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Never been to a wedding before? Not sure how to act or what to do? Don’t sweat it. Here’s everything you need to know about etiquette and how to be the perfect wedding guest.
Respond to the Invitation Promptly
When you do receive that invitation in the mail, don’t look at it and then precariously toss it aside. The next thing you know, it’s a few weeks before the big day and you’ve forgotten to reply. Look over the date to ensure you are available and respond preferably before the RSVP date that is stated. Your attendance is a part of the whole orchestrated event. The couple has to plan seating and catering based on those RSVPs, so the longer you wait to reply, the more frustrating it is for the bride and groom to plan their big day.
Inviting a Plus-One
Never assume you can invite a plus-one. This can also throw a peg into the wheel for the bride and groom. If the option is available for you to bring a date, it will be stated along with the invitation. Remember, weddings are costly events, so not all of them will welcome you to bring a date. The bottom line is that unless the invitation is addressed to you and guest or your significant other, it’s safe to say that you’re going solo.
For the wedding gift, most couples will generally have a registry with one or a few stores where there will be selected items that you can purchase. The beneficial part about this is that you will know what they want, so there’s no need to worry. Alternatively, you can give them money in the form of a cheque. It’s a general rule of thumb to give approximately an amount that would cover your meal and such expenses during the wedding. The average amount tends to lay around $100 per person.
Don’t be late. It’s best to arrive 20 minutes before the ceremony begins so that you don’t end up interrupting anything. Most of all, don’t skip the ceremony and head directly to the reception. You’re there to honour the couple and support them.
For some situations, there will be a receiving line that includes the bride and groom. This is meant for everyone to quickly meet the couple, shake hands and congratulate them, while thanking them for the invite. Following that, it’s time for cocktails and mingling while the wedding party get their photos taken. Thereafter, you’ll be led to your table where you can find your name card. At this point, you can enjoy the meal, partake in dancing, and when in doubt – just follow the lead of others.
Martin Carnahan is a leading wedding officiant in Ottawa who has been providing helpful advice, guidance, and support to brides and grooms since 1988. Get in touch if you are interested in wedding celebrant services!