Happy Wedding Wednesday! I'm so happy to share today's post, which I hope you find to be very insightful from a couple's and wedding planner's perspective.

A wedding is such a joyous, celebratory event. It joins together family and friends, all in the name of love. Couples, planners and vendors work diligently to produce beautiful, enjoyable and well executed weddings. One of the things I love as a planner is education - whether it's going to trainings or coaching my couples and peers. Well today, I'm happy to share some tips for wedding guests! 

Photo Credit: Mandi Mitchell Photography

Photo Credit: Mandi Mitchell Photography

Whether these are tips you already know or perhaps some you've never considered, I hope they equip or refresh wedding guests on ways to help the couple during the planning process and to show up in love and support on wedding day. There are so many great tips to be shared on this topic, but here are my top eight:

1. Be timely with rsvps and arriving to the wedding

In this busy, on the go world we live in, returning a rsvp card might unintentionally fall to the bottom of your to do list. However, wedding guests are encouraged to make this a priority. Why? It's essential for the couple, caterer, wedding planner and other vendors in accurately accounting for meals, seating, and many of the wedding day details. Whether you can attend or not, do the couple (and vendors) a favor and respond with your gladly accepts or regretfully  declines by the requested deadline. Also, don't forget to write your name on the line allotted for you on the rsvp card.

Also, on-time arrival to the wedding is so important. Here's a tip - plan to arrive 15-20 minutes prior to the ceremony start time. This will give you plenty of time to sign the guest book, locate the gift table, freshen up your lipstick and find a seat before the processional begins. If you arrive 30 minutes or more early, kindly understand it's unlikely that you will be able to seated, as doors generally are not opened until 15-30 minutes prior to the ceremony. On the flipside, should you arrive late, also kindly understand that you will not be able to be seated until the wedding party and couple has processed in or you may be unable to be seated for the ceremony (based on the couple's preference for late arrivals). So in short, plan for traffic and make every effort to be there on time to joyfully celebrate with the couple. 

Photo Credit: LaJoy Photography

Photo Credit: LaJoy Photography

2. Notify of any food allergies/dietary restrictions

Along with sending in your rsvp, there may be an option for you to select an entree choice, depending on the couple's catering options. If by chance the couple has opted to serve guests the same meal, caterers can of course still accommodate those with food allergies and dietary restrictions. Should you be vegan, vegetarian, allergic to nuts, or have any other accommodations that need to be made for your meal, kindly notify the couple or wedding planner when you rsvp. The last thing we want is for any guests to have a reaction or become ill at the reception. If you don't have food allergies or dietary restrictions, it is recommended to refrain from requesting special meals or changing the entree you selected on the day of. Additionally, please be understanding that caterers typically do not box up uneaten or leftover food for guests to take home, like a restaurant, so it's recommended not to make this request.

Photo Credit: Rhea Whitney

Photo Credit: Rhea Whitney

3. Refrain from bring uninvited guests

Ok folks, if you want to be an amazing wedding guest, you will shoot to the top of the list by only bringing invited guests. I get it, sometimes you may want to bring a date but you weren't given the plus one option, or perhaps you were unable to secure childcare for your child...regardless of the scenario, it's so important that the number of guest(s) for your invitation be adhered to.

In addition, it's important not to assume that a plus one or other family members were invited just because you were (with the exception of your spouse who the invitation should already be addressed to). The general rule is whomever the outer envelope of the invitation was addressed to are the only invited person(s). For example, if an invitation was addressed Mr. and Mrs. Sean Carter, they wouldn't assume that Blue Ivy, Sir and Rumi can attend, otherwise their names would have been listed, too. For unmarried guests, if you are extended a plus one it should say for example Mr. John Doe and Guest (or the invited guest's name). 

Let's show the couple love and support by respecting their guest list wishes and not requesting to be invited or taking it upon yourself to invite others to come with you. Additionally, swapping out invited guests for uninvited guests is also highly discouraged. Save yourself the hassle of having an uninvited guest turned away at the reception because the wedding planner will respect the couple's wishes.

4. Be mindful of the hired pros

When the couple has hired quality professional wedding vendors, rest assured that you are in for a treat at the wedding, but also that the couple is in good hands and their wedding wishes will be executed. To that end, it is important to be mindful of the couple's hired pros. A few ways you can do this are:

  • Avoid blocking the photographers and cinematographers view. The couple has likely invested in top notch vendors (they have if they are a sensational couple), so the last thing they want is Aunt Jane, Uncle John and Cousin Joe standing in the aisle taking photos and going live on Instagram obstructing the vendors view and worse being in the vendors shots. We get it, you want to capture memories of your loved ones day too, but please know that it's first most important for the vendors to do their job without obstruction. If it is not an unplugged wedding, feel free to take photos in your seat, at your table, and with the couple and guests at an appropriate time.
  • Avoid suggesting changes or additions to the flow of the wedding day. Perhaps there are family traditions you would love to see at the wedding or maybe you've attended many weddings and have great ideas that you think could be utilized. While the ideas may be great, understand the planner can not implement changes or additions to the wedding. We have worked hard to gather all of the couple's wishes and the couple has entrusted us to execute that vision alone.
  • Avoid asking the DJ for song requests. I'm a huge music lover, and many wedding guests are too, so naturally you want to hear your song! And that's totally fine. However, understand that the couple has provided the DJ with the genres of music they like and in many cases specific songs and artists they want to hear. Therefore, allow the DJ the opportunity to not only fulfill the couple's wishes, but also to display their talent and skill.

5. Consider the wedding style in terms of attire

The only attire rule that used to apply was never wear white to a wedding. However, with so many new wedding trends, in some instances guests are actually invited to wear white or all black, when couples suggest color codes. In other instances, couples have black tie formal weddings or the opposite rustic weddings. In terms of attire, my tip is to consider the style of the wedding in an effort to determine what to wear.

Generally, jeans and super casual attire is a no-no, unless it is specifically requested for guests to come that casual. My personal rule of thumb when no style is inferred, is to A) consider the couple's style, venue(s) and invitation for guidance - if it's a super formal venue or invitation then I dress up a bit more, B) generally defer to a dress, and C) my husband generally defers to a suit (if it's not a beach wedding).

Photo Credit: Rhea Whitney

Photo Credit: Rhea Whitney

6. Get out on the dance floor

Don't be a party pooper, get out on the dance floor (of course if you have a health issue this doesn't apply)! Now if you're not the dancing type, no worries. My recommendation is to at least get out there for 1 song, and enjoy cake and conversing with other guests in the meantime. Additionally, if it's an evening wedding, and perhaps you are unable to stay until the end, try to hang around for as long as you can. After all, if everyone leaves early, that would be no fun for the couple, right?! Most of my sensational couples look forward to having a great time on the dance floor with their guests, so don't disappoint them :)

Photo Credit: Rhea Whitney

Photo Credit: Rhea Whitney

7. Show the love

After working for nearly a year or more on their wedding, couples are excited for the culmination of the wedding planning. Show them your love and support for their new life together, by not only showing up to the wedding, but extending personal congrats to the couple. The most common way to do this is to bring a card and wedding gift from their wedding registry or a monetary gift. Additionally, when the opportunity presents itself, tell the couple how happy you are for them, how nice the wedding is/was, and how amazing they look. After all, who doesn't love well wishes and compliments right?!

Photo Credit: LaJoy Photography

Photo Credit: LaJoy Photography

8. Enjoy yourself

Last but not least, all couples want their wedding guests to have an amazing time, so enjoy yourself! Soak up the moments celebrating your loved ones, seeing friends and family, eating a delicious meal, hopping in the photobooth and hitting the dance floor. Many couples work hard to personalize their weddings and create an amazing guest experience, so enjoy it all! When I'm not planning a wedding, I fully enjoy being a wedding guest, as it's a 2 for 1 deal - celebrating people I love and date night with hubby :)


Alright folks, that's my top eight, and I hope you enjoyed them! In the comments section, tell me what you think, and any other tips you would add to this list.

Sensationally yours,

Shalyce

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