simple garden wedding ceremony on clear day

Wedding guest etiquette is pretty simple.  It's all about being a conscientious friend and realizing the importance and purpose of this momentous occasion in your loved one's life.  Here are 5 simple rules to being a great wedding guest!

Remember to RSVP.  Make sure that you respond promptly when you receive the wedding invitation.  Some RSVPs involve mailing a return envelope, others an online form.  Whichever way, set aside the time to respond as soon as you can.  Don't show up at a wedding that you haven't RSVP'd for.

Give the bride and/or groom their space.  A wedding is an unusual event in that everything revolves around two people. There are groups that don't know each other that feel equally close to the couple. Even at a birthday party, the guests' lives are usually more interwoven. Recognize the difficulty this puts on the couple and their event schedule by not monopolizing their time and energy. Engage them in a moment of celebratory conversation during the receiving line, but don't expect much more than that.

Arrive on time!  Do not, do not, do not, do not show up to the ceremony late.  Give yourself tons of extra travel time and parking options. Even if you have to sit in your car for half an hour, show up to that venue early!  Remember that the time shown on the invite is the time the event starts, not the time you should arrive.  It's a good rule of thumb, unless otherwise specified, to show up between 20-30 minutes before the wedding begins.

Stay out of the photographer's way.  Yes, your new phone has a sweet camera.  But the couple's photos shouldn't be filled with shots blocked by you holding it up in front of their (very expensive) photographer's lens.  Some couples encourage phone camera use with Instagram hashtags, others have signage stating their preference that you stow your phone.  Respect the couple's wishes either way, but always be aware of the major shots the photographer is aiming to capture and be cognizant of remaining out of the way.

Drink responsibly.  Do not be a cautionary tale.  Don't be that girl that comes up in conversation at all family gatherings thereafter.  Know your limits and partake accordingly. Keeping yourself relatively sober will ensure that you don't break out embarrassing dance moves, sloppily trip into the punch bowl, or tell scandalous stories about the groom to his grandma.  If you do drink too much, make sure to call for a cab and not to argue that "you're fine" to drive, when you clearly aren't.

Photo Credit: Twig & Olive Photography