Wedding: Guest Etiquette

by - Friday, July 24, 2015

Image Source: Pinterest
I have been to a fair few weddings over the years to have now understood the do’s and don’ts. You would be surprised how many people don’t follow the “wedding etiquette” when a guest at a wedding myself included. Whilst I am always thrilled to be invited to a wedding, but I often do worry about what I should wear, how I should act etc. After we forget to realise how much time, effort and money the couple spends on their big day, the least we could do is make sure we follow a couple of ‘rules’ if you can call it that. So here are a few tips that I have learnt along the way as being a guest, and also from doing a little research on the web.

The biggest rule, which you would be surprised that people don’t follow is don’t wear white. Its weird as you would think this is common knowledge, but I have still been to a few weddings where some guests need a little wedding etiquette refresher. I suppose you could probably get away with it you didn’t wear all white but come on, only the bride should wear white. I know that as a Bride to Be, I will be rather peeved if someone turned up wearing a white lace number. 

There are actually some other colours that “experts” say to stay away from when attending a wedding - like black, red, same colour as bridesmaids or their wedding theme, but these aren’t all bad. I agree that you should avoid wearing the same colour dress as the bridesmaids, if you don’t know the colour, you will usually get a guess from their invites (if the invites are within the theme) but this is a hard one to usually determine, so as long as it's not the exact same dress as the bridesmaids (which is highly unlikely) then you should be fine! Sources also recommend staying away from black. Black is always a sophisticated easy option but weddings are a celebration and therefore the perfect opportunity to get dressed up in pretty colourful outfits, although if you are attending the evening celebration only I don't think this rule really applies.

I don’t think this is really a written rule, but it is general etiquette when attending any function is to keep your modesty and by that I mean don’t to wear anything to short or revealing. Come on, would you really want to see too much flesh whilst eating your dinner? No no. Girls, we know the rules either boobs or legs, and then you should be fine.


Weddings are all for having a good time, and there will always be lots of drinks flowing (especially if they have arranged an open bar) but one rule you need to stick too is don’t get too drunk, its okay to get drunk and have a good time, and this goes for the bride and groom too. But don’t be the one to get too sh*t faced that you can’t stand up, end up being sick or violent and causing a scene – this is just a no-no. I know if this happened at my wedding it would make me feel completely embarrassed in front of my family and guests.

Also remember to be polite, and I don’t mean your P’s and Q’s but I mean in terms of food and drinks. The bride and groom have gone to great lengths to try and taste foods for their big day, not only do they pick a dish that they like but they will also try and find suitable options for guests should there be any allergies or intolerances, so when it comes to the day, if you don’t like some of the food just try keep it on the down low and not make a scene that you think the food is “awful” because believe me, having seen this happen first hand before, it’s not very nice as it makes it uncomfortable for other guests and upsetting to the bride and groom (who, in my example happened to see this)


Don’t outshine the bride. This should be a no brainer! After all, the couple have saved and spent a lot of money on their day. So don’t outshine the bride at all on their day. This means no surprise proposals at their wedding (yes, people actually do this!), don’t make any big announcements about yourself that is irrelevant to the couple, family and guests or make the day about you, because to put it bluntly it is not about you. 

Respect the Bride and Grooms wishes, I mean if they say “please do not share photos of our big day on Facebook” then don’t as this is quite a common request these days. Some people like to keep the details of their wedding secret between those who were invited. However it’s okay to take photos of yourself and friends and post them on, but usually by this the couple mean no photo sharing of the bridal party. For example, personally I would like to keep photos off Facebook until we have had our celebration in the UK as we have family and friends that are unable to attend so I would still like them to see my dress etc first hand rather on the web. 

Another example of respecting the bride and grooms wishes is that if they have written a gift list or stated they prefer a cash gift towards their honeymoon, then please respect this. Some couples are traditional and still ask for bits for their new home or even store vouchers to contribute to their 'furniture wish list' or the most common request nowadays is for a contribution towards the newly-weds honeymoon, but remember all gift requests whether products, cash or vouchers are all a suggestion and there is not a specific amount that you must spend and in no way shape or form a mandatory requirement. For example, me and my fiancé are getting married abroad and have asked for a cash gift towards our honeymoon should people want to contribute, so the last thing we would need is guests turning up with pots and pans as although we would be grateful of the gesture, it would be a nightmare for us to bring the gifts home. 

A general rule for the speeches is don’t upset the bride, it’s always lovely for friends and family of the groom to say nice things about the bride but don’t be mean and keep it clean! You don’t want to be embarrass her in front of her new husband, family and friends and you don’t want to insult her by making comments that would be deemed inappropriate, especially for the older guests! Also as a guest, when the speeches are on don’t shout out things, smile, and clap when you are supposed to clap. Yano’ just to keep everyone happy. 

Whether attending involved in a wedding as a bride and groom, family, friends or as part of the bridal party it's still "polite" to try and be courteous on the day. After all, a lot of time, effort and money would have been spent on the day. 

Do you have any etiquette tips that should be followed at weddings?

*Disclaimer: This post has been written for guidance only and is not a list of requirements. Some of the content in this post has been suggested to me for the purpose of my blog in the 'Wedding Series' however I have not received payment to write this post.

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  1. Great post, I think people often overlook common courtesy or simply forget that by expressing any negative opinions unintentionally, they may be offending another person

    1. Hi Ana,

      Thanks for your comment :-)

      Totally agree, it's the little things that are forgotten and that's why I wanted to share this post as it's just as a little guide to remind people.

      Charlotte xo