1) RESPOND to wedding invitations promptly via the RSVP card. Please mail them back by the “return date.” Always refrain from bringing uninvited guests (including children) unless the invitation allows you to do so. Do not bring someone as a guest that you have not known for at least 4 months. If you do NOT plan to attend, add a personal phone call along with the mailing of the RSVP card. If I cannot attend the reception, I always invite the Bride & Groom over for some drinks to celebrate their nuptials (if we’re truly friends.)
2) DO NOT make dietary requests… unless they have been solicited. Also, do not ask what will be served at the reception. The day of the reception, if you are served something you do not like – suffer silently.
3) LADIES: As a guest, you cannot wear a white dress to the wedding – no exceptions. Also, this is NOT an opportunity to wear (how do I say this delicately?) your most “revealing” outfit. Please, make sure the “girls” (breasts) are in the garage and not parked out front.
FELLAS: Follow the dress code printed on the invitation. If the wedding is a black-tie affair, you should come in a dark tuxedo (black, deep navy or chocolate brown). Also, do not wear a clip-on bow tie and remember – NO SWEAT-SOCKS (wear dress socks.)
4) YOU CANNOT BE LATE! Don’t wait until the last minute to arrive at the ceremony. Whether you are traveling from another state, need to take a short flight, or live around the corner, it is important to leave enough room for unexpected transportation and other errors that threaten your arrival time. You never know when traffic becomes packed, flights are delayed, or you have gotten lost along the way.
5) Do NOT judge the wedding. It isn’t wise to criticize the features or theme of the wedding or reception. A family member or a close friend may overhear and tell on you. On that note: If you do hear someone criticizing the wedding, do NOT let the Bride & Groom know what you heard. What I usually say if I overhear negative comments is “Please try and enjoy yourself and remember that you are a special guest here.” Trust me, it works every time.
6) This is NOT a “hook-up” opportunity. You are there to witness the Bride & Groom get married and partake in their celebration. However, there’s nothing wrong with “meeting” someone (not some people), if you do – have a very brief discussion, maybe even dance, exchange phone numbers, then get back to the business at hand – the reception.
7) You are NOT to be seen utilizing your cell phones, pagers, or any other gadgets. It is discourteous to the Bride & Groom. If you must make calls (or receive them) for emergencies or to check on the kid(s), excuse yourself and leave the area (maybe a rest-room or outdoor area.)
8 ) DO NOT GET INEBRIATED! Just because the bar is free it does not mean “feel free” to get drunk. There’s nothing that ruins a wedding more than an unruly guest who cannot control their alcohol intake. Also, it is what most guests are going to remember about the reception; the fall-down drunk “actin’ a fool!”
9) DO give a gift, even if you can’t attend. I heard that According to the recent annual Lenox Gift-Giving and Etiquette survey, nearly 40 percent of people don’t always send a gift to celebrate a wedding they can’t attend. Sending a gift indicates your support and best wishes for the happy couple who are starting their lives together. Please, get them a few things from their registry, even if you can’t attend.
10) Do engage the people at your table in polite conversation even if you don’t know them. There is nothing worse than having a “silent” table because no one wants to initiate conversation.