Singaporebrides | Weddings 101

May 2024

15 Basic Rules on How Not to Be a Rude Wedding Guest

Received a wedding invitation? Follow these rules and avoid being one of those rude wedding guests that couples hate!

Weddings are joyous occasions meant to celebrate the love and union of a couple. As a guest, you play a crucial role in contributing to the happiness and smooth running of the day, as well as to the planning process. Couples have a lot to prepare for this milestone celebration, and wedding guest woes shouldn’t add to their burden. If you truly want to celebrate their love and add to their joy on their wedding day, here are some essential tips on how not to be a rude wedding guest.

Of course, if the list feels too restrictive, you can always choose not to attend the wedding. Instead of grudgingly attending or even worse, complaining about the dress code or about forking out money to travel to a destination wedding, simply send your regrets if you don’t want to attend. Just as the couple has the right to choose how to style their special day, you can choose whether you’d like to join in their joy or not!

1. RSVP on Time

The first rule of wedding etiquette is punctuality in your RSVPs. The couple needs to know how many guests to plan for, so make sure to respond by the date specified on the invitation. Delaying your response can create unnecessary stress and complications in their planning. Even if you can’t make it, be sure to RSVP. Don’t think that just because you’re not going, you don’t need to reply! On the same note, if you RSVP yes, make sure you show up! Your seat has been planned for, and not attending would be incredibly rude.

Khye Theng and Tony’s Romantic and Timeless Wedding with Pops of Blue at Villa Plenilunio Bali by MomentsbyJeremy

2. Don’t Assume a Plus One

Unless your invitation specifically mentions a plus one, do not assume you can bring a guest. if they didn’t specify a plus one, it’s due to capacity restrictions, budget constraints, or other reasons. Adding an extra person can disrupt seating arrangements and catering plans.

3. Don’t Gatecrash

Remember how Monica insisted on crashing cousin Frannie’s wedding when she wasn’t invited, only to be mortified when she came face to face with her ex, the groom?

If you weren’t specifically invited to a wedding event, don’t assume you can attend. Couples may wish to have a smaller and intimate solemnisation ceremony to which not all wedding reception guests are invited, or only have family at their tea ceremony.

4. Adhere to the Dress Code

If a dress code is specified, stick to it. Dressing too casually or too extravagantly can both stand out for the wrong reasons. The couple has chosen a dress code that fits the style and venue of their wedding, so following it shows consideration and respect for their vision. If you’re not sure what their dress code means, ask a member of the bridal party for help!

Cherylene and Mark’s Technicolour Disco-Dino Wedding at The Alkaff Mansion by Rolling Pie Pictures

5. Follow the Couple’s Wishes

Whether it’s a specific request about not posting photos on social media or any other particular preferences they’ve communicated, make sure you respect and adhere to these wishes. The couple has thought carefully about the details of their day, so honouring their requests is a sign of respect.

6. Respect Children’s Attendance Rules

Even if you don’t agree with them, respect the couple’s wishes regarding children at their wedding. If the invitation states it’s an adults-only event, respect their decision and arrange for childcare. If children are welcomed, supervise them closely during the event.

7. Don’t Bother the Couple with Logistics

Work out the details of your arrival to the wedding before the wedding day to avoid any last minute confusion. Under no circumstances should you contact the bride or groom on the day of their wedding with questions about directions, parking, or other logistical information. They’re busy soaking up the significant moments and getting married, and shouldn’t have to deal with matters like that. If you do have an eleventh hour question, ask another wedding guest or member of the bridal party.

Sheila and Ivan’s Dreamy Bali Wedding at Alila Villas Uluwatu by Annora Pics

8. Be on Time

Arriving late can be a major disruption. Imagine showing up right as the wedding party begin their processional down the aisle! Plan ahead to ensure you’re there before the ceremony starts. Don’t assume that wedding dinners always start late either. Being punctual shows respect for the couple and the significance of the event.

9. Follow Their Seating Arrangement

Seating arrangements are often a complex and sensitive task that the couple has spent much time planning. Sit where you are assigned, even if it’s not with your usual crowd or near the back. Swopping seats on your own can make seating difficult for the couple or their helpers, and cause confusion for other guests.

10. Don’t Make It About You

A wedding is not the time to air personal grievances, show off, or hog the spotlight. Keep the focus on celebrating the couple’s love and commitment. Avoid doing anything that could divert attention away from them.

11. Don’t Be Easily Offended

Sometimes, despite their best efforts, the couple might make decisions that inadvertently upset guests. Seating you near the speakers, leaving out some traditions you find meaningful, or playing a song you hate–these things are not about you. The couple is doing their best to plan a special day while juggling work and other responsibilities, and such issues are unlikely to be a personal slight. Maintaining perspective is key, and the best guests are understanding, flexible, and full of enthusiasm for the couple’s day.

Carolyn and Nicholas’s Fun Wedding at Mandarin Oriental Singapore by Antelope Studios

12. Don’t Get Drunk

Toasting to the couple’s happiness is one thing, but getting rip-roaring and embarrassingly drunk is another. Imbibe responsibly, so you don’t lose control of yourself and start loud political debates or comment on how ugly you find the decorations.

13. Don’t Monopolise their Time

On the wedding day, couples have tons of guests to greet and lots of things to do. While of course they’ll be happy to greet you and receive your congratulations, they won’t be able to chat for very long. Don’t feel offended if they can’t spend a lot of time with you.

14. Remember, It’s About Them, Not You

Keep in mind that the wedding day is about the couple’s choices and happiness. If you have personal restrictions or disagreements with aspects of the wedding, such as the location or the child-free policy, remember you always have the option not to attend. The couple is trying their best to create a once-in-a-lifetime day, so don’t complain or make the couple feel uncomfortable and even more stressed out than they already are.

15. Choose Not to Go If Necessary

If the wedding involves traveling to a destination you can’t afford, or other elements that you are uncomfortable with, consider declining the invitation gracefully. It’s better to opt out than to attend and be displeased or disruptive.

By following these guidelines, you can enjoy the celebration, support the couple, and ensure that you contribute positively to their special day. Remember, a wedding is a significant event in the couple’s life, and your role as a guest is to enhance the experience, not detract from it.

Credits: Feature image from Lena and Yonglong’s Vibrant and Colourful Wedding at Artemis Grill & Sky Bar by Oddly Familiar Photography

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15 Basic Rules on How Not to Be a Rude Wedding Guest