So your friends are getting hitched, and you’ve been invited to celebrate, woohoo! But you’re worried because you’ve never attended such a swanky event. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Here are our top 10 tips on how to make sure you’re not the standout guest for all the wrong reasons. Here’s our Director’s guide on how to be a good wedding guest, complete with pro-tips for couples to help you circumvent some of these common issues.
Tip #1: Do not bring guests that are not specified in your invitation. Weddings are an expensive endeavor that require many months, sometimes longer, to meticulous plan. With many items being priced on a per-person basis, couples must carefully select whom they want to share their big day with. So, if your invitation says: “Mr. & Mrs. Love,” that means JUST Mr. & Mrs. Love are expected to arrive. Please do not take it upon yourself to invite additional guests.
Pro-tip: Brides and Grooms, please be specific when addressing your invitations. Address the invitation to the people or persons you want to attend. If you are inviting the family, you would say, “Mr. & Mrs. Love and family.” Also, if you plan on having a kid free wedding, you’ll want to make sure you specify that as well!
Tip #2: RSVP. Period. This tip is simple. Suppose you do not take the time to respond to your invitation. In that case, you can not show up to the wedding, expecting to be adequately considered. Again, weddings are a well thought out series of meticulous parts coming together. RSVP-ing ensures that your bride and groom can make a good financial plan with their catering team and other vendors ahead of time. Remember your friend’s wedding isn’t like a cookout; get your rsvp in the mail on time so you can avoid committing this major wedding faux pas.
Pro-tip: Make sure you have the RSVP date listed in several places and offer several avenues for your guests to respond. Be sure to allow at least three weeks before the wedding for your final RSVPs to come in. Most caterers will need your final headcount a minimum of one week from your wedding date. So three weeks will give you a few extra days to reach out to any unresponsive guests.
Tip #3: Arrive on time. The final hour of set up on a wedding day is like running a full marathon. These last few moments are critical and often when those final details are finally coming together. So while you might be anxious to, get the party started, please do not arrive 45 minutes early and get in the way of the event staff who is working hard to put things together. We suggest arriving no more than 15 minutes before the start of the event. This will give you ample time to find parking and find a seat at the ceremony site. As important as it is not to be too early, you also don’t want to be late! Arriving late can be a big distraction given how intimate weddings can be. You don’t want all eyes to be on you instead of the happy couple!
Pro-tip: Consider adding an “arrival time” to your invitations or your wedding website
Tip #4: Keep your opinions to yourself. Your best friend’s wedding is not the time to begin your career in wedding reviews. Your personal preferences are not what’s essential on the couples wedding day. Remember, a lot of time, effort, emotions, and money have gone into planning this wonderful celebration with you as a guest in mind. It would be shameful to bring any amount of negativity to the party.
Pro-tip: Don’t invite “fluff” guests to your wedding. Spend your hard earned money elsewhere and invite only people who are genuinely focused on the real reason for the celebration. Often times fluff = headache.
Tip #5: Respect wedding professionals and their workspace. One of the most common annoyances at weddings is guests phones. We realize that anyone and everyone can be an iPhone photographer in their spare time. However, 9 out of 10 times, the bride & groom have gone to great lengths and spent a considerable amount of money to hire professional photographers. These skilled vendors often make a living off of their work and are expected to deliver photos the couple is thrilled with. The last thing they need are guests making their high stakes job all the more stressful by being in the way. We know you want to get a selfie with the newlyweds, but please don’t interrupt while formal photos are being taken or stand in the middle of the aisle so you can be the first to capture the bride as she makes her way down. Respect the wedding vendors’ time & efforts. The couple will thank you later!
Pro tip: Consider having an “Unplugged Ceremony” sign at the top of your aisle or right as guests come in. Reinforce this (because people will walk right by it) by asking your Officiant to announce this request at the beginning of your ceremony. If you’re an Osprey’s bride, you can contact our office for a gallery of our signs that are available to rent.
Tip #6: Social media with caution. Social media with caution. Weddings are an intimate affair. It’s a special time that the couple wants to share with the guests they have been so thoughtful to invite. Suppose they have specified that they wish to have an unplugged ceremony. In that case, there’s a chance that they may not want their wedding photos posted online without their approval. Many couples prefer to wait for their professional images are finished before they post online. In contrast, others opt for hashtag frames at their wedding, encouraging the tag. Follow the couple’s lead and make sure you aren’t the first to post your intimate day.
Pro-tip: Let your guests know your preference beforehand or make it clear somewhere with signage in your decor. Osprey’s brides, check out our hashtag frame rental option.
Tip #7: Do not over-consume alcohol. While an open bar can be quite enticing, your friend’s wedding is not the time to use that as an opportunity to overindulge in the cocktails. Enjoy the food and as they say, drink responsibly, folks!
Pro-tip: Check with local hotels for discounts or information on shuttles so that your guests don’t have to worry about drinking & driving!
Tip #8: Be attentive. Nothing is more disrespectful than the set of guests talking loudly in the background or taking shots at the bar while the bride dances with her father. More often than not, couples are already feeling intimated by the idea of being the center of attention all day. The best way to show your appreciation is by showing them love and being as engaged as possible throughout the day’s events.
Pro-tip: Keep special dances to a minimum and try to them as early in the event as possible. Guests get hangry and often lose focus as the day goes on. We suggest only doing the bride and groom’s first dance before dinner and saving the rest for after.
Tip #9: Have fun! Dance your heart out, have fun, and cut loose on the dance floor. But remember, this is still someone’s wedding, and Grandma is watching, so keep the dancing classy.
Pro-tip: Together with your DJ decide, ahead of time, whether you will allow guests to make special song requests during your reception or if the playlist will remain closed to.
Tip #10: When the party’s over, go home. Make sure you have your personal belongings and make a prompt exit. Just like the beginning of the event, the end is also a rat race to clean and ensure the venue is left spotless. Event staff cannot effectively finish their closing duties until the building is empty, and the building is secured. Weddings are usually a 10+hr workday for most vendors, so by the end of the event they are ready to head home and get some much needed rest.
Pro-tip: Be mindful of your contracted time; if guests linger, it could add up additional time on your venue rental and result in an unwanted fees. If you know your guests might want to keep the party going, look into a location where you can host your after-party. Be sure to include that information either on your invitation or on your wedding website.
Weddings are the perfect setting for family & friends to reconnect and have a good time. And while our couples are our main priority, you as guests are an extension of the bride & groom, so we care about you too! We are thrilled to have you and hope that you come back from time to time. We are writing love stories together, filling in the blanks as the day unfolds. Let’s all be the most supportive, love exuding, attentive and respectful guests of our mutual people this world has ever seen!