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Things to Know About Being a Wedding Guest

With many couples being forced to postpone their weddings over the past couple of years, we are now in wedding overdrive. If you have weddings to attend this year, then there are a few things you should know about being a guest.

If it’s been a while for you or if you have never been a guest at a wedding, here are some tips for you. 


First things first, make sure you RSVP to any weddings you are invited to by the deadline given by the couple. There is so much that goes into wedding planning and having an accurate guest count is a big part of the planning process. If you have a couple that wants you to come to their special day, make sure you give them the respect of RSVPing on time, even if you can’t attend. Make sure you follow the instructions included to make sure you are responding accurately.

Wedding Gifts

It is standard etiquette to send a gift to the couple. Couples make this process easy with an online registry and the option to have the gift sent from the store directly to the couple. When deciding what to spend on a gift, the standard is no lower than $50.00 per person. You should also factor in how close you are to the couple and if you are bringing a plus one to determine the appropriate cost of your gift.

Dress Code

One of the most important things to consider when attending a wedding is what you will wear. There are some obvious rules to wedding guest dresses, like never wearing anything that even comes close to being white (come on, we know that’s for the bride). But there are some less obvious rules to dressing as a wedding guest that you should consider. If you happen to know what color the bridesmaids are wearing or what colors the bride is using as a theme, this should also be something to avoid. While not an explicit social rule, it’s not ideal to look like a doppelganger of the bridal party. The main thing to consider is the dress code that you are given by the couple. This will most likely be on your invitation or, if the couple has set up a webpage for the event, you may find all this information on their bridal website.

Here’s a guide to the most common dress codes you will see for weddings.

  • Black Tie: This is the most formal option that you’ll likely see (except for white tie but that is pretty uncommon these days.) If you are invited to a black-tie wedding, you will want to be very conscious of the dress code. Men will be expected to wear tuxedos with black bow ties and dress shoes. It is important to note the difference between a tuxedo and a suit, as the latter will not be within the dress code. Ladies should be in floor-length gowns that are long enough to touch the ground or top of the shoes. Upscale jewelry like pearls or diamonds is a great way to add elegance to your gown.

  • Formal Attire: This is one of the most popular dress codes for weddings nowadays. This style is similar but less strict than black tie. Men can wear standard suits or jackets and ladies can wear a floor-length gown, a pantsuit, or a more formal cocktail dress.

  • Cocktail Attire: Cocktail attire is also a common style of dress for weddings. You have more options here as men can wear suits, nice jackets, or even just a nice button-up and tie. Ladies can do knee-length cocktail dresses or jumpsuits

  • Daytime or Casual Attire: With the rise in popularity of backyard weddings, we are seeing this dress code a bit more. Don’t make the mistake of thinking casual means jeans and a tee-shirt. While this style is relatively relaxed, you are still attending a wedding so be respectful in how you dress. Men can do khakis and button-downs or even a nice polo shirt. A blazer is also a good option. Women can wear sundresses and wedges or upscale rompers with heels. You can also be more creative with colors and patterns for a daytime wedding, so have fun with it.

Attending the Wedding

When attending the ceremony make sure you arrive at least ten minutes before the time listed on the invitation. It is important not to show up late or during the ceremony. Make sure to have your phone off or on silent and do not use it during the ceremony. The bride and groom are paying for a photographer, so there is no reason for you to be taking iPhone pictures during their vows. Also, don’t abuse the open bar. You don’t want to cause a scene on someone else’s big day. And of course, have fun! Seeing your friends get married is an unforgettable opportunity that you should enjoy and cherish.

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