So you're invited - that's fab. And now it begins. Sure you need to shop for a frock but there's a raft of other bits and bobs you need to be across to ensure you're a fabulous rather than a forgettable wedding guest. Check our top 21 do's and don'ts for those on the guest list:


1. RSVP on time. It's not hard and it's really annoying and tricky for the couple to plan if you don't, so just do it, and do it as soon as you can. If you know immediately whether or not you can make it, send your RSVP right way, don't wait until the due date for them to sweat the numbers.

2. If your invitation does not say "and guest" then don't bring one - no matter what. If it does say "and guest" then bring someone appropriate, not someone you met online yesterday and whose party tricks you can't predict.

3. Don't ask if you can bring someone if your invitation didn't say you could. He may be your new flame but that doesn't mean he's automatically entitled to come. Putting the bride and groom on the spot to squeeze in an extra isn't showing any respect, it's awkward and kind of rude. If the person left off your invitation is your husband or wife and you're not in the middle of splitsville or renowned for brawling every time you go near an open bar then it's reasonable to carefully ask the question - unless you secretly already know the answer.

4. Kids are in the same boat, if they've not been explicitly invited - then they're not invited. That's that.

The Gift

5. You always need to give a gift. Yes, always. Even if you can't make it to the wedding (send it or drop it off beforehand). Even if you've paid for a flight to get there. Even if you know they don't need anything. It's basic courtesy and thinking you can get away without doing it is kind of cheap.

6. While it's not a golden rule, it's a sound idea to buy from the bridal registry if there is one. Deciding for yourself that they'd be better off with a new shovel isn't usually a winning idea. Of course if you know the betrothed really well and you're sure you've got a smashing plan then go for it. If there's nothing left on the registry in your price range, you can always buy a gift card from the same store.

7. Yes you can give money as a gift but ideally only if that's what the couple has requested - and more and more are doing so via a "wishing well". There's no need to stick like glue to the old rule of thumb that you give what it costs to cover you per head since depending whether the wedding is a backyard barbie or on the ski-fields in Europe that could get a little unbalanced. Give an amount you feel comfortable with - only you know what that is. If the couple has asked for money and you just can't bring yourself to do it, you can give a gift card, wine, perhaps a keepsake, but best to steer clear of toasters and kettles as the wishing well request is a fair hint they've already got them.

8. Don't even think about re-gifting. Save that for your long lost rellies at Christmas.

What (Not) To Wear

9. Pay attention to the dress code and if it's not specified ask a family member or bridesmaid to give you a guide. Don't bother the bride about it, she's kind of busy.

10. Don't wear top to toe sequins on a sunny day or you'll outshine the bride - remember it's a wedding not the Oscars - unless Hollywood glam is the theme and avoid uber-tiny clubbing skirts. The bride's Nanna will probably be there. Enough said.

11. Don't dress in head-to-toe white - that's the bride's prerogative. Hers and hers alone. If you choose to wear black it's a good idea to accessorise with colour - a neon clutch, pastel pumps, a pretty hat. It's a happy occasion not a sombre one. If the invitation was a dead give away as to the colour scheme, try not to wear the same dress shade as the bridesmaids - at least not on purpose.

12. Even if the dress code says casual, it is NEVER ok to wear jeans - no matter how much they cost.

The Ceremony

13. If you're going to the reception, turn up to watch them tie the knot too, it's just good manners and while in some European countries it's customary to only have a small number of nearest and dearest as you exchange vows and a slew of work colleagues and hangers-on in the evening, in Australia that's not the case. Much as you're not doubt looking forward to the after party, the marriage is meant to be the main event.

14. Turn up on time - allow time for a GPS malfunction or parking palaver - it happens.

15. If you missed number 14 and you are late don't rush in all in a lather explaining yourself as the bridesmaids are strolling down the aisle, slide into a pew at the back once the wedding party has finished their walk to the front - you're not meant to be the one everyone is looking at.

16. Respect religious traditions such as covering your shoulders in temple or not talking through ceremony rituals in other languages. You might not know what's going on but you can be pretty sure it's important to them.

The Reception

17. A bit like in school, you need to sit in your place. There's a reason the couple have put you where they have so don't mess with the program even if you're not in the spot you fancied. You can always move around and mingle later.

18. No phones, tweeting, tablets or texting for any reason at the ceremony or reception. Go outside if you must make a call and do it discreetly. Do not post pics to facebook whilst sitting at the table, there's plenty of time to splash it about on social media after the event - but ideally don't post pics of the happy couple before they do unless you've asked first. Be in the moment.

19. Don't get messy. It's a wedding, not your 18th.

20. No photo-bombing the happy couple's snaps or doing the splits in your mini on the dance floor, it isn't the wedding memory anyone wants to go home with.

21. Just like a day at the races, don't ditch your shoes, plan ahead with comfy inner soles such as Party Feet or bring a pretty pair of ballet flats in your bag (or a secret stash of Band Aids).

Haven't found the answer to your question...browse these etiquette Q&A's from our members.

Wedding Guest Etiquette

Daniel Griffiths Photography

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