10 Wedding Etiquette Rules All Guests Should Remember

Yes, we live in an age where we can bend a lot of the old wedding traditions our parents and grandparents grew up with. But that doesn’t mean that we can completely do whatever we please. Weddings are usually still big formal events that uphold certain etiquette rules everyone (regardless of their age) should stick to. So if you’re looking for some wedding guest do’s and don’ts, or just want to brush up on some etiquette, then keep on reading!

10 Wedding Etiquette Rules All Guests Should Remember


On RSVP-ing: Do it ASAP!

Every couple has had at least that one guest who didn’t RSVP, and let me tell you that it can completely mess up everything from the catering to the souvenirs. Just imagine if you were in the couple’s shoes. You’d want your guests to RSVP ASAP too, right? So as soon as you know your schedule, RSVP following the instructions in the invitation.


On Backing Out: Only if you really really have to.

Let’s say that you already RSVP-ed to a wedding but are invited to another friend’s wedding. Can you back out? The short answer: No. The only acceptable reasons for backing out of a wedding you already RSVP-ed to are if you are really really sick, or if there’s a death in the family. I mean, you already said you were going, you might as well stick to your guns, right?


On Plus Ones: Unless specified, don't assume you can bring a plus one.

I get it, it’s tough going to a wedding where you don’t know anyone and you’re single. But unless it’s specified in the invitation that you can bring one, that usually means that you can’t. But hey cheer up, there’ll be plenty of people you can socialize with, and I’m sure there’ll be at least one person who’ll be familiar to you. Plus, you can always spend time with the couple too!


On Gifts: It's always better to give a gift (from the registry).

There’s one rule that our mothers and grandmothers still abide by, and that’s never go to a party empty-handed. We totally agree! And in this particular case, it’s always better to get something from their registry. It definitely makes it easier on your end, and you’ll know for sure that the couple will appreciate it. Even if you can’t go to the wedding but are invited, it’s still considered good manners to send the couple a gift.


On the Dress Code: Always follow the guidelines given by the couple.

Two things to keep in mind. The first is that it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed at a wedding. Just because an invitation might say smart casual, doesn’t mean that you can come in jeans and sneakers. Usually, couples will provide dress codes or guidelines for what to wear, and it’s always best to stick to what they’ve given. You don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb, right? Which brings us to the second thing to keep in mind: Unless specified in the dress code, don’t wear white. White is usually only reserved for the bride on her special day, and you really wouldn’t want to overshadow her by wearing a white outfit too.


On Being on Time: 20-30 minutes before the given time is perfect.

It is considered the gravest of offences if you arrive late to a wedding. Not only will you be disturbing the sanctity of the ceremony, but you’ll also be attracting attention to yourself when you enter the church or venue. And besides, you’ll miss the bride’s entrance if you arrive late! Just because Filipinos are notorious for being late, doesn’t give you an excuse to come a few minutes later. Nope, get to the venue a good 20-30 minutes before the specified time, and the couple will thank you for it later.


On Phones: Remember to put your phone on silent.

You know how when you’re in a movie theatre and you forget to put your phone on silent, and it rings? And then people give you all these glares? Well, it’s even more important to put your phone on silent when attending a wedding than it is when watching a movie. Again, you’ll be distracting the couple and their guests from the ceremony, and it’ll ruin the vibe too. So don’t be a mood killer, and always remember to put your phone on silent.


On Taking Photos: It's okay, but don't get in the photographer's way.

Unless the couple specifies that they’ll be having an unplugged wedding, then it’s perfectly fine to take photos. We all know that photo taking is an essential part of being a wedding guest after all. However (yes, there is a but!), try not to get in the photographer’s way. The couple have paid the photographer to capture the best moments of their big day, and nobody wants a photobomber! So if you see the photographer in your line of sight, walk the other way. Don’t worry, you’ll have your turn in front of the camera!


On Posting Photos on Social Media: Wait for the go signal from the couple.

Now that we’ve established that photo taking is completely okay, you still have to wait before posting on social media. It’s only polite since the photos of the bride and groom will be posted all over the internet. Usually, a host will announce the couple’s hashtag and invite you to post your photos on social media. Once you hear that announcement (usually during the reception) then you can start posting to your heart’s content.


On Partying: Have a good time, but not too good a time.

It is every couple’s worst nightmare that their guests don’t enjoy their wedding, so don’t forget to have a good time and party it up. Participate in the games, have a few drinks, and dance the night away. But remember that it’s still a social setting, and there are a lot of people (like titastitoslolaslolos, and kids) that are watching. You’ll still want to put your best foot forward, and that means not getting drunk, and especially not wasted.


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  1. Thank you so much for this good read. As an a MC’s (literal) point of view during the reception, some guests don’t treat it as a social event.

    I have seen guests who arrive just wearing shorts and slippers.

    I think another point to add is how guests behave when dinner time is now announced. Even if the MC did not specify, but when a buffet is served, it would be polite to let the ladies and seniors go ahead.
    Also, guests should be considerate when “topping” of food is done.
    Keep a lid on the amount, you can always go back for seconds.
    Need we say more about leaving immediately after dinner time? THAT alone. Goodness.

    Best regards

  2. You forgot to add that guests should also attend the wedding ceremony—the most important event of the day–not just show up at the reception late. It’s just disappointing to see a deserted church but a jam-packed reception.

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