Wedding Guest Do’s and Dont’s

December 22, 2022,

Wedding Reception Etiquette Every Guest Should Know

All of your friends are getting married and you have a handful of weddings to attend this coming year and not one clue of what’s expected of you? We’ve got you covered with 6 etiquette tips for wedding receptions that every guest should know (& follow!).

Photo: Collin Pierson Photography

Can I bring someone?
Unless your invitation says “and guest”, don’t assume that you can invite your significant other, best bud or dog. Be considerate of the couple and their planning; most often than not, the wedding day has been set to fit into a budget and guest count is one of the biggest factors. Please don’t put the couple or yourself in the awkward situation of asking if you can bring someone or if an exception can be made.

Photo: Collin Pierson Photography

Where to sit?
When you first walk into the reception, you can feel somewhat like a deer in headlights. There’s a sea of tables and people and you don’t know where you are supposed to sit. Scan the room to see if an escort card table is present or if people are open to taking a seat wherever they please. If there are escort cards, grab the card with your name, take your seat and enjoy the evening!

When to hit the dancefloor?
Everybody wants to jump on the dancefloor, we get it! Be on the lookout for cues from the DJ for when it’s appropriate to get your groove thing on. This typically happens once the couple has had their first dance, and any other special dances or presentations have occurred. You definitely don’t want to be that guest that interrupts an important and emotional dance.

Photo: Amanda Megan Miller

Can I give a speech?
Your friends are married and you want to express your happiness and blessings to them? You don’t need a microphone for that! As a rule, you should only make a toast if you’ve been asked to by the couple. If you have something special to say to the happy couple, pull them aside and tell them. It will mean more to them than announcing it to the entire room.

Can I post on social media?
With the evergrowing obsession with capturing all of life’s moments on social media, it’s understandable that you’d want to Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and Tweet every moment of the wedding. Before you do, scan the room to see if the couple has announced a customized wedding hashtag for you to use. If they have, then that’s a green light for you to start posting! If you’re unsure, then ask someone in the bridal party if it’s ok for you to share their special day on social. During ceremonies, many couples will ask you to put your phones away and enjoy the special moment with them, so do your best to recognize the moment.

When can I sneak out?
Weddings can be an all-day (and sometimes all-night) affair, and we understand if you have to get back to your real life and responsibilities. If you must leave, try to do so gracefully and at appropriate times. Do not leave during speeches! Try to wait until after the cutting of the cake, and grab yourself a slice because it’s good luck! Once the dance floor has opened and the DJ starts playing music, it’s safe to make your exit.

Curious about making an entrance at the wedding? Check out these tips on making a grand entrance from the guest’s point of view!

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