The Best Wedding Guests

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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.

REPLY
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.

PURCHASE A GIFT
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.

TO ENTERTAIN OR NOT
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.
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Always the best guest, my father-in-law Dr. Joe Edwards Jr. with bride Brittany Kolat Richardson on her wedding day.

WHAT TO WEAR
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.

ATTEND THE CEREMONY
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.

BEHAVE
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,
Cindy

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

Cindy Edwards embodies everything pretty, perky and proper about the South. She's a wife, mother, volunteer and freelance writer. Cindy volunteers enough hours to exhaust most by serving on the Board of Trustees for the Telfair Museums, the Savannah Book Festival Board of Directors and the University of Georgia Honors Advisory Board. She has also served on the Boards of the March of Dimes and Young Life Savannah. Cindy has been married to her college sweetheart, Dr. Joe Edwards III, for 25 years and is the proud mother of two sons: Joe IV, a senior at the University of Georgia, and Jack, a freshman at Ole Miss. No matter how busy, Cindy always makes time for a competitive game of bridge.
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Reader Comments:

43211

Thank you, thank you thank you.. We have been to 4 weddings this year and at all 4 there were women wearing white..at 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

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@ 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

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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

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I have missed your last blogs...it'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

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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

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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

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

By Linda Parton on June 01, 2012

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

By Michelle on May 23, 2012

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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

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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

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@ 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

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@ 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

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Paula is the bride!! Thank you, Cindy

By Cindy Edwards on May 22, 2012

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

By Anonymous on May 22, 2012

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

By Deb Huggins on May 22, 2012

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

By Anonymous on May 22, 2012

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hi! wink i was wondering if you could share the recipe for the chiken/grape salad-the one that is pictured on the croissant above? thanks! wink sandra
Sandra Neuheimer-Huller in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 19, 2014 at 9:37 am

Where do I buy these magazines
in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 7:22 am

I WISH I COULD COOK. COULD I COME WORK FOR JUST ROOM AND BOARD AT YOUR NEW RESTURAUNT IN PIGEON FORGE FOR THE SUMMER? I WENT TO COLLEGE NOT FAR FROM THERE - HIWASSEE COLLEGE. YOU WOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY ME, I WOULD WORK FOR FREE JUST FOR THE EXPERIENCE. TAMMY LEVAN 19 SPENCER WAY KINGS PARK, NY 11754 HAPPY EASTER! CHRIST IS RISEN!
TAMMY L LEVAN in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 3:31 am

Hi Bubbles, You have some great tips. Can't wait to read your other blogs! Please give Aunt Peggy a big hug from me and here is one for you! (((HUGS))) See you in May!
Jaci Pardun in 10 Quick Household Tips on April 18, 2014 at 10:05 pm

Paula, I am glad to know that I am not the only person who makes Easter Baskets for their adult children and mail them across the United States. My Daughter lives in Long Beach, CA and I not only sent her a basket but her husband and my granddaughter Reese. We also buy special Russel Stover Bunnies for each child too. My husband has the list in his phone... Sara .. Cookies 'n Crème.... Sidney and Stephen.. Peanut Butter Etc. It one of my favorite things to do for my kids.. no matter how old they get. And passing it along to my Grandchildren. It's even more special to me knowing we share a family tradition. Blessings and Happy Easter!!
Sharon Cason-Card in A Basketful of Traditions on April 18, 2014 at 10:03 pm