There are a lot of etiquette rules in play when it comes to weddings, and just because you're not in the wedding doesn't mean you're exempt from following them. As a guest, what might feel like "not a big deal" to you could easily throw off a couple's big day. Sure, mishaps may still happen, but follow these nine basic etiquette tips to make sure that you're not the source of any of them.
1. Respect the RSVP guidelines
Planning a wedding is already a feat — give the couple a break by not making them chase down your RSVP. Send in your acceptance or regrets by the date requested and do not ask the couple if you can bring other guests/friends/plus ones/children if they were not explicitly invited.
2. Don't change your mind at the last minute
Barring any serious emergencies, you should not change your RSVP at the last minute. The couple's already paid for your attendance and it's just really awkward to have three courses served to an empty seat.
3. Be on time
The couple's wedding day is one structured timeline and what seems like a minor delay of 15 or 20 minutes could seriously cut into their photography session. Show up to the venue before the invitation time but if you are cutting it close, keep a low profile in the back. Never run or try to sneak down the aisle to find a seat right before or after the bride's processional.
4. Follow the couple's social media guidelines
Whether the couple wants no trace of their wedding on the Internet or wants you to Instagram all the moments, respect their wishes. Just under no circumstance should you post a less-than-flattering photo of the bride even if you happen to look really cute.
5. Don't wear white or anything else that draws attention to yourself
Also don't wear anything that is primarily white or a dress in a hue that is really close to white. Other fashion styles on the "no" list: ball gowns bigger than the bridal gown, plunging necklines, and thigh high slits.
6. Stay out of the professional photographer's way
This means phones down during the ceremony and leave your tablets at home. Also if a photographer asks you to step out of a shot, just do it.
7. Don't try to change tables
Creating the seating chart wasn't easy for anyone, and don't take it upon yourself to make last minute changes — even if you suddenly spotted your childhood best friend that you did not know was also coming to the wedding.
8. Smile, have fun, and avoid drama
A wedding is a festive occasion and you're there to celebrate. No sulking in the corner, no rolling your eyes even if Uncle Josh's speech was the worst thing you've ever heard, no badmouthing other guests (or anything really), and never incite drama.
9. Send a gift
Plain and simple, if you were invited to the wedding, you should send a gift. Give whatever is within your means, but never not give anything at all. And always send (key word: send. Bringing box gifts to the wedding is cumbersome for all parties involved) your gift as early as possible — the longer you wait after the wedding, the more likely you are to forget.