When you arrive at the reception, do not hit the buffet line as soon as you get there. The bride and groom always go first, followed by the wedding party. It is also rude to eat and run. Avoid leaving the reception before the dancing or post-dinner activities. If you have somewhere else to be shortly after the dinner, then do not attend the reception.
If the reception dinner is buffet-style, do not go up for seconds, unless you see that everyone has had a crack at the buffet. It would be rude to go up for seconds before all the guests have had a chance to get something to eat. Also, avoid asking for a doggie bag to take food home, unless there are leftovers and you are encouraged by the bride and groom or someone in the wedding party to take food with you.
Overindulging at the bar and becoming a spectacle at the reception is considered very rude. Grabbing the mike and singing “Living La Vida Loca” or pretending you are a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars” will take attention away from the bride and groom.
Avoid gossiping or complaining at the reception. Even though receptions can get loud, it is possible people around you have good ears and can hear what you are saying. Do not complain about the long buffet line, quality of the food, the music, or compare this wedding to another you have attended. Be on your best behavior and keep those opinions to yourself. In the same vein, do not tell rude or embarrassing stories about the bride or groom. This is their special day and you do not want to ruin it by bringing up painful or embarrassing moments
Do not hoard the wedding favors by taking more than one or getting extra to give to people who were not able to attend. Just take one for yourself, unless someone in the wedding party insists you take more. Also, do not take souvenirs from the ceremony or reception. There are countless horror stories of guests walking off with pew bows, centerpieces, and decorations. Sometimes these items are rented and have to be returned. You do not want the bride and groom to start off their married life hawking their wedding rings to pay for the rentals that were taken by guests.
If you are attending the wedding, a gift is expected. The gift should be something both bride and groom can use. Traditionally, wedding gifts were sent to the bride’s home before or shortly after the wedding and never brought to the ceremony or reception. Today, however, bringing the gift to the wedding reception is considered acceptable. Usually, a gift table is set up at the reception for guests to leave their gifts.
If the couple is getting married out of town or having a destination wedding, consider giving them a gift card/certificate or cash. Toasters, linens, and such will need to be shipped back home and this is an added expense newlyweds do not need. If you are unable to attend the wedding or reception, you are not expected to give a gift, but if you still want to give a gift, you can.
The most important thing to remember is to be on your best behavior. Remember, this is the bride and groom’s day; it is their day to be the stars. So show them respect and make sure you do not do anything that makes you the center of attention. Ask yourself, “How would I want my guests to behave?” and you usually cannot go wrong. You can still have a lot of fun by being a respectful guest.
Read Part 1