How to be a good wedding guest

April 15, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Wedding guest etiquette. What's appropriate and what's not when attending someone else's big day.

Spring has sprung and wedding season is here. It's the time of year when you're likely to receive some invitations. So how can you be a good wedding guest?

Wedding guest etiquette tips from event planner Alicia Falango:

1. Don't be late to the ceremony. If you are, enter through a side entrance, after the wedding party and the bride has already come in.

2. Respect the cultural customs taking place even if they are different from your own; for example, stand when everyone stands, sit when everyone sits.

3. Don't use flash photography during the ceremony. It can interrupt the ceremony and interfere with the professional photographers.

4. Give a gift with a price point you are comfortable with. Getting something thoughtful is fine even if it is not that expensive.

5. It's ok to use the couple's wedding registry or not; a more personal gift is fine as well. Cash is always fine to give and many couple's prefer that, although they are not really allowed to say that!

6. Whatever your gift is, it is best to send it ahead of time. This makes life easier for the bride and groom at the end of their event.

7. It's not necessary to send a gift ahead of time and bring a card to the wedding; you can send your card along with your gift.

8. For women, usually a cocktail dress is good for an evening wedding, and a short-styled dress or pant suit for a daytime wedding. In spring and summer it's ok to wear light colors to semi-formal weddings, but wear a longer dress in that case. Wear darker colors for formal weddings, and in the fall and winter. Never wear something too revealing, flashy, or promiscuous, Never wear white in any form.

9. For men, "black tie" does not always necessarily require a tuxedo. Men can wear dark, formal, evening style suits to "black tie" events - no loud colors and no linen.

10. You'll know if it's a child-friendly wedding, because the invitation will be addressed to your children as well. If your children are not included in the invitation, that means they are not invited. If children are welcome, sit in the back of the ceremony in case they get upset and you need to make a quick exit. Also bring snacks for children and other items you might need during the event.

11. When you receive your invitation, be sure to RSVP promptly. If you have special dietary restrictions, indicate that on your RSVP card.

12. At the reception, never change seats. Even if you don't like where you are sitting, don't make that change yourself. It can create confusion for the catering staff and others.

13. Don't bring a guest unless your invitation is addressed to you and a guest. It's never ok to ask if you can bring a guest - just take your cue from your invitation. If your invitation does say "and guest" - be thoughtful in your choice of guest. Bring someone you're romantically involved with, but don't just bring a friend.

14. Never assume the centerpieces are to be taken home by the guests. Very often parts of the centerpieces are rental items and the bride and groom will be charged if those pieces are not returned.

15. Be sure not to drink too much alcohol too early in the night - or at all.

16. Never take over the microphone. If you are asked to give a speech keep it as short and sweet as possible.

Links:

Event Planner: Alicia Falango:
www.aliciakdesigns.com

The Merchants Exchange Building:
www.mxbuilding.com

Wedding Etiquette at theknot.com:
www.theknot.com

Emily Post Institute - Tips for Wedding Guests:
www.emilypost.com


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