily

    I always make sure to ask the Bride and Grooms permission before I post any photos on Facebook or Instagram. A lot of couples would prefer to have the professional photos to be seen first, so then peoples first glance at their wedding isn’t a bunch of unflattering shots!

    • ShabbyRoses

      That is a CLASSY thing to do!! :)

      • Sherri


  • Guest

    Ohmy, such fuss about weddings. So much rules and etiquette stuff. Here in the Netherlands we are not so drama-like when it comes about weddings. We are happy with the company that comes and we don’t care so much about who’s wearing what etc. Be happy with the smaller things and everyone will have a great time, and they will remember the day forever.

    • I

      That is so not true for me. I agree with this article 100%

  • Tracy

    This etiquette guide is really useful!

  • Sarah

    I completely agree with the no white rule, at a fiends wedding the theme was black and white and there were at least 5 women in white white dresses! It is so disrespectful, there are hundreds of other colours a guest can wear for one day. I think that people who wear white to a wedding are jealous and want to upstage the bride.
    Also I am a big believer in being respectful of the setting. I hate to see short skirts and dresses at a formal event, try and keep it around the knee length or just above! Especialy in a church or other place of worship! Casual dress code does not mean jeans EVER! I have no hesitation in stating on my invites no white and I think that I will also ask guests not to post pics onto social media until I say so i.e after the honeymoon and the couple have seen their professional photos. I have seen so many bad and unflattering photos of the wedding party/ bride due to people just clicking away with their phones, and I certainly don’t want that on the day you want to feel and look your best!

    Also do not be offended if you are not given a plus one! Weddings are expensive and the couple have not done it to be impolite. So do not ask for one! In the UK it is unusual to gave a free bar and a cash bar us expected. Of course wine etc us served fir dinner and champagne for toasts!

    • Jess

      So the theme was ‘Black and White’ and guests actually turned up in white?! Shocker. lol

  • Sarah

    I also took a wee nite out if the etiquette series on the website and sent all my friends a hand written nite on cards that I found ( like postcards) that were very ‘them ‘ after their weddings to say thank you and how much I appreciated the invite and what fun we had! This was very much appreciated and was a wee nice touch to come back from your honeymoon to! X

  • Sue

    I agree with Amanda. I was married in June and so many people decided to add additional people. If their name is not listed on the invite, they are not invited! If you attend the wedding, it is your responsibility to congratulate the bride and groom at their wedding. We had many guests who came to the wedding, ate and drank for free, and didn’t even give us a card to tell us congratulations. Tacky!

    • Julie

      I didn’t get my friends a card, but took pictures with them, quick congrats, and sent them $80 in gifts in the mail.

  • Ashley

    You weren’t kidding when you said this month would be filled with wedding posts! I agree with these ideas.

  • Siham Hamdan

    Nothing worse than the iPhone paparazzo omg. That, and girls who wear almost white dresses like super pale beige and use that as an excuse of not wearing white looool. X

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  • Katelin

    At my wedding, I chose to only have assign seating for the head table which included my bridesmaids/groomsmen. I regret doing this because I ended up having their spouses and children sitting at my head table and some I did not know very well and it felt very weird when my mother and father had to sit at the “moms” table. If you are wanting to do a head table just remember these people have a spouse and you can’t say no to a spouse…boyfriend or girlfriends you can say No to. If you don’t know them well, totally forgo the whole idea! I actually told one of my bridesmaids she couldn’t bring a “guest” that would sit at my table because I did not know them at all and she understood, so just be honest!

    • Gleasonas

      We have opted to have the head table be for ONLY the bridal party but we have a small table off to the side for our bridal party guests.

  • Emily

    If there is a dress code – research it and dress appropriately. I went to a “formal” wedding and was one of only two female guests apart from the bridal party who stuck to the dress code. The rest were wearing more casual dresses – and a lot of them were really short. Including the groom’s mother. Not a good look, and really detracted from the look and feel the B + G were after. It’s quite disappointing when you go to the effort of following a dress code and no one else does.

    • Miss Kelly

      I definitely agree to no dresses above the knee. Its tacky. I will be so tight on this

  • Laurel Loves

    Great tips, so important to be mindful of the couple and family’s feelings as it can be a pretty intense time. Stick to these tips and you will be fine! :)

  • Audrey

    These are great tips! I’m going to a wedding later this year so I appreciate the info :)

  • Kelby, PeachyPains

    and a white dress with black polka dots counts as a white dress. one of my friends did that to me on MY wedding day. It hurt my feelings to no end.


  • silver collie

    What about leaving out the brides mother’s only sister when her father’s only sister and her spouse are invited. Said brides aunt relegated to the evening ‘do’! Is this correct?

  • Jenn

    The Bride and Groom are primary, but they need to relax as well. People can ruin their special day by being too caught up in the details and what everyone else better do! The more chill I was the happier I was. My wedding planner wore white to my wedding and I honestly did not care. In fact I didn’t even notice. Someone else told me. And I was like so. . She looked good! I loved her! She did a great job!

  • Katie Albury

    This is great…from experience as the bride- don’t flirt with the bride on her wedding day (majorly awkward), don’t take other guests drinks vouchers and don’t even attempt to draw doodles on the giant photograph of the bride and groom which was intended for guests to sign…!! Ha- can you tell I shouldn’t have invited some of my brothers friends to my wedding?!
    Katie x

  • golfgal90

    In my experience, and I believe tradition states that, the time listed on the invitation is the time the bride will be walking down the aisle. Plan to arrive well before that!!!

  • Steph

    I agree with not wearing white to the wedding. My future mother in law is wearing a white dress with a small, beaded train. She does not see the issue if am having with this dress.

  • Miss Kelly

    You shouldn’t wear red (traditionally seen as a whore) or black either (mourning). Not hard at all, just dont wear those three colours and you will avoid offending. If anyone had an issue then I would buy them a dress and deal with it. So many people try to take the day away from the couple I know I’ll be a bridezilla if people go against me. It’s just bad manners really. Respect the couple’s wishes or don’t attend, simple

  • Anon

    Don’t take it upon yourself to invite more guests without asking the couple! Especially when you’re not paying for anything.

  • Guest

    Wearing white can be a poor choice but I believe trying to match the wedding party is far worse. A relative of mine had a dress made to match the bridesmaid’s without the bride’s knowledge. Weddings are not the place to showchase your jealousy or anger over being left out!

    • ShabbyRoses

      That’s a very good point – VERY good point…

    • Annikka

      I awkwardly showed up in a dress almost the same colour as the bridesmaids and similar style too. To the point that when I bumped into one of the grooms men he asked why I wasn’t at the photo shoot haha so so so awkward.

      Only different was mine was a $30 dress from H&M so not nearly as structured and beautiful as the actual bridesmaids’ dresses!

  • sunnycharlie005

    What are your thoughts on a dress that has white in it? My 12-year-old sister is planning on wearing a teal and white striped dress to my older sister’s wedding. My grandma was appalled at the idea.

  • Cory

    Also, please don’t ask the bride or groom-to-be

  • Jess

    The white rule is SO outdated it’s ridiculous. I could care less if someone wore a white dress to my wedding. Pretty sure it’s fairly obvious who the bride is.

  • AoifeIreland

    Just wondering what are the extra rules if your someone’s date to a wedding, especially if your dating a close family member to the groom/bride??

  • Melissa

    No Kids

  • Trinity Lewis

    I see so many people upset about uninvited guests, and I would never advocate bringing your kids or uninvited family members to a wedding where they are not really expected, however, I actually think it is kind of rude to invite adults without a guest (like real grown ups not college aged kids). For real, I think weddings are tricky and of course the day is about the couple, but the couple should be sensitive to how uncomfortable it might be to attend such an event alone. No one questions inviting a friend AND her husband (that no one might even be close with) but another woman must attend alone because she is not in a settled relationship? Maybe be more selective about guests instead of stretching and then being so upset that adults don’t want to attend alone just because they aren’t married. It’s all about being thoughtful on both sides.

  • Aggravated beyond belief

    loved your first rule about mailing back the RSVP. in a timely manner. At my wedding, I had several friends that misplaced the invite or didn’t bother to RSVP. It was awful for me. My mother had to call these friends and find out if they had any intention of attending my wedding. The invitations were expensive as well. How could my friends just disregard the invitation? The invitation included a self addressed stamped envelope as well.

  • sactogrl

    You forgot the time tested rule about bringing a guest, your children etc. So many people dont understand what the envelope addressed to them conveys…. ” Mary And Guest, or Mary And Family or Mary and John” vs. just “Mary”. Many automatically assume if they are invited so is their entire brood, their neighbor, their friend b/c they don’t want to go alone…. etc etc.
    On the flip side, I think it is appropriate bride and groom etiquette to invite all people “with guest” whether their single or not. Hopefully your friend is smart enough to not bring a random person to your wedding.

  • Kelly

    Lauren!! Im a Male Sissy getting Married to a Male. Does that Matter???

  • Ansley

    I have a bridesmaid who keeps emailing me exactly how much money she has spent on plane tickets, hotel, and outfits for my wedding and bachelorette party. I understand that weddings are expensive and I did my best to try and keep the cost for the wedding party low. She seems to forget that I recently dropped over a grand for her destination wedding and if she hadn’t been married I would have paid for any future wedding. I think major etiquette would be don’t complain to the bride and groom about how much their wedding costs, because chances are they have or they will probably spend that amount of money on your nuptials. If it’s really a problem, respectfully decline being a part of the wedding party and offer to help with something else on the big day.

  • carer

    The bride can easily make this decision when she refers to an online
    wedding catalog. The catalog can have a large base of good dresses from
    which she can choose from. The dress can be white,
    ivory and other color. The design of the dress can also be easily
    customized when the bride goes online since there is an easy to design
    service found online.robes de mariage pas cher

  • Sam

    i was invited to be a friend’s plus one to a wedding where i didn’t know the B&G. i tried to explain to my friend that it wasn’t appropriate that I go, but she begged and cried about it. She wore a black and white polka dot short dress (against my advice) and spent the whole night trying to spend time with the bride and taking pictures. I was completely embarrassed. It was very apparent that the bride didn’t want her there in the first place.
    With that being said, DO NOT INVITE YOURSELF. With everything being on Facebook if you do not receive an invitation DO NOT message them on Facebook giving them your address saying you didn’t get one. I don’t care if you have known the bride or groom since grade school. There is a reason you didn’t get an invitation.

  • Amy

    Does anyone have creative ideas for asking wedding guests ahead of time NOT to be iphone photographers? Maybe put it in a program? I think it’s so weird (and kind of rude) when wedding guests post photos of the bride & groom on facebook before the night is even over! Really, can’t you just enjoy the wedding and let the bride & groom share with the rest of the planet on their own time?

    • ticker212

      We are posting a sign near the entrance to the chapel that says something to the effect of we are so glad that they are here to share this moment with us, and for that reason, we ask that they be in the moment with us, so please turn off your phones, and refrain from taking photos till after our first kiss. We’ve hired a professional photographer to capture all of this so you don’t have to, and we will gladly share the photos after we get them back.

      • Amy

        That’s a great idea! Thanks!

  • Cdsgoddess

    Please add the rules of wishing the Bride “Best Wishes” and the Groom ” Congratulations” it seems like the younger generation has never learned some of the basic rules. “congratulations on snagging a man” is considered inappropriate while you give the Bride your “Best Wishes for her happiness” you do congratulate the Groom for snagging such a lovely Bride.

  • Margaret Elward

    Is it good etiquette to invite the fiancé, of someone, if they have been engaged a long time?

    • ohnonononono

      If you know the fiance, yes.

      If you’ve never met the fiance? Not necessarily a requirement.

  • Seriously?

    Don’t plan on renewing your vowels at a friends destination wedding immediately after their ceremony. Oh, along with informing the bride that you will be wearing a wedding dress as well so she’s going to have ” a little competition for the spot light”



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