Wedding Reception Etiquette

It’s easy being a guest at a wedding, right? All you have to do is show up and enjoy the occasion. Well, not quite. Being a good guest doesn’t apply only to the day of the wedding. It begins as soon as you receive the invitation. Do bear in mind that only special people are invited to be wedding guests. After all, guest lists are limited to a certain amount of people since the bride and groom, in most cases, have to pay for each and every person attending.

Make no mistake, wedding etiquette is still very much alive, it's just a little different than it was a century ago.In this fast paced world where people are often self absorbed, abrupt, inconsiderate, or downright rude, etiquette remains a necessity to ensure that our social skills do not fall too far out of hand. Here are the following things you need to consider:

  • Respond promptly on RSVP

    Each invitation has an RSVP date. Because an accurate count is needed well before the date of the wedding for planning details for restaurant reservation, seating arrangements and all others It would’t do to respond late, even if you don’t plan to attend. Failure to respond in a timely manner is considered rude and disrespectful.

  • Never bring uninvited guests

    There are also other things to note on the invitation. For instance, if you’re allowed to bring a guest, your spouse, or if children are invited,, this will be indicated accordingly as “and guest, “"Mr & Mrs".or "and family” next to your name on the envelope. Also please take note of the number of guests or family members you are allowed to bring as this will also be indicated with the number of seats reserved for you. If this isn’t indicated, you should assume the host is requesting only the honor of your presence. It’s very bad manners to show up at the wedding, with uninvited guests. Bear in mind the inconvenience that you would bring because this means the caterer will have to scramble to make sure they have enough meals and may have to put up an additional table setting, and the host will have to pay for that extra meal in cash after the reception.

  • Follow your seat and table assignment

    At the reception it’s likely you will have assigned seating. This will be indicated in your invitation as to which table you will be assigned. Be seated according to your seating assignment and avoid sitting at someone; else’s reserved seat to avoid confusion. Never alter your seating assignment unless if you have made an arrangement with the guest concerned to exchanged your place in his or hers. The host has taken the time to see that you will be seated with people you know or are at least compatible with. If you’ve never made the acquaintance of some of the people at your table, start off the evening by making introductions. Smile and be as friendly as you can.

  • Dress appropriately

    Your invitation would also indicate the prescribed attire for the occasion. So if it says "Come in Formal or Semi-Formal Attire," it means that you have to dress accordingly in a special manner and not in your usual casual clothing. In Philippine setting formal attire would consist of either a suit, a coat and tie, or barong paired with tailored slacks for men and long gowns and dresses for women. Semi formal attire for men would usually be either long or shirt sleeve polo shirt paired with slacks for men and cocktail or Sunday's Best dresses for women.

  • Do not get more than what you can eat and drink

    You yourself know what kind of food you want and how much you can eat. But sometimes we are tempted to indulge with the bounty of the moment and the privilege of a free meal. but please do bear in mind that you are not the only guest invited and that such unnecessary indulgence can deprive other guest of their fair share . If you are not familiar of the food being served or is not sure to like the taste of the food, try to get a consumable slice or a small amount just for tasting and come back later for more if you like. Some people had a bad habit of stacking up as much food on their plates and not even sure if they like the food. Others simply pile up their plate thinking they can consume it and later realize that they can’t while some just want to spare themselves the second trip back to the buffet table, thus getting as much food they think that they can eat. This usually leads to unconsumed food which is left uneaten in plates which will end up in waste only to be thrown in the garbage .This can be really annoying on the part of the host and other guest. So the next time you come to a buffet table, think before you pick.

  • Be attentive and participative

    Be mindful of speeches and announcements, there’s nothing ruder than guests conversing amongst themselves while something important is going on. Be cooperative and alert on some activities that may require you participation. Also be mindful of the alcohol you are consuming. An open bar is no reason to overindulge and there’s nothing more apt to ruin the day for the bride and groom than a drunken wedding guest.

  • Refrain from negative comments

    In any event there can be negative observations, especially of people in the entourage or the hosts, that you would like to share with another guest. If you think that it will not help to improve the situation at all, say it discreetly or keep it to yourself. Other guests might hear you and may have perceptions contradictory to yours. It may only ruin the table atmosphere. Reserve negative comments for later, after the event.

  • Say thank you to the host

    Always have the courtesy to inform the guest before you leave and don’t forget to say your thank for their invitation.

The most important rule of attending a wedding is to enjoy the day. The bride and groom planned this special day in celebration of a joyous affair and took their guests’ comfort and entertainment into heavy consideration. Be respectful, be polite and be a good guest.

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