I’ve been to my fair share of weddings now as both the guest and the photographer. And I’ve experienced what wedding guests are like from each perspective. It’s great to come to a wedding and want to enjoy yourself, but you need to be wary of proper etiquette and formalities. That’s why, today I’m sharing some of the best etiquette tips I can give you! A lot of these will probably seem like common sense, but trust me, I’ve seen plenty of guests who are totally unaware that they are toeing the line of disrespect. So if you want to be the greatest wedding guest in history, take my advice…
#1 DON’T STAND BEHIND THE PHOTOGRAPHER AND TAKE PICTURES
I know how exciting it is to see the union of two people you care for so dearly. And I know you want to capture such a beautiful and important day! The most PIVOTAL thing to remember is that when you see the photographer taking family or bridal party portraits, PLEASE (I am begging you!!) do not stand right behind them and take your own pictures. It is not only incredibly rude and how paparazzi act, but it distracts the people in front of the camera so they aren’t sure where to look. I have culled through many images where the bridal party’s or family’s eyeballs are not looking at my camera. There is plenty of other time during the day where you can get your shot, I promise! Better yet, leave your camera at home. You are there to have a good time and enjoy yourself! Let me handle the dirty work.
#2 DO DANCE & PARTICIPATE
Nothing is worse than investing in a nice dance floor and DJ and having no one dance! Be the one who gets the party started when everyone else acts like a wallflower. Also, I know that the bouquet toss and garter throw can be an excruciatingly painful experience, but your participation is important to support the bride & groom as they pass the torch 🙂
#3 DON’T WEAR WHITE. PERIOD.
You are probably going to meet some brides who don’t care about this rule, which is fine — good on ya. I just know that personally, if I saw one of my guests in one of these colors I would wonder what they were thinking. Wearing white is the Bride’s PRIVILEGE. Also, with all of the color options for wedding gowns these days, the bride may decide to wear cream/ivory/blush/etc. I suggest you avoid everything in the off-white family, just in case!
#4 DON’T SHOW UP WITH CHILDREN IF YOU DIDN’T RSVP THEM
Okay, so I absolutely ADORE working with kids at weddings. In fact, at the last wedding I shot, I let one of the flower girls be my helper. She made sure I didn’t fall off of the step-stool and I even let her take a picture of me. They bring so much extra joy to the day. Here is the thing, though… When planning a wedding, the bride & groom need to have an exact headcount so they know how many table settings/chairs they will need and how much food to order. When you show up with a bunch of children who were not included on your RSVP, the numbers get messed up. This may or may not have happened at my wedding. We were already tight on space and suddenly we had to accommodate a bunch of youngins who weren’t on the guest list. If you think there is a chance you won’t be able to get a babysitter, then I say go ahead and RSVP that they are coming. If the bride and groom specifically ask for no children, then that needs to be respected, as well. Heck, let me babysit your kids! We don’t have any of our own yet and I have a lot of nannying experience 🙂
#5 DON’T GET DRUNK OR COMPLAIN WHEN THERE’S NO ALCOHOL
No one likes a drunk, especially at a formal event. They are noisy and smelly and sloppy. If you’re an adult, you should never get to the point where someone else has to take care of you or you have to be escorted out for “causing a scene.” Everything in moderation, my friends. And, if you’re going to complain about why there is no alcohol at a wedding, then maybe you should pay for it. So much of the budget already goes towards feeding the guests and entertaining the guests that providing alcohol can be a financial burden.
#6 DO CELEBRATE
This day is all about celebrating love & joy and you’ve been chosen to be a part of that! What a great honor! Don’t sit there and watch people have a good time. GO — EAT THE CAKE, DRINK THE WINE, AND BE MERRY!