Keep in mind these quick pointers for being a perfect wedding guest, and you'll help the wedding day go smoothly for the bride and groom. If you've never been to a wedding, these tips will give you some idea of what goes on, and how you fit in to the big picture.
- Make your hotel and plane reservations early, especially if you receive a "save the date" notice.
- Purchase gifts early, and use the registry. It is designed to make your life - and the lives of the bride and groom - easier.
- Respond, or RSVP, as soon as possible after you get the invitation. Only bring a guest if you receive an invitation addressed to you and a guest.
- Dress appropriately. If the invitation says black tie, men should wear tuxedos and women should wear formal dresses. If you are unsure of the dress code, you're safer erroring on the side of dressing up too much.
- Bring children only if the invitation expressly mentions them. Weddings are formal events and typically not appropriate for little ones.
- Arrive 15 minutes before the ceremony begins. Tradition dictates that friends and family of the bride sit on the left and friends and family of the groom sit on the right. Typically, an usher will lead you to your seat.
- Wait in the receiving line, if there is one, to congratulate the newlywed couple and their parents after the ceremony. Keep your greeting upbeat and brief.
- Remain quiet and attentive during toasts at the reception, and while the couple cuts the wedding cake.
- Wait for the bride and groom to have their first dance before you hit the dance floor. Then get up, dance and enjoy the party; the couple will be pleased to see all the guests having a good time.
- Avoid keeping the bride or groom engaged in conversation for too long - they have many guests to greet, and a honeymoon suite awaits them.
If you have questions about attire, whether to bring children to the ceremony, or other logistics, call the best man or maid of honor, who are often much more accessible than the bride or groom.
Remember, the bride and groom want to see and talk to everybody, so don't be disappointed if you don't get to talk with them for long.
Mail your gift ahead of time to make it easier on the bride and groom. If you do bring the gift, take it to the reception and place it on the gift table.
Don't question or point out to the bride, groom or immediate family why certain traditional elements may have been left out of the couples' ceremony and reception. They have planned their wedding for months to contain only the elements they love.
Remember, the bride and groom want you to have a good time, too. Take this time to enjoy family members you have not seen in a while or dance the night away with your Significant other.