A little etiquette advice for our wedding guests

Brides and grooms have expressed some frustrations to me about their wedding guests and I’ve compiled them into a list so that other brides may share this with their guests!

Food Allergy – If you have a food allergy or dietary restriction, please let the bride and groom know in advance!  This allows the caterer to be prepared and the bride and groom to not worry.  I had a wedding where the bride couldn’t enjoy the first 20 minutes of her cocktail hour because two guests informed her of their allergies. The bride was so stressed and came up to me and I had to inform the catering manager who was unsure of the ingredients of the hors d’oeuvres and had to ask the chef in the kitchen! A little advanced notice keeps everyone happy!

Wedding Invitations and rsvp – It’s proper etiquette to respond in a timeline manner.  And, if you reply with “yes”, please show up!  Unless you are dying or seriously ill, you have no excuse. It is impolite.  They have given the count to their caterer and will be paying 100++ whether or not you show up!

If the invitation wasn’t extended to your boyfriend of a week, please do not impose.  Weddings are expensive and they are not required to add “plus 1” for every invite they send out.   If you’re in a serious relationship, engaged, or married, an invitation should be extended to your significant other. But my rule is that if it’s not serious, they don’t get an invitation.  It’s not prom.  My single girlfriend showed up to both my sister’s and my own wedding by herself, never complained, and had so much fun. That’s a true friend.

Children at Weddings – This is always a hot topic.  It’s not their fault, but children can be disruptive and some couples are against having children at their weddings.  Please don’t give the couple a guilt trip for not having invited your 3 year old.  Sometimes a nanny or a separate kid’s room is available at the reception but it is an added expense (which I sometimes recommend) and not always feasible.

Wedding gifts – While you are sent a wedding invitation because you are a special person in the bride and groom’s lives, there is still an expectation of a present attached.  If you are sent an invitation, please send a gift whether or not you attend (I’m guilty of this so I’m sorry and it will never happen again!).  And if you say the gift is in the mail, please be sure to put it in the mail!  Empty promises make you look like you’re forgetful and a bad friend!

Alcohol – An open bar makes it a happier occasion but do not get so out of hand that you’re escorted out in a wheelchair. It totally ruins the moment of an elegant occasion.

Attire – Do not upstage the bride and wear white, pale yellow (bright yellow is okay), cream, or anything too lowcut, sexy, or inappropriate to take away the attention from the bride!  It is her day, not yours!  Be a good friend.

What are some other wedding pet peeves that you have?

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  1. Be on time! in a circle of people for whom I often do the wedding flowers, the guests are so notorious for being late that the brides and grooms have thought they would be clever and put the start time a half hour earlier than the actual start time. As a vendor I should have learned my lesson the first time, but it happened again yesterday… everyone was so early that I had an audience as I set up the ceremony flowers (which is highly annoying not to mention makes me look unprofessional through no fault of my own) but I had no choice. The church said I couldnt set up until 3 for a 4pm ceremony, except that the guests had been told 3:30 and many people showed up at 3 and were immediately seated even though they shouldnt have been. This happened last summer at another wedding – the cousin of yesterday’s wedding. The irony is that the weddings both started extremely late from when they planned. The 4pm ceremony guests had told would be at 3:30 didnt start until 4:30 – so some guests had been sitting for 1.5 hours! And as the bride and groom dont pull this on your guests and if you do – tell your vendors!

  2. Don’t complain about ANYTHING to the bride & groom on the wedding day {especially the bride}. They’re stressed enough and are trying to enjoy their day. If there’s something you don’t like, care for, agree with, etc. and you absolutely MUST get it off your chest, please let it all out to the wedding planner. If they don’t have one then talk to someone in the bridal party if you have to but PLEASE don’t go to the bride with anything that isn’t positive. This is their day and they should be able to truly enjoy it without any negative comments.

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