The invites, save-the-dates and new-age wedding apps started coming as early as January. Now, it’s time to get your wedding guest etiquette in order. EBONY tackles all your queries in our Ultimate Wedding (Guest) Guide!

Kelley L. Carter

by Kelley L. Carter, April 01, 2013



Pose Like a Pro

“When you’re taking photos, learn your angles, what pose looks best and always do that when you’re snapping shots with the bride and groom,” says wedding photographer Amber Knowles. “And .remember, it’s not your day.; you want to make the bride and the groom look the best.”

Postpone Posting

“Social media has definitely changed the way we interact. It’s important for guests to remember that there is a hired .photographer. at the event to capture the moments and to document the day, so just be present for the bride and groom as opposed to being involved with social media,” Knowles says.


Chicken or Steak?

“Sometimes you may find you can’t eat or don’t like [the food], says wedding planner Gail Johnson about swapping a dish at the last minute. “You may have to wait a little bit, but they can typically work it out.”

Show Time

“The rule is 30 minutes before the wedding is when guests should arrive,” Johnson says.


RSVP, Pretty Please!

“If you’re not going to the wedding, you should still respond. I’ve talked to several people who said, ‘Oh, I wasn’t going to go, so I decided not to respond.’ But it’s so important for you to let them know whether you’re going. A nonresponse is not a response,” says etiquette expert Elaine Swann.

Money, Money,Money, Money!

“You can tell how much you’re going to spend for a gift based on the registry itself. So gauge your spending.” Swann says. “Also, you have up to a year to purchase a gift for a newlywed.”

For low-cost gift ideas, go DIY and make a CD for the couple who loves to roadtrip, a book of historical love poems for the intellectuals or a throwback picture in a nice frame for your old college roommate.

Toast, Don’t Roast

“If you do decide to partake in toasting, there should be .no mention of past relationships and horrible exes.,”  says Swann. “You don’t want to reveal anything about the person’s past that might be offensive. Also, keep it short, sweet and to the point; your speech should be no more than one to two minutes.” Need help figuring out what to say? Head to and order a copy of former speechwriter Tom Haibeck’s book

Wedding Toasts Made Easy


Location, Location

“Destination weddings give you the flexibility to be more casual. So if you’re going to a wedding on the beach, don’t wear a stiletto heel. You want to be in a flat or a wedge,” says Tod Hallman, fashion stylist and blogger. “For men, this gives you an opportunity to have a more relaxed dress look. Linen can work. And khaki is great for destination weddings.”

Say Yes to the (Appropriate) Dress

 “Be very conscious of the location,” says Hallman. “I recently went to a wedding that was semi-formal/cocktail, but it was on a big estate. It was outside and had a casual feel to it but was still very dressy. Guys should always consider wearing a tie. .Definitely .stay away from denim!.”

Black tie normally means that men wear tuxedos or fancy suits, women wear cocktail, long dresses or dressy evening separates; for a daytime wedding, the general rule is to wear what you might put on to go to church but in dressier fabrics. Chiffon and silk materials with fun necklines work well for women. Men might want to wear nice slacks and dressy shirts. Whatever you do, ladies, stay away from white!


Have Invite, Will Travel

“Typically,a destination wedding is going to cost a guest around $1,500 For a lot of couples, just the guest’s presence is enough,” says Jacqueline Blount, vice president and co-owner of Uniglobe Travel Designers, which is based in Columbus, Ohio. “But we always recommend that you at least bring a card. If you do want to get a gift, get a smaller one costing around $35 to $65.”

Ball on a Budget

“Get on a payment plan with the couple’s travel agent. Put a couple hundred dollars down every month, just to make it more affordable,” Blount says. “But if you can’t afford it, the couple will understand. Don’t RSVP that you’re coming and decide a week before that you’re not going to be able to make it.”

More great reads from Kelley L. Carter

More Than a Pretty Face

by Kelley L. Carter


by Kelley L. Carter



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