Wedding Guest Etiquette Tips

Being a wedding guest isn't hard, but a little thought and some etiquette tips can make a couple even happier to have you there to celebrate with them.

Couples spend months planning their weddings – they choose locations, agonize over fonts, ruminate on cake flavors and hors d’oeuvre selections (ok, maybe that last one isn’t so bad). There’s stress, anxiety and sometimes tears, and the last thing a couple wants to worry about is their wedding’s human factor – their guests. So how can a guest make sure that they’re making the process as easy as possible for the betrothed? Read on for etiquette tips for guests, from the invitation to the final send-off.

Invitations and RSVPs

  • Be sure to respond promptly after receiving the invitation, well in advance of the date on the RSVP card. This helps give the couple a final headcount for their vendors well in advance.
  • If you can’t attend the wedding of a couple you know well, be sure to include a personal note in your RSVP. You’d be surprised how many smiles a simple “I’m so sorry I can’t make it, but I wanted to congratulate the two of you. I’m so happy for you!” can inspire in a couple caught up in wedding planning.
  • Once you’ve RSVP’d, book any necessary reservations or tickets. Booking in advance could save you money and will definitely prevent last-minute headaches.
  • If your invitation is addressed solely to you, with no “and guest” on the envelope, RSVP only for yourself.

Buying Gifts

  • Though it’s not obligatory, it’s a nice gesture to send a gift even if you can’t attend the wedding, particularly if you know the couple well.
  • If you are giving a monetary gift instead of purchasing something, send the gift directly to the couple or see if there is an option in their registry to give money or purchase a gift card. Do not bring cash or a check to the wedding, as it may get lost.
  • Gifts should be sent in advance of the wedding when possible. However, guests do have up to a year after the wedding to send a gift to the couple.
  • Do not bring the gift with you to the wedding, unless the registry indicates otherwise. This will avoid the gift getting lost, as well as make sure the couple doesn’t have to transport it after the reception.

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