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RISMEDIA, July 6, 2007—Over the course of this summer, nearly 132 million people will be guests at a wedding. With peak wedding season in full force,, a wedding and gift registry Web site, has been flooded with hundreds of thousands of questions about what to do and what not to do when attending a wedding. From what to wear to who to bring, guests are clearly confused. To help them, the editors at have come up with a list of the top five guest etiquette dos and don’ts.

Top Five Guest Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts

1. Don’t assume or ask whether you can bring a guest or your children along. According to a 2007 survey, one out of four wedding guests still believe they can bring a plus-one who wasn’t invited. Only the individuals listed on the invitation are invited to attend, so unless your kids have been mentioned by name or it’s been indicated that you may bring a guest, the couple has already made the decision for you – and it is impolite to ask them to make an exception. There are many reasons why the couple may have finalized the guest list the way they did, including costs, level of formality, or venue capacity, so try not to take it personally. If you can’t possibly attend without your offspring, simply decline the invitation politely and send a wedding gift.

2. Do reply as soon as possible. The couple needs to give final numbers to all of their vendors, so a swift reply is essential. Plus, if you reply too late – or not at all – you won’t be included in the final count for seating at the reception, even if you believe the couple “knows” you’re coming. Worse than replying late (or not at all), however, is replying that
you will attend and then neglecting to show up. In addition to the non-refundable cost of your dinner, the couple will be expecting you and will likely be hurt that you failed to attend without warning.    

3. Do dress appropriately for the formality of the wedding. The invitation is your first glimpse of the couple’s wedding style, and may even indicate attire guidelines such as “Black Tie.” If you aren’t sure of the formality, let the season, hour of day, and ceremony location be your guide.

4. Don’t criticize the couple’s decisions or make remarks to them about their choices. It’s their wedding, their budget, and their religious beliefs, so take the day in stride and remember that there are a lot of different wedding styles out there that may not align with yours.

5. Do send a wedding gift before the wedding. Bringing gifts to the reception means someone has to pack them up and cart them away at the end of the day – a very inconvenient chore for a couple headed for their honeymoon. It’s also a myth that you have up to a year after the wedding date to send a gift, so check the couple’s registry early and ship to the address indicated. Additionally, it may not be mandatory to select a gift from a couple’s registry, but it is certainly the safest – and easiest – route to getting them something you know they’ll love.

Marilyn Oliveira, senior editor at, also recommends that guests avoid making these three common wedding mistakes:

Mistake #1: Contacting the couple instead of a travel agent. It may seem logical to ask the bride or groom about travel and accommodations for the wedding, but multiply your calls by 200 other guests, and the couple won’t have time to do anything but organize people’s travel plans. Search for the couple’s personal wedding Web site where you’ll likely find a list of travel and lodging information and more, which you can access anytime.

Mistake #2: Tampering with the seating arrangements. Finding yourself delegated to a table that isn’t to your liking isn’t something you’re entitled to remedy by moving the seating cards around at will. Great effort goes into devising a seating plan for reasons such as separating warring relatives, reuniting old friends, and a myriad of other reasons, and if guests start moving seating cards to make themselves more comfortable, a
whole host of problems could crop up. If you’re unhappy with your table, take your initial seating assignment in stride, and then feel free to mingle once you’ve finished your meal – you’ll probably end up spending more time on the dance floor than sitting anyway.

Mistake #3: Over imbibing at the reception. An open bar is not a license to drink as much as you can before you pass out. More than one wedding day has been wrecked by drunken guests who got out of control after a few too many drinks. Although it may be tempting to take advantage of a premium, open bar, stick to your usual limit and save your hosts – and yourself – from any potential embarrassment getting inebriated might cause.    

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