I’m going on the assumption that if you are attending a wedding, you like the people getting married enough to make an appearance and celebrate their happiness.
Perhaps you were very generous with a monetary gift, or traveled a few hundred miles to attend the shindig. These are obvious gestures that the couple means something to you.
Don’t undermine your efforts by failing to show respect during the ceremony. Be consistent in showing your love and respect to the couple by being polite during their ceremony.
If you are a bride or groom reading this, you might consider mentioning some of these tips on your invites, such as a request for an ‘unplugged’ wedding or any request that is important to you.
Once you arrive to a wedding site, the obvious first instinct is to mingle with friends and family who are also arriving who you may not have seen in three years. That’s why you’ve all been invited to the wedding, to share this celebration with people who have been brought together in love and friendship. You’ll have cocktail hour, you’ll have a few hours of reception time and dancing. When you get to the ceremony location, wave to each other and take a seat!
Show up on time. If the ceremony start time says 4:00, get there by 3:45, even earlier if you can, and yes, take your seat. Once the mothers of the couple take their seats, it is rude for guests to take their seats before the bride has entered and taken her spot at the head of the altar. Once the mothers are seated, the only individuals who should be walking down the aisle are the officiant and the bridal party, and then of course, the bride. If you find that the processional has already begun, have the good manners to wait until the bride is in place before you enter the space to take your seat. And don’t take that opportunity to chat up the bride. Leave her alone, she’s about to make her grand entrance and might be focused on being with her dad, or whoever her escort is, for the last time as a single woman.
Turn off your cell phones! Don’t be the person whose cell phone rings during the ceremony, and certainly don’t text during the ceremony. There will be professional photographers there who will get lots of images from the vantage point of the guests. Do you really want to be the guest caught texting during their ceremony? Be present in the moment! It would be a courteous gesture to ask the couple if you can even take photos with your cell phones. If you can, stay in your seat. Don’t stand up or ever, ever block the professional photographer who is being payed gobs of money to get the best shots. That first kiss only lasts so long and if you suddenly block the photographer to get your shot, you’ve pretty much ruined their photo album.