Wedding Guest Etiquette

In an ideal world, every guest would RSVP on time, purchase a gift off the registry, and behave appropriately at the wedding and reception. In the real world, wedding guests make mistakes—a lot of them—and unfortunately, it’s up to you as the bride to fix them. Here are some surefire solutions for common guest mistakes:

WHAT TO DO IF A GUEST…

…Doesn’t RSVP: Give guests a little leeway—maybe a week or two—before contacting them via email or phone call and asking for their RSVP personally.

…Plans to bring an uninvited guest: As awkward as it might be, you need to contact the guest to let them know their guest isn’t invited (unless you have room to accommodate him/her). To avoid this problem, be sure to properly address every invitation so guests know whether or not their children, significant others, or dates are welcome.

…Contacts you with inane questions: Compile information, like hotel accommodations, maps/directions, and itineraries, to answer guests’ questions in one, easy location like a website or mailed package. When a guest contacts you, politely redirect them to the place where they can get the answers they need. You can also ask a friend or relative to serve as a wedding concierge to answer any questions from guests that you haven’t already covered.

…Buys a gift you didn’t register for: The only way to handle any gift is with graciousness and appreciation. If a guest included the receipt, feel free to return any unwanted presents, but you shouldn’t, under any circumstances, ask for a receipt if it wasn’t included.

…Is late for the wedding: Some ceremonies naturally start a few minutes late and many guests hope to avoid the pre-wedding hoopla by trying to arrive right on time or a few minutes late. Have an usher, friend, or relative stationed at the door to catch latecomers when they arrive and seat them at an appropriate, non-intrusive time during the ceremony.

…Gets drunk at the reception: If there’s an open bar, there’s always the chance that some irresponsible wedding guests may have too much to drink. Before the wedding, find a responsible friend or family member to offer rides or call taxis for guests who’ve indulged in too much alcohol.

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