How to Be a Good Wedding Guest

Wedding parties and receptions can be a fun time to interact with old friends and celebrate with relatives, but if you don’t know many people it can be socially uncomfortable. Even if you do know a good majority of wedding guests, there are some reception rules to follow for maximum – and appropriate – fun.


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    Mix, mingle and move around. The best way to meet people and interact at weddings is to explore the different areas of the party to see where other like-minded people might be gathering. If you are rolling solo, see if there are any other singles mixing around the bar or mingling by the buffet, and strike up a conversation. Giving someone a compliment is always a great way to initiate a dialogue. Try, “I love your dress, that color looks great on you! I’m Stacey and I used to work with the bride. What’s your name?” And try to seal it with a handshake (if your hands aren’t full with food or drinks) to make it more personal. If you know several people at the wedding and spot some singles, make the grand gesture of going up to them and introducing yourself and possibly some others you know there.
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    Reach out to relatives. Often, one of the most uncomfortable things about attending a family member’s wedding is seeing all the relatives you haven’t seen in years. Although it may be somewhat awkward, it’s important to make a point of interacting with your relatives. Sure, your great Aunt Helen won’t be able to stop talking about “how much you’ve grown,” but connecting with family members, especially ones from out of town is part of the wedding celebration. Be prepared to tell relatives what you’ve been up to in your personal and professional life and direct similar questions to them. Before your know it, you’ll feel like family again!
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    Table talk. When seated at an assigned table, you should introduce yourself to everyone else at the table. The bride and groom put you at that table for a reason, so utilize the seating arrangement to get to know some of the other guests. Engage in conversation by finding out how the others know the bride and groom, where they are from and even their occupation. You could discover a love interest, new friend, or potential business contact.
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    Give thanks. As a guest at a wedding, you should make a point to introduce yourself to the bride and grooms’ families and express your thanks. If you can site a specific element of the wedding that stands out in your mind as memorable, include that in your conversation. Try: “Hi Mr. and Mrs. Thompson. I’m Harry and I work with your daughter. She’s a beautiful bride. Thank you for a spectacular evening. The photo booth was a fun touch. Congratulations to you both.”
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    Imbibe and feast in moderation. Free food and drink at a wedding is always tempting, but limit yourself to a small amount. If appetizers are available, help yourself to a small plate. After all guests have been served you can help yourself to seconds if there is still food available.
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    Have fun. The point of a wedding party is to have fun and celebrate with the newlyweds. So, eat, dance, partake in group activities and enjoy talking to familiar and unfamiliar people.

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Categories: Speaking | Ceremony & Reception