Things to Know Before You Go to a Wedding: A Practical Guide

When you’re invited to attend a friend or family member’s wedding, it’s an exciting and unique event. However, attending a wedding as a guest can be intimidating for someone who has never been to one before. You may have your own preconceived notions of what a wedding is like based on your interactions with others who have been to weddings before. Each one is different, and there are many things you need to know beforehand in order to make the experience as enjoyable as possible for yourself and those around you so that everyone can have an amazing time. Keep reading to learn more about what you should know before you go to a wedding.

Check Whether You Can Bring A Date

Depending on the size and style of the wedding, there may be a limit on the number of guests who can bring dates. This is especially true if the wedding is taking place in a smaller venue or at home, or if the couple has a small guest list already. When in doubt, ask the bride or groom if you can bring a date. They might have a specific reason, such as space restrictions, for deciding not to allow guests to bring dates.

Understand The Dress Code

There are many different styles and formats for weddings, and each one has a specific dress code. It is important to know the dress code so that you don’t show up in something that is inappropriate for the event. Traditionally, formal weddings are black tie affairs, while a more casual and relaxed wedding may be black tie optional or cocktail attire. If you aren’t sure what the dress code is for the wedding, you can always ask the bride or groom for clarification. If you still aren’t sure, you can always err on the side of caution by dressing more formally.

Find The Perfect Gift

You may be wondering what the best gift to give the newlyweds is. This is one of the most common and stressful questions for guests to attend a wedding because no one wants to show up to the wedding with the wrong gift. If you don’t know what to give, you can follow wedding gift etiquette, such as checking the formal invitation for information, which will help you come up with gift ideas that are appropriate for almost any wedding. 

Get There Early 

You never want to arrive too early when attending a wedding, but you also don’t want to be late. It’s best to arrive at the wedding venue about fifteen minutes before the ceremony is scheduled to begin. This allows you enough time to greet the bride and groom, talk to other guests who are arriving early, and find your seat before the ceremony begins. Arriving early also allows you to get a good seat for the ceremony and view the proceedings, which might be difficult if you were to arrive just in time for the wedding. If you are attending a wedding that has a large guest list, it is best to arrive as early as possible. This allows you time to find your seat without rushing or feeling too stressed out.

Put Your Phone On Silent

You may be tempted to take pictures, record videos, and text your friends during the wedding, but you really shouldn’t. Other guests at the wedding don’t want to be subjected to your phone usage, and the groom and bride don’t want their special day interrupted by a guest with a phone in their face. It’s best to put your phone on silent and keep it in your pocket during the ceremony. If you must use it during the reception, try to be as discreet as possible. 

Sit In Your Assigned Seat

At many weddings, guests are assigned seats. If this is the case at the wedding you are attending, be sure to sit in your assigned seat. If you are not sure where you are supposed to sit, check the seating chart by the door or, if there isn’t a chart, greet your hosts and ask where you are supposed to sit.

Don’t Overdo The Alcohol

While weddings are a great place to socialize and meet new people, don’t overdo the alcohol so that you end up regretting your behavior. Instead, try to drink in moderation and use common sense to determine when you have had too much to drink. Be sure to eat before drinking so that you don’t get too intoxicated and make a fool of yourself, which could ruin the festivities.

Greet The Newlyweds After The Ceremony

After the ceremony ends, you’ll probably want to go up and congratulate the newlyweds. You can do this at any point during the reception; however, it is common to greet the couple after they have signed their marriage certificate. After you have congratulated the newlyweds, be sure to mingle with the other guests and enjoy the rest of the evening.

Plan your Way Home 

Always make sure to plan your way home before the wedding ends. You don’t want to get too drunk and have no idea how you’re supposed to get home. You also don’t want to be the person who holds up the rest of the guests because you are too drunk to drive. If you’re going to be drinking at the wedding, it’s a good idea to call a taxi or Lyft to avoid driving under the influence. Additionally, if you’re driving with a group of people or a designated driver, be sure to stick to this plan so that you don’t have to find a ride home.


Attending a wedding for the first time can be intimidating, especially if you don’t know what to expect or what you should do. It’s important to do research beforehand to know what to expect, and you can ensure you don’t do anything to disrupt or ruin the event. A wedding is a special and unique event, and you want to ensure you follow proper etiquette so you don’t make a mistake you’ll regret. With these things in mind, you’ll be able to attend any wedding with confidence and make sure everyone has a great time.