Forest of Arden’s Wedding Co-ordinators Reveal the Dos and Don’ts of Wedding Guest Etiquette


Many people see wedding etiquette as pertaining only to the bride and groom on the Big Day, but according to Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club’s wedding co-ordinators, Olivia Bevan and Faye Knight, there’s a comprehensive list of dos and don’ts that guests ought to abide by – from the moment they receive the invite, to the minute the ceremony is over.

Albert Palmer Photography

“There’s far more to attending a wedding than simply getting the outfit right and it’s not just the bride and groom who need to be on their best behaviour. Guests have important responsibilities too and a special day can easily be ruined if someone oversteps the mark in some way.”

“There’s still a lot of confusion when it comes to the protocol behind attending a wedding, with various unspoken rules and inadvertent faux pas that every guest should be aware of to ensure the day is as enjoyable and memorable as possible – not just for the happy couple, but for everyone in attendance too.”


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 if a response date has been provided, make sure you stick to it. It’s stressful enough trying to organise a wedding without late responses from guests who haven’t stuck to the timeframe. If there isn’t a response date, reply as soon as possible and if there isn’t a response card be sure to reply using your own stationery.

Dress as the invitation suggests 

you can deduce a lot about the kind of outfit you should be wearing by looking at the type of invite you receive. Is it relatively informal and playful, or is it scripted and traditional? If it’s the former, a smart-casual look will be appropriate while the latter will need formal-wear. The type of venue will also be an indicator – is the ceremony taking place in a traditional church or luxury hotel? If so, opt for a more elegant look that would be deemed suitable for the occasion. If you’re still in doubt, we’d advise choosing something smart, rather than arriving on the day to discover you’re dressed too casually.

Go easy on the drink

It seems like an obvious one, but it’s the most common mistake amongst wedding guests – especially if there’s a free bar! Just remember the Big Day is often a long one, so it’s important to pace yourself and drink responsibly. It’s perfectly acceptable to have fun but a few drinks can easily turn into one too many and, in the worst cases, it could end up ruining the bride and groom’s special day.


When it comes to the wedding gift, be sure to respect the couple’s wishes. If they’ve asked only for money, then that’s exactly what you should give them. If they’ve asked for a gift and you want to go off-registry, perhaps a gift voucher for a special restaurant or an overnight stay in a nice hotel somewhere nearby.  If you can’t attend the wedding itself but you’re relatively close to the couple, be sure to send a gift anyway to share your congratulations.

Posting on social media

Under no circumstances should you post anything on social media about the Big Day without the couple’s permission. They might not want their special day plastered all over Facebook and there’s nothing more frustrating than having the professional photos ruined because all the special moments have already been shared online. If the couple are happy for you to share photos on social media, wait until after the ceremony has taken place.



Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club