The dos and don’ts of wedding guest etiquette

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Whether you’re navigating the gift list or trying not to bump into your ex on the dancefloor, weddings can offer up a minefield of awkward moments. But they’re also great fun. To help you make the most of those upcoming nuptials, these are our top tips for minding your manners…

So, your friends are getting married – it’s a wonderful thing. But while it’s tempting to focus on the fact you’re essentially going to a free party (#winning), there are a few things you should bear in mind.

We trust you RSVP’d on time (because the wedding couple could do without any last-minute catering chaos), but what about the big day itself? There are a few things to think about in advance that’ll ensure your ‘best guest’ status remains happily intact.

From booking a handy room nearby and arriving on time to not being too snap-happy with your phone, these are our top tips to brush up on your guest etiquette.


Get them something good

Woman hands holding present box with red bow on pastel pink background with multicolored confetti. Flat lay style.

Choosing the perfect gift can be tricky – especially if you’re on a tight budget. 

Once you factor in the cost of a new outfit, cross-country train tickets and a room for the night, it can be all-too tempting to skimp on the present to save money. 

However, “The rules for wedding presents have changed but the fundamentals still apply,” says etiquette expert Lady Celestria Noel.

“If you’re invited you should give a present, even if you can’t go. Realistically, however, some people will have a lot of weddings to attend in a short space of time, so there’s no need to overdo it. Simply give what you can afford.”

If you’re struggling financially to shell out for something big, why not buy the couple a bottle of wine from the year they met? Ticks the thoughtful box while not breaking the bank, and they’ll appreciate something nice to drink after months of wedding planning.

Turn up on time

This might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how often those postcodes don’t actually take you to the exact field where the reception is taking place. We know, shocking. 

In order to arrive on time and enjoy a relaxing start to the day (something we highly recommend), it’s best to book a room somewhere nearby and make a weekend of it.

With more than 750 hotels across the country, Premier Inn is top choice for convenience, value and a great night’s sleep. What’s more, selected hotels serve a delicious full breakfast until 11am on weekends, so you can have a lie in, get ready in style and arrive on time. They’ve got our vote.

Give them something to gossip about

For every good, close friendship there’s a bad one

As well as being witness to one of the most meaningful days in your friends’ lives, weddings are so much fun.

Which means after the big day is over and the honeymoon tans are beginning to fade, the newlyweds will have a lifetime of memories to savour.

Do your bit to make those memories brilliant by busting out your best moves on the dancefloor or being a pro with the photo booth props. 

Even better, get great-aunt Maggie in on the action.   


Ask to bring a plus-one

Welcoming bright and charming dinner party outdoors in a garden setting with flowers and pink and gold details. Party placemat reading out the name "Erica"

Bad manners aside, weddings are an expensive business – so if a plus-one isn’t included on the invitation, don’t ask to bring one.

The chances are, the couple will have spent months (if not years) planning their wedding, which means they’ve probably had to make some tough choices about numbers, as well as the type of celebration they’d like. 

Asking to bring someone – even if you offer to ‘pay the difference’ – will put be putting them in an awkward position.

So even if you’re desperate for everyone to meet your perfect new squeeze, remember this is someone else’s big day – and you’re there to enjoy it with them.

Be attached to your phone

Photo of just married couple. Guests are throwing confetti in the air.

This one’s a no brainer (we hope).

As excited as you are to capture the confetti and wedding-bouquet moments, be more excited to capture them in real life.

Enjoy the emotion, be present, and don’t get in the way of the wedding photographer. After all, it’s better to look back and see yourself enjoying the day in the official photos than trying to take them yourself.


Finally, a word of advice: don’t photobomb the official photos. 

Wedding photographers cost a small fortune and are there to do an important job. So while it might be hilarious for you to try to get in their shots, they won’t appreciate it – and neither will the newlyweds.

Save the comedy snaps for later in the day when you’re getting down on the dancefloor (then enjoy the flashbacks over a huge breakfast). 

Be the best guest and take the stress out of weddings with Premier Inn