Understanding Proper Wedding Etiquette for Guests

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Wedding Etiquette for GuestsOne of the more common questions we receive here at 1motherofthebride.com relates to wedding etiquette for guests.  It doesn’t matter if you’re the mother of the bride, mother of the groom, a grandmother or a friend, there are certain expectations about how you ought to act at a wedding.

Thus, I thought I’d put together a bit of a cheat sheet for wedding guest etiquette.  Although most if not all of these suggestions are common sense, it certainly doesn’t hurt to remind yourself of the proper rules of wedding etiquette beforehand.

Proper wedding guest etiquette actually begins well before the ceremony itself.  First and foremost, when you receive the invitation always RSVP in a prompt manner.  Do not keep the bride and groom hanging, as they need a relatively accurate count of who will be attending in order to finalize all of the wedding planning.  Therefore the sooner you respond, the better off the couple will be.  If you cannot come to the wedding, remember that wedding etiquette for guests dictates that you still send a wedding gift.

Additionally, be aware that you are not automatically entitled to bring a guest.  In fact, you should not bring a guest unless this is specifically mentioned within the wedding invitation.  Also, avoid taking pictures while the ceremony is happening, as this is considered rude.  Also, be on time – in fact, arrive at least 15 minutes early.  And finally, perhaps most obvious of all, take it easy on the partying.  Simply put, you can have fun without getting stumbling drunk.  Don’t embarrass yourself – or the happy couple.

As you can see, wedding etiquette for guests really boils down to common sense.  A lot of it comes down to the Golden Rule – treat others as you would like to be treated.

Any invitation you receive to a wedding is a privilege, and should be treated as such.  The bottom line: always show your appreciation and honor the happy couple by following these common sense rules for wedding guest etiquette. 

Good luck and have fun!


  1. I knew nothing about wedding etiquette before I found your site, and thankfully this really answers my problem! This is the best mother of the bride website I’ve found and I just wanted to say ‘thanks.”

  2. Beverly says:

    It’s always an appropriate time to consider wedding etiquette if you have been invited to participate in someone’s big day. Make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. That’s what it’s all about, right?

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