• Susan Barber

5 Wedding Etiquette Tips for Guests

Whether you’re attending a wedding for the 1st time or 100th time, everyone could benefit from understanding what “proper” wedding etiquette is! Continue reading to find out our top 5 etiquette tips when attending a wedding!


1. Arrive Early, But Not Too Early


It’s a given not to arrive late, but it is also important not to arrive too early. The best time to arrive at the venue is generally 30 minutes before ceremony time. This gives you plenty of time to sign the guestbook, drop-off your card and/or gift, and find your seat. Why is it bad to arrive too early? You may risk seeing the bridal party before you’re supposed to (e.g. they are wrapping up some final photos before the ceremony) or the event staff may be adding the finishing touches to the space before the wedding begins.



2. “Unplugged Ceremony” REALLY Means No Cell Phones

Most ceremonies are referred to as “unplugged ceremonies.” Meaning, the Bride &

Groom have requested that you do not have your cell phone out during the ceremony. This includes taking photos! This is a common request because couples don’t want to look back on professionally taken photos (that they paid for) and see people holding up phones in the background, or in the way of the photographer. We understand that many guests want to have this moment captured for themselves, but the Bride & Groom will be more than happy to share their professional photos with you afterward! It should also be mentioned to always double-check and make sure that your cell phone is silenced before the ceremony starts.

(Katelyn Allison Photography)


3. Fill In the Aisle Seats


An important ceremony etiquette tip is to always fill-in the aisle seats first. Regardless of the seating arrangement - divided by sides or “pick a seat, not a side,” it is good to fill in the aisle seats first so that photos of the ceremony turn out symmetrical and full. Otherwise, just try to balance yourself according to how other guests are sitting on each side. As a side note, make sure to keep reserved seats or the front 2 rows open to the immediate family.

(Loveleigh Co. Photography | Yonah Mountain Vineyards)


4. Wait for the Couple to Visit You


Once the reception kicks off and dinner begins, most guests are eager to say “hello” to the newlyweds! This is of course welcomed, however, it is best to wait until the Bride & Groom visit your table. This is because dinner usually begins once the head table is served, but interruptions from guests can extend wait time. For the Bride & Groom, It‘s usually been a long day of getting ready and taking photos for them, so it is important they take a moment together and eat before they make their rounds and greet their guests.


5. Wait Until the Cake Has Been Cut to Grab Dessert

To some, this may be common sense, but always wait until the Bride & Groom have cut their cake (or dessert) before grabbing a serving. This becomes more of an issue when dessert consists of cupcakes, donuts, or other single-serve desserts. It is understood that some guests may need to leave the reception early before cake is cut, so it is always advised that you seek a coordinator or caterer and ask if there are any extras in the kitchen that you can take to-go instead.


Share this with your guests and friends, as etiquette is an important part of everyone's duties! If you have any other etiquette tips to add, let us know!

(Second to Nunn Photo)



Author: Susan Barber - Soirees Southern Events Coordinator


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