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Wedding Etiquette for the guest

Updated on May 18, 2014

You are the guest, try to be considerate.

In this new modern age of technology people love to keep all of their Facebook and Instagram followers up to the minute with where they are and what they are doing. BUT keep a few things in mind:

  • The bride might not want photos of her circulating the internet until she herself has had a chance to look through her wedding photos. The bride will most definitely appreciate you letting her be the first one to share her big day with the world. Once she has shared her wedding photos, then it's fine to post your favorite moments of the evening.
  • NEVER post pictures of people who are intoxicated or making a fool of themselves. You might not realize that the drunk guy who just tripped and landed head first into a speaker is the father of the bride. That also goes along with posting pictures of women who are dressed inappropriate. We have all been tempted to revert back to our teen years when we see someone making a fool of themselves or behaving oddly. Even though you mean no harm it could be humiliating to the bride or the groom if the "messy" guest happens to be a close relative.
  • Unless you are part of the bridal party, steer clear of grabbing the microphone. As close as you might be to the bride or groom, tell them how you feel when they make their way to your table. It isn't that you don't have the best intentions or that your story from the 6th grade isn't hilarious, it's just not good form to insert yourself into the spotlight unless you are asked to speak ahead of time. What you feel is a sincere and from the heart speech might not come across the way you envisioned it and you don't want to spend the rest of the evening with your tail between your legs from embarrassment.

If children are allowed at the wedding show your appreciation by keeping your children in line

I attended a wedding yesterday that was absolutely beautiful, but I noticed a few faux pas that grated my nerves.

It is up to the bride and groom whether they will allow children to attend the reception and if they are gracious enough to put up with some rowdy kids the least you can do in return is give the bride and groom some courtesy by following these simple but important tips:

  • When the DJ calls all the "single" ladies or gentleman onto the dance floor to catch the garter or bouquet- Do not allow your children to partake. It makes for a very uncomfortable situation if your son catches the garter and a woman catches the bouquet. It strips the fun out of an adult tradition and even though nobody says anything when your child screws up the fun; trust me they are thinking you and your kid are crimping their style.
  • Don't allow your child/children to destroy the centerpieces by pulling them apart and ripping beads or accessories off. Those centerpieces as you should well know are very expensive and no bride wants to see her centerpiece destroyed 10 minutes into the reception, it also ruins the professional photographs when one table amidst the rest is torn apart.
  • Keep your child/children away from the cake table, even if they are just looking it makes the bride nervous and you don't want her good time spent worrying that little hands are going to plow over her prized wedding cake. It's best to just keep the children far away from it.
  • If your child/children have had enough and they are tired- it's time to leave, even if you aren't ready to go pack it up and say your good byes! Nothing ruins a great time like children screaming and crying because they are over stimulated and exhausted.


Wedding gift etiquette

When giving a gift to the bride and groom there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • The average cost of a sit down dinner/reception per person is approximately $50.00 per person. If you are giving the couple money keep in mind how many people you RSVP for and make sure to give them enough to cover the cost of having you as a guest. It's not much of a gift to them if you give them less money than it cost them to have you there.
  • If the couple is registered it is always best to buy off the registry if your not giving cash. It guarantee's that your gift will be appreciated and when you go rouge and buy something on your own make sure to include the gift receipt. But in the spirit of saving people from wasting time having to make returns just stick with the registry that way you know you can't go wrong and everyone is a winner!


More misc. tips to help make you the perfect guest!

  • If you plan on drinking, make sure you have a ride home or if the reception is being held at a hotel, rent a room for the night so you can stay put and off the roads!
  • Open bar does not equal you getting wasted. Free does not mean it's open season, remember someone has to pay the tab! While you are getting your free drinks don't forget to tip the bartender, they are not working for love; they are working for money and your tips are all they are getting. Nobody wants to work for free, so be mindful of the people who deserve a tip.
  • Sign the guestbook, no matter how close you are to the bride or groom; they still would like to have your signature to remind them later down the road exactly who they spent their big day with and seeing your name down the road will just remind them what a loyal and wonderful friend they have in you!


Have you ever been to a wedding where children ruined the big day?

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© 2014 Karen Ranoni


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    • Karen Ranoni profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Ranoni 

      5 years ago from Romeo, MI

      You are so very welcome!!! I am very happy that my article gave you some great tips :)

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      5 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Thanks for the tips! My son will be married this Friday, and our grandchildren will be at the reception. I needed to read these things so that I can help the experience to be a positive one for everyone!


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