Planning a wedding is hard work, but being a good wedding guest isn’t the easiest thing in the world either. Thankfully, the secrets to being a great wedding guest that aren’t expensive or labor-intensive. Being a good wedding guest doesn’t require fancy outfits or pricey gifts. It has much more to do with common courtesy and a little thoughtfulness. If you want to wow the couple of honor next time you get a wedding invitation, take these tips on how to be a good wedding guest to heart:
1. RSVP on time
When you’re deep in the weeds of wedding planning, there is nothing worse than having to call up guests who don’t RSVP. So when you get invited to a wedding, take the time to respond definitively in a timely manner. Of course, if the couple is using Joy, you can respond right from your phone in mere seconds – so maybe recommend that they create a personalized wedding app and website with Joy to collect online RSVPs, capture guest photos, and make it easy for guests to access all the wedding details any time.
2. Leave uninvited guests at home
Sadly, the saying, “The more the merrier” does not apply to weddings. If your wedding invitation doesn’t include a plus one, or if it indicates that the wedding is child-free, absolutely positively do not assume that the rules don’t apply to you. In general, couples are pretty clear about indicating who you can bring. If you genuinely don’t know if you can bring somebody, reach out and ask the hosts before you respond. Never assume that rules can be broken just for you.
3. Share your excitement
Planning a wedding is really, really exciting. But it’s also really hard, and stressful, and kind of makes you feel like a crazy person. So if you want to make a stressed out bride or groom smile, let them know how happy you are for them and how excited you are for their wedding. A simple note, a card, a text message, or a phone call can go a long way in making the couple smile. Better yet, use Joy and post a photo or message that all the guests can see that shows how you feel – you might just start a preemptory celebration.
4. Dress to impress… or at least appropriately
Another handy piece of information that you’ll find on the invitation, on the couple’s wedding website or on their Joy app is the dress code. Pay attention to that. Don’t be the random dude wearing jeans at a black tie event, or the woman trying to make sand and stilettos work at a beach wedding. Not sure what the dress code means? Check out our guide here.
5. Be on time
Fashionably late works for cocktail parties, but when it comes to weddings, it’s just bad form. Make sure you know exactly where the wedding is being held, how long it will take you to get there (making sure to account for traffic), and give yourself a little buffer time to arrive, park, and find a seat. Don’t be the person who makes everything run late – after all, the couple is probably eager to tie the knot!
6. Respect the photographer
Nobody is a bigger fan of guests snapping pictures at weddings than the team at Joy – we built an entire app dedicated to making it easier to collect and share wedding guest photos! But no matter how good of a photographer you are, you aren’t the professional when you’re a guest at a wedding. The couple probably paid a lot of money to a professional wedding photographer whose work they really love, so don’t get in their way. No blocking the professional photographer, no pulling out your 20-pound DSLR with a zoom lens, no getting out of your seat to catch “the perfect angle,” and not following the pros around while they take family portraits. Be polite, focus on taking pictures with other guests and zooming in on details you love, and then share your photos on Joy for everybody to see.
7. Drink responsibly
There’s nothing wrong with going back for seconds (or thirds) at the open bar, but please, don’t embarrass yourself, your family and friends, and especially the couple getting married. It’s easy to overdo things when champagne flows freely, but remember to take water breaks, and make it a goal to not make a spectacle of yourself. That job is for the groom’s weird uncle.
8. Address dietary restrictions ahead of time
If you follow a vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free or any other special diet, don’t wait until the buffet line opens to go ask the bride what you’re supposed to eat. Ain’t nobody got time for that. If the invitation didn’t have directions for dietary needs, either contact the couple ahead of time to see if they can make accommodations for you, or eat ahead of time and stick a snack in your purse.
9. Keep your opinions to yourself
Everybody has a different idea of the perfect wedding. If you find yourself at a wedding that doesn’t match your aesthetic, or breaks cultural norms or etiquette rules you think everybody should know and follow, don’t make that your smalltalk topic of choice. Ultimately, every wedding is unique, and it’s about the couple getting married, and not about your preferences. Your color commentary about the wedding colors is not needed.
There is nothing sadder than a wedding where nobody is dancing. Even if you have two left feet, if you see an empty space on the dance floor, heed Lady Gaga’s words of wisdom and just dance. Grab your friends and family and boogie oogie oogie. You may feel a little silly at first, but soon enough, you’ll be having a blast, and the couple will love seeing how much fun everybody is having. Go ahead and fill up on some liquid courage if you need the social lubrication, but don’t forget about rule number seven.
11. Share your memories
You came, you clapped, you cried, you drank, you danced – and during it all, you probably took a few pictures. Don’t be a photo Scrooge and keep those memories all to yourself! You can never have too many photos from your wedding day, so be a pal and share (flattering) photos you took during the wedding and reception with the couple. Of course, this is easiest if they use Joy as their wedding app, so you might want to recommend it ahead of time.