Wedding guest etiquette 101

Amber Misek

It’s finally the couple’s big day. Months of planning and preparation have led up to this, and the last thing anyone wants is for a guest to make a mess of things. Save yourself from embarrassment by following these simple wedding etiquette guidelines.

When the invitation comes in the mail, don’t disregard the RSVP. Generally the invite will have a date by which you should respond. If there is no date, it’s in your best interest to send it back ASAP. Don’t put it off.

According to, a multiplatform wedding resource, it’s best to return the RSVP at least three weeks before the wedding. The event coordinators tailor everything around the number of guests.

By not sending in your reservations there is a chance that both you and your plus one will be without a seat and without a dinner plate. Do not take that chance.

Katie Gieseke, event management office manager at the Memorial Union, said that in order for the reception to go smoothly, the wedding planners need a final headcount at least 10 days in advance. Not notifying the couple of your attendance “puts a lot of stress on the couple,” she said.

Arriving on time is very important. It is polite for guests to find their way to their seats about 10 minutes before the ceremony starts.

“If the wedding starts at 3 [p.m.], be in your seat before then,” Gieseke said. “We’re not going to let you walk down the aisle with the wedding party.”

It is crucial to note that no matter how much you love the couple, you should only give a toast if it is asked of you.

“It’s best to know in advance who is going to say something and in what order; anyone not on the list should check with the couple before making an impromptu speech at the reception,” according to

Traditionally, it is the guests’ role to congratulate the couple by providing a gift. The window of time for this gift giving is generally within a year of the event.

“Chances are if you don’t send something within two months of the wedding date, you’ll forget,” according to

If you are unsure what to get for the happy couple, check their registry and choose something within your budget. If you aren’t able to spend a lot, at least leave a card. This shows you care about the newlyweds and are grateful to be a part of their special day.