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Do’s & Don’ts for Wedding Guests

How to Be the Perfect Wedding Guest

Although wedding season is already in full-swing, it seems many will still be attending weddings well into September and October. I know this because I’ve had a lot of our amazing Goodshoppers write in recently to ask about wedding etiquette.

Ironically, my mom was the head of the bridal department at a large, upscale store for over 30 years, so you could say I picked up a thing or two. Here are just a few of the do’s and don’ts she’s filled me in on over the years. Sure, some might be obvious, but it doesn’t hurt to have a few gentle reminders just in case you haven’t been to a wedding in a while.


I put this as number one on the etiquette list because, if you do nothing else right, you MUST do this! It takes months of preparation and lots of deposit money to plan a wedding, and each guest is accounted for. There’s nothing worse for a wedding-stressed couple than to have to track down guests who haven’t sent in their RSVP card.

I suggest not only paying close attention to the deadline, but responding as soon as you can once you’ve received the invitation. That way, it won’t slip your mind and the happy couple will be even happier that one of their guests was kind enough to reply early.

Don’t Assume You Can Bring a Date

We all know weddings can be a huge expense. Additionally, when it comes to the number of guests expected, each and every guest costs a certain amount. And it usually isn’t chump change. So, unless it explicitly says on your invite “and guest,” do NOT bring a date. Oh, and don’t you dare call the bride or groom and ask. Trust me, if it was in their budget, they would’ve put “and guest” on your invite.

Do Buy a Wedding Gift from their Gift Registry

You should not only buy a wedding gift, but definitely buy them something off of their registry! After working with couples and gift registries for over 30 years, my mother has repeatedly pointed out one thing. Brides and grooms have spent a lot of time and effort choosing the items on their registry. And, frankly, they picked the items they want, and will actually use! So, as much as you might love that adorable rowboat serving bowl with a napkin holder sail, if it’s not on their registry, chances are they won’t.

Another tip – be sure to buy your gift off the registry early, when there’s a better selection to choose from. Otherwise, you might find yourself having to spring $250 bucks for that horrific moose head wall hanging the groom managed to sneak onto the registry list!

Don’t Ignore the Dress Code

There are few things more embarrassing than showing up at a wedding under-dressed. Even if the invite says “casual” I suggest women wear a dress, skirt or suit. For men, “casual” usually means nice slacks and a dress shirt, minus the tie and jacket. That being said, if the invite says “shorts n’ sandals,” by all means, wear shorts n’ sandals! Sounds like my kind of wedding, actually. Bottom line, just follow the couple’s guidelines and err on the side of overdressed.

Not sure where to shop for the perfect wedding attire? Check out stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom Rack for plenty of different looks to choose from. Be sure to save using these Saks Fifth Avenue coupons and offers, as well as these coupons, promo codes and deals from Nordstrom Rack.

Do Book a Room Ahead of Time

Unless you want to seriously impose on another guest by asking if you can crash on a roll-away in their room (so not OK), book a room ahead of time. And, don’t kid yourself that you’ll do that 2-hour drive home that night. Let yourself relax and enjoy the evening. It kinda ruins the night when you’re worrying about how late it’s getting or if you’ve had one too many. Be safe, smart and wedding savvy by booking ahead, so you can have fun and not worry about getting stuck.

You can find great deals on Hotels.com and Travelocity.com for places to stay. Plus, you can save a bundle using these Hotels.com coupons, offers and promo codes, or these coupons and offers for Travelocity.com.

Don’t Show up Late

Sure, we all know weddings tend to run late, but that doesn’t mean you should run late. Seriously, the “fashionably late” rule doesn’t apply to weddings, so just don’t do it. In fact, wedding experts suggest planning on being at the ceremony 20 to 30 minutes early. I know, it can be a drag waiting around, but, hey, you never know who you might meet…

So, now that you’ve got the low-down on wedding etiquette, you’re ready to watch the happy couple get hitched. And trust me, they’ll be so anxious throughout the process that having at least one guest follow these simple guidelines will be a huge stress-relief for them. Maybe the bride will even aim the bouquet toss your way…whether you want to run to, or away from it, well, that’s up to you!