A Guide to Gracious Guest Etiquette: Navigating Weddings and Parties with Style

A Guide to Gracious Guest Etiquette: Navigating Weddings and Parties with Style

In Maya's book, Happily Altered After, she touches on what being a gracious guest requires, and it's far more than just showing up.  Attending weddings and celebrations are joyous occasions that bring people together.  To ensure you leave a positive impression, here's a guide to guest etiquette, complete with do's and don'ts for navigating these special events with style. 


RSVP Promptly: Always respond to the invitation in a timely manner. Whether it's an online RSVP or a traditional reply card, letting the hosts know if you'll attend helps them plan and make necessary arrangements.

Arrive on Time: Punctuality is key. Arriving on time not only shows respect for the hosts but also ensures you don't disrupt any planned activities or ceremonies.

Dress Appropriately: Pay attention to the dress code specified on the invitation. Whether it's formal, casual, or themed, dressing appropriately demonstrates your respect for the hosts and the significance of the event.  For weddings, you shouldn't wear white or ivory unless it's been communicated as part of the dress code.  Typically, the bride is the only one in these colors.

Bring a Gift: It's customary to bring a gift for the hosts, whether it's a wedding, birthday, or any other celebration. Consider the couple's registry or the occasion when selecting a thoughtful and meaningful gift.

Gift Giving

Congratulate and Socialize: Take the time to congratulate the hosts or the guest of honor. Socialize with other guests, make an effort to meet new people, and participate in the activities planned for the event.

Follow the Unplugged Ceremony Rule: If the event includes a ceremony, respect the couple's or hosts' wishes regarding photography and social media. Some prefer an "unplugged" ceremony to ensure a distraction-free and intimate experience.

Mind Your Table Manners: When dining, be mindful of your table manners. Chew with your mouth closed, don't interrupt others while they're speaking, and use utensils appropriately. Remember to engage in pleasant conversation with those around you.

Wedding Reception

Express Gratitude: Always express your gratitude to the hosts before leaving. Thank them for the invitation, the hospitality, and the effort they put into making the event special.


Arrive drunk or drink excessively:  Over drinking is an embarrassment to you and is a blatant show of disregard and disrespect to your hosts.  Take a mental temperature of the environment around you and act accordingly.  

Champage Tower

Let your children run amuck:  If the wedding or party your attending allows for your entire family to be in attendance then it's your responsibility to parent your children and ensure their behavior doesn't interrupt any ceremony and festivities.  If you can't calm your child down then remove them from the setting until they're able to behave.

Overstay Your Welcome: Be mindful of the event's schedule and avoid overstaying your welcome. If the invitation includes specific start and end times, respect them.

Bring Uninvited Guests: Respect the guest list and don't bring uninvited guests. The hosts have carefully planned the event, and unexpected additions can cause unnecessary stress.

Dominate Conversations: Engage in conversations, but avoid dominating them. Allow others to share their thoughts and experiences, and listen actively to create a positive and inclusive atmosphere.

Bar Conversation

Make Negative Comments: Avoid making negative comments about the event, the venue, the hosts or the food. If you have constructive feedback, share it privately and with tact.

Forget to RSVP or Cancel Last Minute: Failing to RSVP or canceling at the last minute can create logistical challenges for the hosts. Plan ahead and communicate any changes in your attendance promptly.

By following these do's and don'ts, you can contribute to a positive and memorable experience for everyone involved. Remember, good manners and consideration go a long way in making celebrations truly special for you, your hosts and the other guests at the party.