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Nobody wants to be that wedding guest — you know the one, the had-one-too-many-drinks cousin who ends up jumping in the pool at the reception, or the oh-so-awkward best man who spends his whole wedding toast talking about his failed relationships. Yeah, no one wants to be that guest. But, turns out, even the most well-behaved wedding guests can make minor missteps in their journey as an attendee. Being invited to someone's wedding is a big honor, and you don't want to offend the bride, groom or their families with some silly little faux pas. Luckily, we tapped Sharon Schweitzer, international etiquette expert, author and founder and CEO of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide, for her expert tips on the major etiquette mistakes to avoid. So listen up, wedding guests!
1. Yes, you must send a gift.
Whether it's the neighbor down the hall in your apartment, your niece's cousin once removed, or your very best friend, a gift to the bride and groom is always expected. A gift is a sign of well-wishing as a couple takes their next steps. Use their wedding registry to get gifts that the happy couple truly wants and will use throughout their married life. Pro tip? Don't break the bank, but rather buy a gift that matches the relationship. For example, you'll spend more on your brother than on your distant childhood babysitter.
2. Always RSVP.
Websites such as Appy Couple, and Paperless Post provide options for beautiful digital invitations for couples to reduce their carbon footprint and cut back on the hassle of snail mail. However, RSVP still means respond if you please (respondez s'il vous plait in French). Please make sure you RSVP within the time stated on the invitation to avoid a call from the bride's friend or family member asking if you're attending.
3. Don't be a wedding crasher.
The names on the invitation are the people invited. If you receive a paper invitation, look at the inside envelope. Does it list "and guest," your partner, children or family members? If not, then they are not invited. If a guest is not included, don't ask if you can bring one.
4. Be smart about technology and social media.
Resist the urge to take nonstop selfies and close out of Snapchat. If you must, take a few photos and then tuck the phone out of sight. Before you post anything to Instagram, Facebook or another social channel, check with the bride to see if it's okay to upload photos. It's poor form to Tweet or Facebook the ceremony or reception — think about it: You're sharing a couple's private moments with thousands of people who were not invited.
5. Wearing white is still off limits.
Avoid wearing a dress, suit or ensemble that is any shade of white, ivory, off-white, pearl, ecru, eggshell or cream to a wedding. These colors are reserved for the bride, and if you wear them — she will certainly spot you, and not in a favorable way.
6. Don't rain on the wedding parade.
Don't do tons of shots, heckle the toasts, let your phone ring or buzz like crazy, or use your camera flash to interrupt special moments. Celebrate, find time to congratulate the couple personally, and mix and mingle. Don't spend the entire night glued to your phone or the bar. Celebrate with the ones you love, and meet new friends along the way.
7. Keep your comments to yourself and participate.
Maybe you think the bride throwing her bouquet is a silly tradition. Maybe you don't like the wedding colors. Maybe you think the ceremony was too long and religious. Whatever the case, refrain from making negative comments or not participating. This is not your day and it's not about you.