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How to Be an All-Star Wedding Guest

Posted on June 21 by Molly Gregor

A Wedding at Windows on the Water - New Jersey Bride
Jeff Tisman Photography

It’s wedding season! Chances are you have a number of weddings on your calendar for the season.  As a professional in the live events and entertainment production industry for 25 years, Marcello Pedalino of MMP Entertainment and Event Production in New York City has seen just about everything you could imagine that would land a guest on Youtube for all the wrong reasons.

“No matter what anyone says, etiquette is a learned art,” Pedalino says. “In other words, simply putting cash in an envelope and showing up with a smile won’t cut it if you want to be a memorable guest. (Although that’s a very good start!) Follow this advice if you want to be a classy, chivalrous, and gracious guest the next time you’re invited to a milestone event. Before you know it, people will start talking and you’ll be known as the guest everyone can count on!”

Here are Marcello Pedalino’s nine golden rules of wedding guest etiquette:

1. Be classy. Regardless of who paid for the reception, acknowledge both sets of parents or living patriarchs upon arrival and then again at the conclusion of the event.

2. Be punctual. In addition to RSVPing in a timely manner, arrive to the ceremony when asked to be there. Don’t be the guest fumbling down the aisle searching for a seat seconds before the bride makes her entrance. Unfortunately, “fashionably late” isn’t fashionable at all in this case. As an early arrival you can also help set a positive tone and festive vibe for the rest of the reception. It’s also a great opportunity to take care of Tip #1!

3. Be quiet. Believe it or not, there are still times when a fairytale ceremony or the perfect reception toast is interrupted by a clueless guest who didn’t set their phone to vibrate or took too long to stop chatting it up at their table. Everyone notices (and shoots dagger eyes at) that person. To avoid those angry looks, simply turn it off.  If you absolutely need 24/7 access to your phone, utilize texting on mute, sit in the back of the pack during the ceremony and/or quietly excuse yourself from the reception if you have to take a call.

4. Be proactive. If you are uncertain about the dress code, not sure if the menu will accommodate your food sensitivity, or wondering if you have been granted “plus 1” guest status, don’t unnecessarily distract the bride and groom the day of to see if you guessed correctly.

5. Be helpful. Depending on the ceremony and reception location, there might be an event planner, wedding entertainment director or maitre d’ on site to take care of all the little things. However, making sure that grandma has a good seat for everything or that a little piece of trash gets picked up from the ceremony runner is a nice way to lend a helping hand when needed. **Note: This day is not about you. Don’t worry about getting credit for your good deeds.

6. Be present. When the dancing begins, help get the party started by putting your phone away and warming up the dance floor. You’d be surprised how many people will join in! Everyone is waiting for that one person to break the ice. You don’t need to have the moves like Jagger or a lot of Travolta swagger either…just put down the phone and live in the moment. There will be plenty of time to use that obnoxious selfie stick, update your Facebook status and get in the way of the photographer later on.

7. Be considerate. Speaking of which… seriously, don’t ever get in the way of the photographer.

8. Be selfless. If you need to leave early, regardless of the reason, just leave. No big announcement is necessary…especially when the guests of honor are trying to enjoy the final portion of their once-in-a-lifetime celebration.

9. Be responsible. The high school and college nonsense is over. No one wants to see a sloppy drunk on the dance floor. (Or anywhere for that matter.) Despite how Wedding Crashers may have glorified sophomoric behavior, being the cool guest isn’t about getting hammered, initiating cringe-worthy situations or making sure you hookup with the hottest guy/girl you see.

“The reality is, an invitation by a friend or family member to be a guest at their wedding is an honor,” Pedalino says. “Have a blast and party on, but use common sense and remember to do your part to help make this one of the most fabulous days of their lives.”


Marcello Pedalino
 is the executive director of MMP Entertainment & Event Production in New York City and author of the new book, “Celebrate Life: How to Live it Up, Discover Fulfillment, and Experience the Joy You Deserve.” (www.CelebrateLifeBook.com).

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