12 Ways to Be the Best Wedding Guest Ever

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: The Kitchn)

Wedding season is upon us. While brides and grooms across the country are getting ready for one of the biggest days of their lives, they’re also planning one heck of a party. And it’s on you to be an awesome wedding guest. While you might be thinking, “Me? I’m a great guest!” check yourself against the list below to see if you really make the cut. Better to be safe than blacklisted, right?

1. Don’t ask for a plus one.

If you got your invitation in the mail and it’s addressed to just you (not you and the guy you just started dating a month ago), do not ask if he can come. The couple probably had to juggle a lot of requests from their families and are dealing with a budget. They’d love for you to be there, but are iffy on your new guy who might not stick around. Also, if you’ve got kids and they weren’t mentioned, that means they’re not invited. Don’t put the couple on the spot.

2. Don’t skip the ceremony.

This sounds like a no-brainer, but you won’t believe how many people just show up for the reception. Rude. The whole reason there’s a reception is to celebrate the marriage ceremony you just blew off. Go and be there to witness people you love celebrating their love. If you can’t make it, then RSVP accordingly from the get-go.

3. Don’t bother the couple with silly questions.

So you lost the card with directions? You have a smartphone, don’t you? Not sure what time the ceremony starts? Check the couple’s website, if they have one, or ask a friend or someone at the hotel’s front desk (they probably know!). Our point? Be resourceful! The couple probably doesn’t have time to help you find the nearest drugstore.

4. Be on time!

No one wants the wedding ceremony interrupted by the creaking of a large wooden church door or by someone looking for a seat in the back of a full seating area. Unlike a party, it’s not okay to be fashionably late. It’s sort of a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing that you won’t want to miss. Build in extra time as a cushion if you’re always chronically running late. You can do it!

5. Dress appropriately.

Pay attention to what the invite says. You want to be prepared if it’s black tie or more formal. You definitely don’t want to wear anything that’s too distracting or that feels overly casual. And while the whole don’t-wear-white thing might be outdated, it never hurts to avoid wearing anything that feels too bridal.

6. Be understanding.

If you’re one of three hundred guests, chances are, the couple won’t have time to spend the entire night hanging out with you. They will be making the rounds trying to say hello to everyone, so be compassionate and don’t get annoyed if you don’t get a lot of face time. You can always catch up with them when they’re back from their honeymoon.

7. Remember what you ordered for dinner.

It might not seem like that big of a deal, but it matters when the caterer only has a limited number of entrées for a sit-down dinner and someone has a food allergy or preference. Although there should be extras, you could throw off the numbers if you take something you didn’t order. Think of the next guy and do your best to remember what you checked off months ago. Make a note of it on your phone if you have to.

8. Don’t get drunk and belligerent.

Pretty self-explanatory, so we’ll just leave it at that. Don’t embarrass yourself in front of your friends and their family.

9. Dance!

Even if it’s just to the slow songs. Nothing is a bigger buzzkill than a wedding with an empty dance floor. Go shake it.

10. Take pictures.

And share them. It’s 2017, so the couple probably has some adorably punny hashstag. Take pictures of the couple, your group, and the crafty DIY decorations and share them so that everyone can see.

11. Introduce yourself to people you might not know.

Maybe you’re at a table with people you don’t know? Or standing at the bar next to some strangers? Introduce yourself and make conversation! (Tip: Ask how they know the couple.) Mingling is a good way to keep the reception feeling fun and upbeat.

12. Give a nice gift.

It’s not about how much you spend — it really is the thought that counts here. Whether it’s a nice message in the card or something you know the couple could really use, a little effort goes a long way.

Some Wedding Gift Ideas