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Four Wedding Guest Etiquette Tips

Updated: Jan 11, 2023

Whether you’re attending your first wedding or you’re a seasoned wedding guest, it’s always a good idea to brush up on wedding guest etiquette before your next celebration. No matter how many weddings you’ve attended or have on your horizon, being invited to such a special occasion should always be considered an honor. The happy couple hand-selected you to celebrate with them on undoubtedly one of the most meaningful days of their lives, and it’s important to behave accordingly. Though the primary job of a wedding guest is to show up and enjoy the celebration, there are a few things you should keep in mind if you want to be a gracious guest. Here are a few tried-and-true etiquette tips.

1. RSVP Promptly and Correctly

It’s always so exciting to receive a wedding invitation in the mail! Once you’ve noted the date, place, and time of the wedding, make sure you also take the RSVP cutoff date into account. The RSVP date is there for a reason: it allows the couple ample time to let their venue and vendors know a solid headcount in advance of the big day. It is polite to let the couple know as soon as possible that you are planning to attend or if you, unfortunately, won’t be able to make it so that they can plan accordingly. While looking at your wedding invitation, take careful note of the guests listed on the envelope. The happy couple has likely put a lot of time and consideration into crafting their guest list; therefore, you should never assume that it is okay to RSVP for or bring a guest that was not specifically invited.

2. Follow the Dress Code

Many wedding invitations include details for guests, including the celebration’s dress code. If you can’t find this information on the wedding invitation itself, it may be available on the couple’s wedding website. However, there are a few general rules of thumb you should always follow when attending a wedding. Unless instructed otherwise, try to avoid wearing anything too colorful or flashy that may take attention away from the wedding party, and avoid wearing shades of white or ivory. If you’re still unsure of what to wear, note the time of the celebration. Typically, daytime weddings are more casual, with the attire increasing in formality as you get later in the evening.

3. Arrive Early

When it comes to weddings, being fashionably late is not an option! A good rule of thumb is to show up 30 minutes before the ceremony. Aiming to arrive plenty in advance helps serve as a buffer for any unexpected traffic delays and allows you time to find a seat. If you cannot arrive 30 minutes in advance, you should show up no less than 10 minutes before the ceremony begins. Should you arrive after the ceremony begins, it’s wise to try to find a seat near the back soon after the wedding party is lined up at the altar.

4. Keep Electronics Silenced and Stay Present

The last thing you’d want is to be the guest whose cell phone starts ringing as soon as the couple begins reciting their vows. Of course, it’s almost always in your best interest to completely power down your phone as soon as you walk into a ceremony, but at the very least, you should double-check to ensure that you have it on silent mode. It’s also wise to leave your phone tucked away, even if you’re just hoping to snap a few photos of your own. Most couples hire a photographer to capture beautiful images of their ceremony, so none of their professional photos have cellphones in the background or forefront. Also, on such a special occasion, it’s polite to avoid looking at your phone too often and to instead be fully present. Speaking of being present, one of the best things you can do as a gracious guest is to be engaged and interested in everything happening during the celebration and have a wonderful time! Since couples put so much work into ensuring their guests enjoy their time, your goal for every wedding you attend should be to ensure the newlyweds feel loved, appreciated, and celebrated during such a momentous occasion.

Red Gate Farms

At Red Gate Farms, we take great pride in being the beautiful backdrop to couples’ most special wedding days. Our naturally stunning and historic property is home to three charming and unique venues, perfect for events both small and large. If you’re interested in seeing how Red Gate Farms can bring your dream wedding to life, contact us today to learn more and schedule a tour of our gorgeous grounds!

All Photos Courtesy of Elle Michelle Photography


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