Wedding Etiquette 101

Wedding Etiquette 101- Our top 10 do’s and don’t for wedding guests


  1. RSVP

RSVP literally means “An initialism derived from the French phrase Répondez s’il vous plaît, literally “Reply if you please” or “Please reply”. (credit Wikipedia). This act of RSVP seems to be a lost art these days. Somewhere in the 90’s this common practice of sending your RSVP started going away. The bride and groom need to know if you plan on attending. A variance of 25, 50 or more can make a huge difference in their planning. When it comes to planning for food, wedding cake, chair rentals, etc. These things can really add up. Take the time to mail that RSVP card, make a phone call or however you want to let them know. The couple and their budget will appreciate knowing if you plan on attending or not.


Pay attention to the invitation for attire information. Weddings today can be very informal. We all love a great casual wedding in a rustic barn, but you do not want to show up in jeans if this is a formal event. If you are unsure or it isn’t clear what to wear, just ask. Be respectful of any customs that are important to the bride and groom.

Something that still has to be addressed today, ladies, do not wear a white dress to a wedding. It is not proper etiquette. It’s the bride’s special day so save the white dress for her. Ladies, please keep in mind the length of your dress/skirts. Many great photos have been unusable because the guest dancing, or catching the bouquet with her arms in the air, and they are showing everything. Yes we mean everything!


Appropriate arrival time can be anywhere from 15-30 minutes prior to ceremony time, unless otherwise asked. This does not always apply to out of town guests, as sometimes venues can be difficult to find. Early arrivals of 45 minutes or more can cause a bride unnecessary stress. Arriving early can be stressful for a bride that doesn’t want to be seen prior to the ceremony. This time is usually reserved for finishing up photographs or special moments with family and the bridal party. Please don’t show up late. Yes things happen, life happens, traffic happens, kids happen. If you are one of those people who are usually 10-15 minutes late, make a special effort to be on time. The couple wants you to be a part of the whole experience, not trying to weave in and out of the bridal party as they come down the aisle.


Unless you are the paid photographer, please do not hang out the aisle with your device to take photos. The bride and groom have invested a lot of money into a photographer and/or videographer. Do they love those candid moments that you have taken a picture of? Absolutely. Do they want an obstructed photo of the bride coming down the aisle because you or your device hanging out in the aisle? No. Does this mean you can’t take photos at all? No, not unless they request an unplugged wedding, then by all means please respect that. The photographer/videographer is on their “A” game to capture these moments for the couple. Seriously, its what we love to do.

One more thing to add to this, be mindful of posting cell phone shots to social media sites. The bride and groom often do not get the opportunity to post their own special photo before there are countless photos on Facebook. Some brides and grooms do not care but it is something to keep in mind, they will appreciate you thinking of them first.


We live in a world of constant distractions, that’s just how it is. We are all guilty of it, at least at some point in time. Often time it’s a habit, we ourselves can be guilty too. Most ceremonies last around 15-20 minutes. You were invited to celebrate with them, don’t miss out on these special moments by being distracted. That text, that Facebook status update, it can wait.


Once the floor has been opened up by the DJ, this is the time to let loose! There is a reason that receptions hold some of best moments of the night. A great DJ, some rocking jams and all of your friends on the dance floor is the most fun! Very few other times in your life will you have these moments. You don’t have to be a good dancer or feel awkward if you don’t know all the moves. Just get out there and sing to Whitney or Journey at the top of your lungs! (All you 25 and under, Google the band Journey)


This should be pretty self explanatory, but alas there are always a few. A couple of times a year we see ”these guests”. They either don’t care or don’t realize how much they are drinking. These people could be friends of your family or may be the +1 of your guest. Yes red dress girl, we see you doing the Travolta with yourself in the window.


If you are not in the bridal party, you might not think about this beforehand. Some weddings have just a toast from the best man and maid/matron of honor. However, some weddings have open mic. It’s a good thing to think ahead about what you might want to say to the new couple. If you are asked to speak and afraid you might forget something important, try writing down a few key words to help keep you on track. This is also not the time to tell stories that might cause problems between the bride and groom, or that might not be appropriate for all ages. That story that no one else knows about, might be better left for the after party.


Weddings are a very busy time for everyone,  especially for the bride and groom. They have put a lot of time and effort into every aspect of their day. If you haven’t been married before, wedding days are a whole day affair. More than likely they haven’t eaten a “real meal” all day. If they are sitting down and eating, give them a few minutes to catch their breath and enjoy their meal.

  1. BE A PART

There are many things for wedding guests to enjoy! Sometimes personal touches can often get overlooked. From wedding favors, photo booths with fun props, or even karaoke, there are often many different fun activities to do. Towards the end of the evening there are several traditional things that happen. Guests often miss out on these things if they leave early. The bride and groom have cake cutting, toasts, and the bouquet and garter toss. This is fun to witness even if you’re not a part of.

Did we mention there was cake?

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