Between being a wedding planner for many years and having a large friend/family network, I've attended a lot of weddings. With each one, I've found there are two types of guests: the good and the who-invited-that-person. I wish I could stand at the entrance to each wedding and pass out a list of tips on how to be a good wedding guest. I'd then make the guests sign a contract stating that they'll comply to each bullet point. Unfortunately, I can't. But I can share my thoughts with you in hopes that the word will start to spread.
Don't get obnoxiously drunk. Indulge a bit. Have a good time. Act a little goofy. By all means, it's a celebration! But figure out how many drinks it will take for you to either a.) pass out or b.) do something that will embarrass yourself or someone else, and stop indulging two drinks before that. Trust me. You do not want to wake up to the incriminating photos. I'm sure I don't even need to talk about drinking and driving so I won't.
Do attend the ceremony. Unless you get a flat tire on the way there or have some other crazy extenuating circumstance, there is no excuse for only showing up only for the reception. It's tacky and makes you look like you're only there for the free booze and food. You very well might be, but attend the ceremony anyways.
Do let the photographers do their job. Don't be an Uncle Bob (all the wedding photographers reading this know who/what I'm talking about). I know you might have a fancy schmancy camera or maybe just an iPad, and you think you want lots and lots of pictures of all the important moments. But don't get in the way of the professionals. They were paid big bucks to be there; you're there to celebrate and enjoy yourself.
Don't add a photo of the bride to social media before she walks down the aisle. You would think this goes without saying but I've seen it happen. Don't ruin that moment the couple has been waiting for because you're anxious to Instagram.
Don't remove any articles of clothing. Guys, jackets are ok to come off but keep your ties and shirts on (I can't believe I have to say that either). If you get too hot, drink some water or sit outside for a few minutes. But don't let yourself look sloppy by striping down to your undershirt (or bare chest, like I've seen on one more than one occasion). Ladies, I know some of you like to take your shoes off. This gives me the willies. I suggest planning ahead and bringing flats or flip flops if you plan on tearing up the dance floor.
Do purchase a gift from the registry or give cash or gift cards. This is tricky and I'm sure a lot of readers won't agree with my opinion. Yes, technically, it is the thought that counts and the couple should be grateful that you were kind enough to even give them a gift. But I'm willing to bet that they would much rather have the coffee pot they registered for over you going rogue and purchasing something that you "just know they'll love." The couple took the time to create registries of items they really need or want. Unless you really, and I mean really really, know a couple's taste, don't purchase something that isn't on one of those lists. If you don't heed my advice, at least provide them with a gift receipt.
Do RSVP and do it on time. Hey, you know those little cards that are included in the invitation that ask if you're attending or not? Those ones that come with the pre-stamped envelope? (It literally couldn't be any easier for you.) Yeah, you're supposed to fill those out and send them back. By the date requested. Make the bride and groom's lives a little easier by not making them track you down after the RSVP date to find out if you're attending or not. Bonus Tip: If you have to cancel last minute, do let someone (bride, groom, mother of the bride, wedding planner, someone, ANYONE!) know.
Don't ask to bring a guest if one wasn't included on your invitation. Oh, and don't just bring someone along anyways. I'm sure there is a reason behind why "and guest" wasn't included on your invitation...be it budget issues, capacity constraints, or who knows what (it doesn't really matter since it's not your wedding). Asking to bring a date along, or worse yet, not asking and just showing up with a plus one, costs the couple money, messes with seating arrangements, and is a tad bit disrespectful. Just don't.
Ladies, don't wear white. Don't even think of wearing white. This is a given. But I'd advise to also stay away from anything that is mostly white even if it has a pattern, or ivory, very pale pink, or flesh tone. It's the bride's day. Also, don't wear anything that shows off too much cleavage or leg. A wedding is a classy affair. If you're on the fence about whether something is inappropriate, it probably is.
If there are favors, take only one. Don't be greedy and fill your hands, arms, and pockets. Most of the time, favors are meant to be one per person or one per couple. Make sure you don't take more than your fair share and that you've left some for others to enjoy. Unless, of course, it's the very end of the night and there are a ton left over. In that case, fill up and bring me some too.
Follow these tips and you don't be one of those who-invited-this-person guests!