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Have a summer wedding (or six!) to go to, and not sure what’s expected of you? Brushing up on your wedding guest etiquette will place you firmly in the “gracious guest hall of fame.” And, if you’re headed to a co-worker’s nuptials this summer, remember you are still the “face” of your company in social settings “outside of office hours.”

Business Etiquette Tips: How to be a gracious guest for a summer Wedding

  • Do: RSVP as soon as the invitation arrives. After all, the bride and groom have many decisions to make based on the number of guests attending. Then, follow through on your commitment. Cancel only for an emergency, not because “something better” came along.
  • Don’t: Take uninvited children or friends. Those whose names appear on the outer and inner envelopes are the only ones invited. If your invitation includes “and guest” or “plus one,” and you’re planning to take a guest, be sure to include the guest’s first and last name along with yours.
  • Do: Send your gift ahead of time to the bride’s address. This polite gesture frees family and bridal party members from having to secure and tote gifts brought to the ceremony. Consider checking the couple’s online bridal registry. Not only can you conveniently select and ship your gift directly to the bride’s home, but many online registries, such as Macy’s, Target, Crate & Barrel, Amazon and Pottery Barn, also offer gift wrapping for a nominal fee.
  • Do: Dress appropriately. No denim, please, or jeans or flip flops. Women who opt for a strapless dress can wear a stylish summer jacket, dressy sweater, or Pashmina during the ceremony, then remove the wrap at the reception. Also, let the bride wear white or ivory; she’s the one in the spotlight! Having some white or ivory in your dress is okay though. Men should wear a conservative suit or jacket, and a not-too-flashy tie. However– if it’s a destination wedding on the beach–then bring out the Tommy Bahama attire!
  • Do: Arrive at the ceremony at least 15 minutes early. Allow for traffic, for finding your way in an unfamiliar city, for late-running taxis, and for a long queue of guests waiting for ushers to seat them.
  • Do: Remember to turn your mobile phone on silent and let calls go to voice mail. Marring the nuptials with your phone’s latest ring tone will certainly land you in the “wedding guest hall of shame!”
  • Don’t: Post wedding pictures you snapped on your smart phone…yet! Let the bride and groom have the honor and distinction of posting theirs first on Instagram or Facebook. And since the bride and groom have likely hired a professional photographer, be discreet in taking your photos and not get in his/her way.
  • Don’t: Talk only to your guest at the reception. Introduce yourself to everyone at your table and make small talk, i.e., you might ask how he or she knows the bride or groom and say how you know them. If they’re from out of state, ask about their travel and city. You’ll soon find commonalities that will keep the conversation moving along.
  • Do: Be mindful of your alcohol consumption. Have a great time, but make sure that Monday morning’s water cooler buzz isn’t about you.
  • Do: Send a gift, even if you cannot attend the wedding. Not only is this considered proper etiquette, it is a gesture that shows your friendship and support for the new couple. Be sure to write a heartfelt note of regret inside the card or gift enclosure.