This social primer is a must pre-nuptial read.
Navigating the nuances of wedding etiquette can be confusing—even for guests. While the bride and groom are dealing with their own set of social conundrums, like an uninvited plus one, attendees can follow a few guidelines to ensure they don’t add any stress—even if by accident—to someone else’s big day. Here, wedding expert and founder of Carats & Cake, Jess Levin, shares her essential tips for wedding guest etiquette.
Arrive late to the ceremony.
“This is an obvious rule that everyone seems to ignore. Do not assume everyone else will be late. Remember that the bride and groom have to take family portraits and group shots after the ceremony, so it is important to be mindful of time.”
Bring a last-minute guest.
“The amount of guests at a wedding is a big ordeal and you never want to add more stress to the couple. Guest lists depend on the type of wedding, the venue, and any added costs. Do not take it upon yourself to bring a guest that has not been accounted for by the RSVP deadline. It is also impolite to ask the bride and groom for an addition past the RSVP date.”
“Traditionally only the bride should wear white, so you should check with the bride before wearing that perfect white dress.”
Switch seats at the reception.
“The seating assignments are planned out in a specific way for a reason. You should never alter your seating arrangements or switch seats at a wedding reception, however it is acceptable to mingle at different tables once dinner has been cleared.”
Make unlimited trips to the buffet.
“The buffet at the reception is not a free for all. Keep in mind that all guests need to be fed, so limiting your trips to buffet is a must.”
Ignore a request to unplug.
“Unplugged weddings are a big trend lately, and a lot of couples are starting to request that guest refrain from taking pictures or using their phones during the ceremony. If you see a sign or request to limit your digital usage try to be respectful of the couple and resist the urge to pull out your phone and snap a few shots."
Get in the photographer's way.
“During the ceremony and any other big picture moments (like the first dance or the cake cutting) make sure you pay attention to where the photographer is, especially if you are trying to take your own picture. Try not to block the professional’s shot with your iPhone.”