Being a good guest at a wedding isn't a difficult task. You smile, you listen to speeches, you eat some bland salmon (and say it tastes lovely).

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You definitely do not interrupt the reception by getting down on one knee and proposing to your girlfriend; stealing the thunder from the top table and leaving the bride and groom in awkward horror.

Thunder, stolen: This picture of a wedding guest proposing to his girlfriend in front of the bride and groom at their reception has gone viral. Photo / Reddit
Thunder, stolen: This picture of a wedding guest proposing to his girlfriend in front of the bride and groom at their reception has gone viral. Photo / Reddit

In light of the appalling wedding behaviour that will do the social media rounds for days to come, here are ten specific etiquette rules to attending a wedding, all of which you must abide by.

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1. Arrive on time

Yes, the bride will probably be a bit late. But the groom will be there early, sweating through his suit because guests aren't in their seats on time. You can't blame "bad traffic" for being late to a wedding, so organise your journey in advance. If you are unavoidably late, under no circumstances may you take your seat if the flower girl has already walked the aisle. You'll have to stand quietly and unobtrusively at the back, and slink into a seat after the ceremony.

2. Don't bring anyone not invited

If you weren't offered a plus-one, don't bring one. The girl you met last weekend at Chapel bar isn't worthy of a seat. Absolutely do not bring your kids if they weren't invited, and do not kick up a stink with the bride or groom in the days before the wedding if you can't find a babysitter. Try harder.

3. Don't show up the bride

Somebody else's wedding is not the time to prove you are prettier, funnier, or more intelligent the bride (or groom). This also means no stunts should ever be pulled - inclusive of the aforementioned and totally inappropriate proposal by a guest. Guests are wedding wallpaper. They are there to look nice and add to the atmosphere, but not take away from anything that's going on in the room.

4. Dress appropriately

Always dress to the code stipulated on the invitation. If you are pondering whether you can "get away" with a particular outfit, you can't. If that question enters your mind: yes, it is too casual/slutty/bogan/hipster. Put it back in the closet, and go more formal, and more conservative, to be on the safe side.

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5. Bring a gift

It doesn't matter if you choose from the register, or buy something personal because you know the happy couple will love it. It doesn't matter how well you know, or don't know, the bride and groom. Always bring a gift, and make it thoughtful. Never spend more than you can afford. If the matrimonial couple wouldn't gift it to you, don't gift it to them. No joke gifts, naughty gifts, or gifts with hidden meanings.

6. Respect the bride and groom's beliefs

If a religious or cultural ritual you don't understand is going on, don't scoff. Take it in. You might think Catholicism is a crock, but enjoy the pomp and ceremony of a catholic wedding with the knowledge it is what the bride and groom chose to do; it has nothing to do with you or your beliefs.

7. Behave yourself during speeches

The speeches are boring. We know. But sit quietly, drink your wine, and either listen to them or smile and go on an "island vacation in your head" until they're over. Never roll your eyes. Don't speak over anybody with a microphone. Under no circumstances may you take the microphone off another guest - if a speech goes awry and becomes offensive to all, it's the MC's job to control the situation, not yours.

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8. Don't upload anything to social media

Weddings are one occasion when it's not okay to Facebook, Instagram, or Tweet what's going on. Unless you have been given the okay to post away, keep any iPhone photos to yourself until after the official photographer's snaps are out there on the World Wide Web.

9. Stay until the cake is cut

It is considered okay for those who have early flights, are elderly or unwell, or are otherwise disinterested in a late, drunken night, to leave early. But not before the cake is cut. While you shouldn't feel like a hostage at a wedding, the cake-cutting ritual is the universal moment where you're in the clear and can leave as you wish.

10. If you stay on for dancing, keep it classy

Wait for the newlyweds' first dance to be in full throes before you enter the dance zone. Don't get on tables. Don't get under the bride's gown on the dance floor. Don't de-robe (taking off your jacket is okay), and only embark on a choreographed number if you're a member of the official party and it is pre-planned. When you're hot, sweaty, drunk, and tired, it is officially time for you to step outside for some water and a breather, or go home.

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Posted by Herald Life on Thursday, May 28, 2015