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The top 5 etiquette rules all wedding guests should be following, according to an expert – including the ‘worst thing’ you can do a a guest

Weddings are full of nerves and excitement and often come with a lot of questions, can I bring a plus one? Can I take photos? What should I wear?

Etiquette expert and former royal butler Grant Harrold has delivered the answers to these burning questions, providing guidance for guests who might otherwise be left clueless.

Speaking to wedding planning resource Guides for Brides, Grant Harrold has shared his advice on how to behave as a guest at a wedding, explaining the top dos and don’ts for a loved one’s big day.

He explains why it’s better to overdress than underdress, how to make your exit, and why caution should be exercised before making a social media faux pas.

Speaking to Guides for Brides, etiquette expert Grant Harrold reveals:

The worst thing a guest can be is late

“The guests should always be on time, the worst thing you can be for a wedding is late, the only person that is allowed to be late is the bride, not even the groom. They should always ensure they are there before the bride. Whatever time is on the invitation I would be there at least 15 minutes before the groom is due to arrive. With royal weddings, guests are there hours before, but with a normal wedding I would say 15 to 20 minutes before the invitation states the service is due to begin.”

Posting on social media without the couple’s permission is disrespectful

“With a wedding, it’s very personal to that couple whether they want anything posted on social media, but posting live information without permission is disrespectful. You should wait until after the wedding but it’s also important that the couple getting married give their permission to take videos and photos. Don’t assume it’s something you should do, let them tell you, and certainly don’t assume you should post them. It is very tacky if you have been asked not to post and decide to do it anyway, it’s bad etiquette.

“For the couple getting married, you have to think about social media and let the guests know in advance. You may also want to ban anyone from taking their phones out at the event or during the ceremony so you have to think about all these things. As a guest, if you have been allowed to use your phone to take photos and videos, it’s generally advisable to wait until after the couple have posted on their social channels themselves before you post to yours.”

It’s better to overdress and don’t forget a gift

“Men tend to overdress, it’s better to overdress, you can always take a tie off. The invitation should state the dress code, whether it’s modern suits or national dress or casual. For ladies it’s slightly more difficult, you have more options with day dresses and evening dresses but again it’s better to overdress.

“The most sensible option for gifts is for the couple to arrange a gifts table or for guests to arrange for anything large to be delivered after the wedding. Meanwhile, some couples may decide on a gift list, which guests should attempt to stick to as much as possible. It saves people wasting money on unwanted items, while the couple are also receiving exactly what they want.”

Don’t bring a plus one without an invitation

“No you don’t take a plus one, if the invitation states your name, then you go, if it states a guest then obviously you can. Don’t ask for a plus one unless it’s been stated. If you are one of the oldest friends and they know your partner but for some reason they haven’t been invited you could bring this up and discuss it.”


Don’t forget to say goodbye – but you can do it early on

“The best way to say goodbye is to at some point during the evening thank the bride and groom for the invitation which means that later on if you have to leave without saying goodbye you have shown your appreciation.

“If there is an opportunity to say goodbye then that’s best but it can be awkward if you want to leave early so use your discretion on the day as to what is the best way to do that.”


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