Make no mistake here, as a Guest, there is a way to do things at a traditional wedding, that follow a certain amount of etiquette and protocol.
The first thing a Guest must do is reply formally to the invitation. You must let the Family know that you are coming. Food, when it is provided, forms quite a bit of any wedding budget and it is bad form, even if you are not going, to not reply because the caters need to know how many are coming.
Then there is the gift. Ideally chosen from a wedding gift list. You can if you are clever, go for one of the larger items that individuals may struggle to afford, by joining with others that are going and all chipping in to make up the amount needed to purchase said item.
The next most important thing is to arrive where instructed punctually. Even a little early to avoid rushing at the last minute. It is OK for the Bride to keep you waiting a few minutes, but not the other way around.
If children are present, then it is the parents’ responsibility to make sure that they are under control and well looked after. It is not fair on the Bride and Bridegroom to have children running riot or making a noise during crucial parts of any ceremony or having them upstage the couple with their antics. Ahhhh is one thing, Arrrrrrgh is another!
It is important that when a Guest meets either set of Parents and or the Bride and Bridegroom that they remember to thank them for their kind invitation. If a Receiving Line is being run this is the one thing along with congratulations that should be said as you pass down the line. (More about that in Chapter 10.)
Guests should listen to instructions given by any of the bridal party, a Wedding Coordinator or if present a Toastmaster, and follow them swiftly. This follows the issue of being punctual. If asked to go and take seats at the wedding breakfast, it is important that they go immediately rather than hang around chatting and thinking they will go when they are ready. There will be a schedule of events and by adding to lateness can cause real problems, especially with the service of food. Remember as a Guest it is not your day, it is theirs.
Gentlemen should keep their jackets on, even at table, and ladies should keep their fascinators in place. That is unless the Bride gives them permission to remove them!
Confetti should be thrown only when and where instructed.
Finally, it is not thought good form to heckle during the speeches. One should listen and only react when encouraged!
So that is what used to be important, this is what is important today……..
Well actually it all still applies. You should follow instructions given and if you do, everybody will have a wonderful day.
As for removing jackets and fascinators, it is amazing how many people think they should just walk into the wedding breakfast and remove them! It makes for a bit of fun when as a Toastmaster I get to announce “….. And gentlemen, for those of you who have not already removed your jackets, you NOW have the Brides permission to do so!” It normally gets a chuckle from partners and the occasional elbow in the ribs for offenders.
The Etiquette of Wedding Toasts