Just as much as etiquette tips are important for the happy couple, there are many tips that guests should be aware of as well. There are some fairly obvious ones, but after having the experience of being the Bride, there are some less obvious tips that can go a long way.
Thanks to my MOH's mom and professor, I have a great picture to illustrate a tip that goes without saying "Don't start any fights". Who knows what's actually going on, but its hilarious and I love this picture!
1. Don't talk about someone's divorce to the newly married couple. This is a subject that should be steered clear of, the day is all about fairy tale happy endings.
2. Don't bombard to new couple with cliche sayings like "Soon that will drive you crazy!" or "As long as he takes out the trash it will be ok!" Again, fairy tale optimism. This is a happy day, not one for tame cynicism.
3. DO NOT make a wedding proposal of your own to your significant other you brought along as your date. This one pretty much goes without saying.
4. If you have a card or gift that didn't make it to the designated table, leave it with the Maid of Honor or the Best Man. Usually they will have been appointed the responsibility of keeping track of things like this, and the Bride and Groom will be too busy to keep track of it.
5. Do not approach the wedding couple during the meal. Too often do Brides and Grooms go hungry at the event that took them a very long time to plan and it is a very exhausting day. They will talk to you, let them eat.
6. Take pictures, but do remember that the event is being professionally photographed, so don't get too lost behind your camera or phone.
7. Have a blast. Weddings create a very strong vibe of giddiness, so live it up! No one will remember your bad dance moves, but they will remember if you sit out on all of the festivities.
8. Do what the coordinator says and/or follow previously given instructions. This event has been well thought out for a very long time, don't bombard the couple after the ceremony when you are supposed to be finding your seat at the reception.
9. If you have questions about what you are supposed to be doing or where you need to go, ask the coordinator, Maid of Honor, Best Man, Parents, anyone else- do not ask the Bride or Groom.
10. Ladies- Bring an extra pair of shoes (like flats) heels will hurt after a while! Unless you posses some ability of the Gods.
11. Follow the registry. I can't emphasize this enough. Generally couples put things they really need on the registry. Towels may not seem like the most "fun" gift to get for the couple, but trust me. They really want those towels.
12. Before the ceremony, don't repeatedly tell the couple that this is the "biggest day of their life". It freaks them out.
13. Respect the Bride's choices for the wedding. Don't compare it to your old friend's niece's wedding that you went to 5 years ago.
14. If you are asked to be in a photograph taken by the photographer, SMILE. Don't be a grump in someone's pictures that they will be looking at for the rest of their lives.
15. If you took video of any part of the wedding, be sure to send it to the happy couple! In our case, we couldn't afford a videographer, so this was super helpful and turned out to be a much more personal experience of the wedding.
16. Be sensitive to the Maid of Honor and Best Man, they play a big part and can be nervous too. Especially with the speeches.
17. Don't ask the couple when they are going to have children. They just made a huge step in their lives, let them at least finish this big step before asking about the next one. (Also asking "when" implies they have to. It puts pressure on them and some couples may not want kids.)
18. NEVER EVER SAY "Now what you should have done-". This gives the Bride a license for murder.
19. Dress up! Take this opportunity to wear some of your nicer pieces of clothing, even if it is a more casual wedding, break out the heels you don't get to wear too often. (just make sure you're not fancier than the bride)
20. Arrive early. You'll get better seats and it will be much less stressful!