9 Wedding Etiquette Rules To Know & Dos And Don’ts To Follow

All it takes to be the perfect wedding guest is to follow the dress code and arrive on time.

Reviewed by Roberta Torresan, Wedding Planner & Designer Roberta Torresan Roberta TorresanWedding Planner & Designer facebook_icontwitter_iconlinkedin_iconyoutube_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MA (English Literature), Certified Relationship Coach Shivani Chandel MA (English Literature), Certified Relationship Coach Experience: 4 years
Edited by , MA (English) Subhrojyoti Mukherjee MA (English) Experience: 4 years
Fact-checked by , BSc Reshma Latif BSc Experience: 5 years

Weddings are all about fun and excitement, but there are certain boundaries that every guest should be aware of. While some wedding etiquette rules have gone out of the window, certain limitations still need to be followed. These rules might sound ordinary, but ignoring them can hurt the host’s feelings and the ceremony.

Wondering what points you should keep in mind? This article lists nine rules of wedding etiquette that you must be well aware of as a guest. Keep reading!

9 Wedding Etiquette Rules To Know

1. Maintain The Dress Code

Maintaining the dress code is an important wedding etiquette rule
Image: Shutterstock

Almost all weddings these days center around themes, and the dress code is generally mentioned in the invitation. Read the wedding card and follow the dress code as stated. If not, play safe by wearing anything dark or completely black.

Avoid wearing white as it is reserved for the bride. Traditional costumes will be appreciated, but do not wear anything that the host’s culture would not approve of. Always dress up nicely as it is part of the respect you hold for the occasion.

2. Always RSVP On Time

Invitations are typically distributed about six to eight weeks before the wedding day. The timeline includes an additional buffer if it is a destination wedding. Most guests already know the date and location after save-the-dates are distributed, but the invitation card is a formal step.

The RSVP helps the couple know whether you can make it or not. They need to work through the seating chart, headcounts for the caterer, and more. Hence, you need to return an RSVP card to acknowledge that you will be attending the ceremony. Do not forget to write your name on the RSVP card to keep things clear for the host. You have to show up anyhow once you commit as it reflects your respect towards the couple.

3. Plus One

The weddings are expensive, and only those whose names are on the envelope are invited. Always read the invitation carefully to understand whether your spouse is invited or not. Some wedding guests believe that they can bring their significant other to the ceremony without informing the couple, which is a faux pas. Check the wording if ‘Plus One’ is mentioned on the envelope before deciding to take your partner along.

4. Wedding Gifts

Never forget to bring a wedding gift
Image: Shutterstock

Bringing a wedding present is mandatory unless the host has specifically asked the guests not to. However, it is not necessary to shell out thousands of dollars on a gift. Use your judgment and give what you feel is appropriate and useful for the couple.

There are no rules revolving around the amount you spend on the gift, and it entirely depends on how close you are to the bride and the groom. Let your affection for the couple and financial circumstances be the deciding factors.

You can also send a wedding gift to the couple’s address if you cannot show up at the ceremony. The host will definitely reply with a note once they receive the gift.

According to the data collected among 1,109 adults, 39% of Americans think cash makes the best wedding gift, and 12% prefer gift cards. Only 33% believe that an item from the wedding registry is the best gift.

5. Arrive Early To The Wedding Ceremony

Guests should arrive at the ceremony early, so they can take in the beautiful decor and settings the couple has been planning for months. They should ideally reach the venue around half an hour before the start time, as mentioned on the envelope.

protip_icon Pro Tip
While showing up on time is important, avoid arriving too early to the ceremony as it can cause awkwardness and stress out the hosts.

However, life is uncertain, and you might get stuck in a situation that makes you unable to reach on time. If that happens, slip into the back row or wait for the coordinator to guide you to the seat.

6. Limit Cell Phone Use

Staying connected with the world in this tech era is a gift. But there are certain times when you should keep the phone away to make others feel valued and respected. Turning your phone to silent at the ceremony is one of the important wedding guest etiquette rules to follow.

Make sure the flash is off if you plan to take photographs, as the couple’s photographer has a consolidated period to capture images. In simple words, limit your gadget use and enjoy the joyful moments. If you have taken photographs, share them with the couple as they will surely appreciate seeing their nuptials through the lens of their beloved guests. Do not post pictures of the couple on social media without their approval.

7. Respect The Seating Chart

Follow the seating chart strictly at weddings
Image: Shutterstock

The couple has invested too much time deciding the seating chart, considering various dynamics. So, respect the arrangement. Do not move the place card or rearrange it at your whim. Take the assigned seat and introduce yourself with a brief overview of how you know the couple once other guests have made their way.

8. Be Present

One of the most important aspects of wedding guest etiquette is to be mentally present and actively engaged while attending the ceremony. Distractions may occur, but keep them away and celebrate the future of the happy couple by actively participating in the activities. Hit the dance floor, greet the couple, interact with their family members, and altogether, enjoy the ceremony.

9. Socialize

If you do not know many people at the wedding, do not let that stop you from socializing with the other guests. But remember to be respectful during the ceremony and interact with them during the reception. You can start by talking to the other guests seated at your table. Introduce yourself to them and learn about their relationship to the couple. When waiting for your drink at the bar, strike up a conversation with the other guests waiting with you in line. Make sure you understand their mood and temperament before talking to them. Sign the guest book, leave your card at the designated spot, and enjoy the evening celebrating the newly-wedded couple.

Respectfulness and gracious manners are what matter to the host at the end of the day. Appreciate the decor, food, and all the preparations made by the couple and celebrate their love.

protip_icon Pro Tip
In weddings, raising a toast is quite common but do not do it without permission as wedding planners and couples have a schedule and sudden changes can disrupt it.

Following the wedding guest etiquette helps you keep your host happy and feel respected. It is now time to enlist the wedding dos and don’ts for the host to maintain the flow of the ceremony. Keep scrolling.

Dos And Don’ts Of Wedding Etiquette

Dos and don'ts of wedding etiquette
Image: Shutterstock


  • Notify your guests of your ‘unplugged desires’ on the wedding website. A small camera or phone icon with a strike through it on the site or invitation card is the best way to do it.
  • Include all essential information on the invitation card to keep things clear.
  • Let your guests know how to dress. Spell out the dress code in your invitation cards to avoid the last-minute hassle.
  • Have fun and enjoy the moments with your loved ones. Do not hurry through anything.

Leah Castellazzo has a fair idea about wedding etiquette and shared her experience in a blog post. She says, “While small details were my fixation, I also approached this event as an experienced hospitality professional who wanted to prioritize the comfort and enjoyment of all the guests attending this event to celebrate us. I felt it was my duty to them to be considerate of their experience on my wedding day — not just focus on my experience. After all, they are traveling from all over to come and celebrate this milestone in my life and will likely offer a gift. I owe it to them to pay close attention to the details of the event that will impact them most. This is the type of wedding etiquette I think some couples lose sight of — and it’s easy to do especially for those who have never planned an event before (i).”


  • Don’t make the guests wait too long to start the party as it makes them feel forgotten. Open the bar and let your guests enjoy the appetizers if everything is at the same venue. Keep the guests occupied with some kind of entertainment if a longer break is unavoidable.
  • According to the wedding shower etiquette, do not invite someone to the bridal shower or bachelorette party if you are not going to invite them to the ceremony. The only exception is the office showers, hosted by co-workers with no expectation of a wedding invite.
  • Don’t designate a “Singles Table”. Group family and friends based on similar interests so that they can enjoy the ceremony to the fullest.
  • Don’t make guests pay for their drinks, although the bar bill is one of the biggest expenses at your reception or wedding. Instead, you can serve signature cocktails, limit the hours of open bar, skip hard liquor altogether, and go as per the theme while eliminating the extras.

Weddings are formalized affairs, no matter how simple or extravagant a ceremony you are dreaming of. Follow these wedding etiquette rules and put the best foot forward to make the couple’s D-Day memorable and the ceremony more lively.

Weddings are formalized affairs, no matter how simple or extravagant a ceremony might be. The least wedding hosts expect from their guests is appropriate behavior and respectfulness. Flouting wedding etiquette will bring bitterness to the environment and ruin the couple’s day. After months of careful and tireless planning and preparations, the couple and their families deserve a celebration. Show your appreciation for being invited to be part of such an important day in the lives of a newly-wed couple by following these wedding etiquettes and putting your best foot forward.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you mix families at weddings?

Depends. Mixing family members, especially based on similar interests, can be a great way for the guests to mingle and get to know each other.

Are wedding corsages outdated?

Depends. For traditionalists, boutonnieres and corsages will always be an elegant part of a wedding, even if they may seem a thing of the past for most people.

Key Takeaways

  • Ignoring wedding etiquettes may hurt the feelings of your dear ones. Therefore, if mentioned, you should always follow a dress code or choose any dark or black outfit.
  • Ensure there is plus one before taking your spouse to the wedding.
  • It is not always necessary to spend a huge amount of money on the apt gift for the newlywed.

In the next video, a YouTuber shares essential wedding guest etiquette tips covering RSVPs, wedding websites, gift-giving, dress codes, and more. Tune in to ensure you are the best guest at upcoming weddings!


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(i). What is Wedding Etiquette?

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Roberta Torresan

Roberta TorresanWedding Planner & Designer

Roberta Torresan is an award-winning international wedding planner and designer with over 13 years of experience. As someone who specializes in organizing unforgettable events in stunning locations, she deeply understands the significance of weddings and the importance of entrusting their celebration to a seasoned professional. She aims to provide exceptional care to wedding guests and ensure they have a wonderful...read full bio

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