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8 Pieces of Wedding Etiquette Every Plus One Needs to Know

So you're someone's date to a wedding? Brush up on your etiquette so you can relax and enjoy the day.


Art Credit: Nima Salimi

Bride and groom are not the only ones waiting in anxious anticipation for their summer wedding. Newly coupled guests who have bravely taken the relationship to the next level by checking "+ 1" on the invitation are gearing up for the big day as well.

The wedding date is your big chance to meet your man's nearest and dearest, and you really don't want to give them the wrong first impression. My sister's advice has always been to "dress up and act casual," and that's always been my guiding principle. But according to Diane Gottsman, national etiquette expert, there are a few other things for Plus Ones to keep in mind.

01. Ask in advance if you should bring a gift.

It’s a given that the person inviting will take care of the gift, but you don’t want to be surprised or show up feeling uncomfortable so it’s better to be safe and broach the subject.

02. Don’t expect to stick to your date like glue.

There may be a portion of the wedding reception where you are flying solo, and it’s up to you to mix and mingle with confidence. Don’t hang on your date's arm or hide behind them as if you are uncomfortable in a crowd.

03. Don’t wait for an introduction.

If your date hesitates to introduce you, extend your hand and introduce yourself. Make it a point to be an active participant in the wedding conversation among fellow guests.

04. Get up and dance.

If your date asks you to dance, just do it. No one on the dance floor is a pro and you will look more uncomfortable sitting on the sideline of the dance floor while you watch your date dance with everyone else. And, you don’t want to make your date sit idly by because you are afraid of looking silly.

05. Don’t overindulge on the bubbly.

Pace yourself — you know your limit. Don’t feel compelled to keep up with the rest of the table. Switch to club soda before you stumble or say something you regret.

06. Be a good sport.

If the wedding planner encourages you to participate in catching the bouquet, do it. It’s fun and shows you are a good sport.

07. Take only one goodie bag.

Don’t stuff your purse with multiple wedding favors, even if there are several left at the table. You want to appear as sophisticated as possible, without errant silk string and colored tissue paper hanging from your evening bag.

08. Keep your comments positive.

Even if you plan never to marry or you're just getting out of a nasty divorce, avoid comments like “Better her than me,” or “I’ll never do this again.” Keep your language as sweet as a peppermint twist.

Photo by Taylor McCutchan