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Make sure you don't commit any guest faux pas with our handy guide to wedding guest etiquette.
There are some fundamental do's and don'ts when it comes to weddings. It's important to make sure that you don't overshadow the bride and groom on their special day, and no one wants to be the next viral video of a wedding fail. Make sure you know your wedding guest etiquette so nothing interrupts the celebration.
DON'T: Assume you can bring a date
A lot of thought and planning goes into deciding how many people to invite to a wedding. If your invitation does not explicitly state that you can bring a date, don't bring one. If you can, the invite will be addressed to "Ms. Jane Doe and Guest"
DON'T: Assume kids are welcome
Most couples won't flat-out write "adults only" on the invite to their wedding. Instead, it's up to you to interpret the wording. If the card is addressed to "The Doe Family" or if your kids names are listed on the invite as well, they're probably welcome.
DO: RSVP Promptly
It just saves time and stress for everyone involved.
DO: Shop from the registry, and shop early
Unless you know the bride and groom really personally and know for a fact that they'll appreciate a personal gift, get something from the registry. They put a lot of effort into selecting those items, and they choose what's on their registry because they know exactly what they already have and what they need to start their life together.
DO: Be on time
Never make an entrance after the bride. Plan to be at the wedding and in your seat 30 minutes before the ceremony starts. If something comes up that prevents you from arriving on time, don't interrupt the service. Wait until after the I Do's are done and the guests are leaving their seats to join the party.
DON'T: Use your phone
This should go without saying, but we're saying it anyway. DO NOT use your phone during the ceremony. Respect the bride and groom, and focus on the real reason why you're all gathered together. Your Facebook notifications can wait.
DO: Follow the dress code
They can get confusing sometimes, but following the dress code is important. For a more detailed explanation of common wedding dress codes, visit Martha Stewart's website
. Don't be that person who wore a floor-length ballgown to a casual affair! Common sense is also important -- if the wedding is outdoors in a field, maybe reconsider those stilettos.
DON'T: Wear white
Don't steal the bride's thunder. This one should also go without saying -- you've got about a million other colors to choose from. Avoid anything that could be considered a shade of white as well.
DON'T: Play paparazzi
The last thing the bride and groom want to see when they look up during their ceremony is the back of your phone as you record the whole thing. They hired a videographer for that if it's something they want. Show them your smiling face instead! Keep phones off and out of sight until the reception.
DO: Enjoy the party
Many couples are afraid of guests not having a good time at the wedding. Show them you're having a good time by getting up and dancing, mingling and meeting new people.
DON'T: Get wasted
Enjoy the bar, but don't abuse it. The last thing the bride and groom need is feel like they have to babysit their drunk friends. It can also be dangerous if you don't have a ride lined up beforehand, not to mention that it's just flat-out unbecoming to be that person.
DO: Keep your speech short and sweet
Everyone gets nervous in front of crowds of both loved ones and strangers, and emotions are already running high at a wedding. Keep your speech short and sweet -- tell one story, convey one important message or share one life lesson, and then pass the mic on.
DO: Mail your gift
To help keep the bride and groom from having to haul loads of boxes back to their house or hotel room, have their gifts mailed to them instead. Most registries have the option to ship items directly to the couple's address. If you're giving a gift of cash, avoid bringing it to the wedding. A card can get lost in the commotion, and unfortunately thefts do occur.
Now that you have a roadmap to being the perfect wedding guest, get out there and celebrate! Oh, and pass the knowledge on to your friends so none of them are that
wedding guest this summer. Did we miss a tip to help you be the perfect guest? Share it in the comments below!