The Best Wedding Guests

  • Pin It
  • print
  • email to a friend

The Best Wedding Guests

By Cindy Edwards

This is part 3 of a multipart series on weddings. In my last post, I discussed wedding planning.

Being a guest at a wedding is a privilege. So much goes into planning a wedding and the cost can be astronomical.  The bride and groom usually have limited numbers, so when you get that invitation, it means that you are special.

Here are a few tips to guarantee that you are the perfect wedding guest.

The bride is planning the biggest event of her life.  She needs firm numbers to give to her wedding coordinator and caterer. It is your obligation to let her know as quickly as possible whether or not you will attend.

If she has included a response card, fill it out and get it back in the mail.  If she has a traditional invitation requesting a reply, refer to my blog titled “How Quickly Should You Reply to an Invitation” for instructions.

Pay special attention to the names on the invitation, and DO NOT ask to bring children, other family members or guests who are not listed.  Trust me: If they are omitted, it is intentional.

Whether you are attending or not, you should send a gift. This is a personal decision that is usually based on your relationship with the couple. If you have already purchased a shower gift, it is certainly understandable to buy a small wedding gift.

Engagement parties and showers are fun. If you are a close friend of the couple and want to host an event, contact the bride, her mother or the groom’s mother to schedule a party to celebrate the wedding.

Immediate relatives really should not host showers because it would be improper to solicit gifts. However, they can host the bridesmaids’ luncheon or, perhaps, a cocktail party for the couple.
Always the best guest, my father-in-law Dr. Joe Edwards Jr. with bride Brittany Kolat Richardson on her wedding day.

I think that it would be better to focus on what you should NOT wear. While most fashion rules have relaxed, one has not: Do not wear white to a wedding.  It is just polite to reserve this color for the bride.  Also, be respectful of religious institutions and do not wear anything that is too revealing or sexy.  All eyes should be focused on the happy couple.

Refer to the invitation for hints or guidelines.  If you receive a formal engraved invitation, the event is just that: formal. On the other hand, if the invitation is for a daytime event that takes place outdoors, then you may relax a bit.  But a wedding is special, and out of respect for the couple and the event, you should always look appropriate.  When in doubt, check with a close family member for direction.

When you are invited to the wedding and reception, please do not skip the ceremony and only attend the party.  The bride and groom may not notice, but I guarantee their mothers will. After all, the ceremony is the most important part.

Be sure to arrive early.  The wedding starts at the time printed on the invitation; therefore, if you arrive at that time, you will be tripping over the processional as you try to find a seat.

A wedding is not the time to let loose and go crazy. A bride and groom want their guests to have fun, but the happy couple should be the center of attention.

The bottom line on wedding decorum is this: A bride and groom will always remember their special day, so make sure you enrich it, not diminish it.

As always, thanks for reading.

Properly yours,

*Lead photograph is from Paula’s wedding, feature wedding guest, Theresa Feuger, and her coordinator, Tricia Windom.

Read More From Blogs.

Read More From Cindy Edwards.

You May Also Like These Articles:

You May Also Like These Recipes:

Leave a Comment

Reader Comments:


Thank you, thank you thank you.. We have been to 4 weddings this year and at all 4 there were women wearing one the step-mother of the bride wore white..poor bride. Please remind people to also not to whip out their cell phones to take pictures..tacky as all.

By shannon on July 05, 2012


@ Carolyn, I have missed you too!! Thanks for your support. I hope that you have a wonderful summer. Cindy

By Cindy Edwards on June 11, 2012


Fantastic blog Cindy! I love the "what to wear" details - and especially what NOT to wear! (we had a guest wear white to our wedding! yikes!)

By Winslet on June 07, 2012


I have missed your last's been a busy spring. Today I read all of your wedding advice and loved it! You answer all things that we forget to ask but are so happy to know, or be reminded. Thanks!!! Carolyn

By Carolyn Nowell on June 07, 2012


I have had two weddings within the past year (son and daughter) and appreciate all of your comments regarding wedding etiquette. These articles do an excellent job of teaching me and my family how to be proper guests. Thanks again.

By angie on June 01, 2012


Enjoyed your series on weddings. It is always helpful to know the proper way of doing things so that the wedding is most enjoyable for the bride and groom. Thanks for sharing such appropriate information!

By andrea on June 01, 2012


Cindy, articles are always informative and on timely topics. Can't wait to read your next one.

By Linda Parton on June 01, 2012


Thanks for great information!! We all need a refresher on wedding etiquette. With an upcoming wedding, I hope every every guest will be a Great guest!!

By Karen on May 31, 2012


This has been a wonderful series on weddings, and I have enjoyed reading each one. I'm sure many brides and mothers have gained much from them, also. Keep up the good work, Cindy. Your blogs are always timely and beneficial.

By Sandra on May 30, 2012


Wonderful article, Cindy. I am going to be a wedding guest next weekend, and it's always good to review these points.

By Jo Ann Matthews on May 30, 2012


This is an especially great blog. My daughter just married in March, and I appreciate the specifics you mentioned. . .like replying and attending! The guests for our daughter's wedding must have read your blog in advance. Gracious guests are always welcome!

By Viki Curtis on May 30, 2012


Great information. Sometimes we need to know, but don't want to ask. Thanks for a great topic.

By Michelle on May 23, 2012


As always, great information, just in time for an upcoming wedding! A wedding is such a special day for couples and those invited should feel privledged to share in their big day.

By Karen on May 22, 2012


As usual, great information!! All of your blogs on weddings have been very interesting. I will definitely print this one for my children. Looking forward to the next article!

By Ann on May 22, 2012


@ Catherine. I think that the invitations should always be properly addressed and mailed!! Thank you for your question. Cindy

By Cindy Edwards on May 22, 2012


@ Deb. Sorry you think it is broad. Five o'clock can be tricky. It will depend upon the invitation and the location. If it is outside it may be casual. If the wedding is held at a religious institution the dress would follow a more conservative and dressier style. When it doubt, you should check with someone close to the bride or groom. Thank you for your comment. Cindy

By Cindy Edwards on May 22, 2012


Paula is the bride!! Thank you, Cindy

By Cindy Edwards on May 22, 2012


Is Paula the bride? That looks like white to me.

By Anonymous on May 22, 2012


This info is a bit broad. What is the proper attire for a 5:00 wedding?

By Deb Huggins on May 22, 2012


Best wedding guest.....Keep a smile on your face and your big mouth shut.

By Anonymous on May 22, 2012

My Recipe Box |

Paula's Upcoming Schedule

  • September 20: Booksigning in Waco, TX

    Join Paula at DuBois Furniture in Waco, TX for a book signing and meet and greet from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm.

  • September 24: Paula Deen Live! in Charlotte

    Come see Paula’s live show at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center in Charlotte, NC and get a heaping helping of Paula’s recipes, and some good old-fashioned fun and laughter!
    Tickets available from Blumenthal Performing Arts Center here!

    Starts at 5:30 PM. Light hors d’oeuvres and beer & wine will be served, including a meet and greet with Paula Deen! 

    Sponsored by Springer Mountain Farms.

  • October 24: Deen Family Book Signing

    Join the Deen Family for a Book Signing at The Lady & Sons from 10 am to 12 pm.
    The event is free; 350 wristbands to be distributed starting at 9 am.

  • View Paula's Full Schedule