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Top Dos and Don’ts of Southern Wedding Guest Etiquette in New Orleans

A NEW ORLEANS GUIDE TO THE FAUX PAS OF WEDDING GUEST ETIQUETTE: EVERYTHING TO KNOW BEFORE ATTENDING A SOUTHERN WEDDING

New Orleans couples craft their weddings with devotion, elegance, and sweet Southern charm to create a night of memorable moments for everyone. The Southern comfort food, classic cocktails, and good times come with great responsibility for guests.

Sending timely RSVPs, arriving in the correct wedding attire, and responsibly drinking are just a few ways to respect the enchanting day. Guests who follow the dos and don’ts of wedding guest etiquette ensure the happy couple has a stress-free evening filled with endless love.

Do Browse the Wedding Website Before Asking Questions

Most couples-to-be have a dedicated wedding website listing all the event details. Before asking the bride and groom questions, guests should browse the website for the dress codes, gift registries, and accommodation.

Do RSVP in a Timely Manner

Guests should RSVP early to ensure the bride and groom have plenty of time to accommodate all guests. If plans are unclear, respond with a yes and notify the couple of any changes as soon as possible.

Don’t Ask to Bring an Extra Plus-One

Always read invitations thoroughly before bringing a plus-one to the wedding. If a guest is allowed, the invitation will address the invited person and their allotted guest. Don’t ask for an extra plus one when the invitation states otherwise.

Don’t Cancel Last-Minute Unless an Emergency Arises

Canceling a wedding RSVP at the last minute is a faux pas all guests should do their best to avoid. No-shows cost the couple money they could put toward their future together. If an emergency arises, notify the bride and groom immediately.

Do Respect the Couple’s Instructions for Children

Some traditional weddings don’t accommodate children, so guests should respect adults-only requests. Wedding invitations will address the guests and family if children are allowed.

Do Follow the Rules of Wedding Gift Etiquette

Wedding gift etiquette suggests referring to the registry first to purchase gifts. Guests should give gifts within two months of the wedding date and refrain from bringing gifts to the ceremony or reception.

Do Follow the Dress Code

Wedding invitations specify the suggested dress code: black tie, formal, cocktail, or casual. All guests should follow the dress code. If in doubt, always dress up, not down.

Don’t Wear White at a Wedding

Wearing white at a wedding is never acceptable. It’s the bride’s special day, and she should be the only person in white.

Do Arrive at the Wedding Venue Early

Guests should arrive at the wedding venue early to avoid missing or holding up the ceremony. Getting to the wedding late can cause distractions for the wedding party and other guests.

Do Abide by the Assigned Seating Chart

Seating arrangements ensure everyone has a seat with their party, and guests should abide by them. Rejecting the assigned seating can cause stress for the couple and the wedding planner. 

Don’t Talk During the Wedding Ceremony

Talking during the wedding ceremony will remove the focus from the beautiful couple saying “I do” at the altar. When necessary, guests should step outside to discuss important matters and avoid disrupting the ceremony.

Do Drink Responsibly at the Wedding Reception

Guests must drink responsibly to avoid obnoxious or distracting behavior. An open bar is an extension of the couple’s gratitude for guests’ attendance, not an excuse to get rowdy.

Do Participate in Wedding Reception Activities

Participate in the bouquet toss, sign the guest book, and enjoy a beat on the dancefloor. The married couple-to-be plans activities at the wedding reception so everyone can celebrate.

Don’t Use Cell Phones at the Ceremony

There is no need for cell phone use during the wedding ceremony. Professional photographers and videographers have the photos covered, and casual phone calls and texts can wait. The couple wants everyone to be present during their special moment.

Don’t Post on Social Media During the Wedding

Refrain from sharing photos of the bride and groom on social media until they post their professional ones. The couple spends a lot of money on images that accurately capture the essence of their big day. 

Do Attend the Ceremony and Reception

Guests should not leave after the ceremony or leave the reception early. An RSVP means guests anticipate attending both the ceremony and reception. It is gracious to wish the couple a happy honeymoon when they make their final exit.

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