A Wedding Planner’s Dos and Don’ts For Guests

Aug 29, 2018

Gearing up for a busy wedding season? As temperatures in Texas begin to cool, wedding schedules heat up and gorgeously romantic nuptials fill our weekends. So today, I’m sharing my top Dos and Don’ts for guests to help you navigate wedding season like a pro.

dos and don'ts for guests

DO RESPOND TO THE SAVE THE DATE

While Save The Date’s typically do not request a response, if you’re 100% sure you won’t be able to attend the wedding, it’s polite to let the couple know of your date conflict before they begin working on their invitations. They may still opt to send you a formal invitation {and you should still return your RSVP card declining} but giving them the early notice allows for them to plan their headcount more accurately.

DO FILL OUT AND RETURN THE RSVP PROMPTLY

Typically, couples mail their invitations 8-10 weeks prior to the wedding, and they request replies 2-4 weeks before the big day. Be sure to fill out and mail your response card ASAP! Just because the couple has given you a month to reply, it doesn’t mean you should take the entire month. Don’t give yourself the opportunity to forgot to RSVP!

DO FOLLOW THE REGISTRY

Because more couples are taking advantage of digital registry resources, it is SUPER easy for guests to find and purchase the perfect gift. From traditional gift registries to honeymoon funds to cash reserves for a larger purchase (like their 1st house!) and even charitable donation requests, there are tons of options! Bottom line: if the couple took the time to create it, chances are that they’d much prefer a gift through their registry versus an off-registry item.

DO PLAN YOUR TRANSPORTATION

Check the couple’s wedding website or details card from the invitation to see if they are offering complimentary transportation. If none is offered, plan out your own transportation to & from the venue. Things as simple as carpooling with friends or checking to make sure ride-sharing & taxi services are readily available in the area can really make the difference at the end of the night.

DON’T ARRIVE LATE

What time should you plan to arrive to a 5pm ceremony? (Hint: It’s NOT 5pm!) As a guest, you should plan to arrive 20-30 minutes prior to the ceremony. Weddings are always running on strict timelines, and often, we must start the ceremony on time to stay on-schedule throughout the rest of the day. Don’t be the guest who enters just as the bride is walking down the aisle.

DON’T GET IN THE PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER’S WAY

Above all other tips, if there’s 1 tip you remember from this post, PLEASE remember this. Guests are invited to celebrate the day & the couple’s marriage. Hired pros are there to work the wedding. And we have 1 chance to get it right that day; there are no do-overs.

Photographers have 1 opportunity to capture the perfect shot. Please don’t ruin it by poking out your cell phone during the bridal processional or standing in front of the photographer to snap a pic.

DON’T FORGET TO CHECK THE DRESS CODE

Sometimes couples specify the attire directly on the invitation. Other times, they include attire information on their wedding website. When in doubt, always err on the dressier side. You can never go wrong in a classic little black dress or sharply tailored suit.

DON’T ASSUME YOU CAN BRING A GUEST (AND DON’T ASK TO BRING EXTRAS)

How do you know if you can bring a guest? Rather than making any assumptions, check the envelope your invitation came in:

  • your name = only you are invited
  • you + the name of someone else (like your significant other or child) = you & this person are invited
  • you + the words “and guest” = you & a guest of your choice are invited (Pro Tip: Also, fill out your RSVP with your name & the name of your guest so that the couple knows who you are bringing!)
  • your name + your significant other’s name + the words “and family” = you, your significant other & the children living in your home are invited

Please don’t put your friends or family in an awkward position by asking to bring an additional guest. Choose to be either an honored guest and accept the invitation within the given parameters, or graciously decline and plan to celebrate with the couple another time.

Above all, think about things from the hosts’ perspective. They have graciously invited you to the celebration because you are a valued person in their lives. From the start, treat the wedding as a priority, and you’re almost guaranteed not to cause any issues.

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