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Wedding Etiquette: Do’s And Don’ts Of Being A Guest




Being an event coordinator has really opened my eyes to a lot of good things and silly things guests do at events, especially weddings. I found out a lot of Nigerians do silly, unimaginable things at weddings, birthday parties too. The corporate events are much better because I believe guests seem to realize that maybe the MD of the company is around or they just know that they have to be well behaved. But it’s not the case with the social events. From food, to drinks, to souvenirs, to the way ushers are being treated. Some guests at weddings could be very nasty. Today I’ll be discussing wedding etiquette for the guest. Maybe you think of wedding etiquette as pertaining only to the bride, but there is, in fact, a long list of do’s and don’t’s you should abide by as a guest, from the moment the invitation gets to you until after the happy event has occurred.

1. Arrive At The Ceremony On Time.

Nigerians are so used to ‘African Time’. It’s better you leave
ahead of time to get to the wedding or even enough time to get lost on
the way or time for traffic . Don’t think “I’ll just slip in when the
reception is about to start.”

2. Dress As The Style Of The Invitation Suggests.

We all know that you can hardly be invited to a Nigerian ‘Owambe’
without a Colour scheme or Aso Ebi being sold. Take for instance if
the Colour of the event is red and gold, it’s appropriate that you buy
the Aso ebi. Although, Aso ebi’s are quite expensive these days but if
you don’t have the money to buy you could do a red dress with gold shoes or accessories. Never dress off the Colour of the day. If you’re unsure of the dress code, ask someone
familiar with the wedding, perhaps a bridesmaid or member of the
bride’s family, but not the bride herself. She has her own dress to
worry about.


3. Sit At Your Assigned Table.

As a wedding coordinator, there’s a lot of thought that goes into
these seating arrangements, the bride, groom and their families
actually spend time thinking about the various relationships they have
with their guests and the certainly want them to be very comfortable. Don’t sit at a
table that is not assigned to you. I remember a scenario at a wedding,
a guest and her friends sat at a table that was reserved for the
bride’s parents. An usher walked up to them and politely said the
table was reserved for the bride’s parents and asked them to move to
another table. The woman then said (in Yoruba) “ti won ba bi e daa wa
gbemi kuro ni bi” aside that she practically cursed the girl. We had
to make arrangements for seats for the bride’s parents.

4. If You Weren’t Invited With A Guest, Don’t Show Up With One.

A lot of Nigerians make this mistake of inviting another guest
when you are meant to be the only person invited and I really do not
know why we are used to this behavior of taking a friend along to a

5. Don’t Be Disrespectful Of The Couple’s Religious Or Cultural Traditions.


That might mean covering your shoulders in church or mosque(as a female) or being quiet during a rite you don’t quite understand. It’s best you’re quiet when those kinds of things are going on and pay attention.

6. Give Thanks.

As a guest at a wedding, you should make a point to introduce yourself to the bride and grooms’ families and express your thanks. If you can site a specific element of the wedding that stands out in your mind as memorable, include that in your conversation.

7. Drink Responsibly.

Booze at a wedding is always tempting, but limit yourself to a few drinks. You don’t need to get completely intoxicated to be social and gregarious. And you don’t want to be that person who is drunk and making a scene. Have fun though. The point of a wedding party is to have fun and celebrate with the newlyweds. So, eat, drink, dance and partake in group activities.


8. Treat The Venue Kindly.

Once the DJ cranks up the music, it can be easy to forget you’re partying on rented property. To score the space, the bride and groom took responsibility for keeping it intact by signing a contract and most likely putting down a deposit. To ensure they get their money
back, your friends are looking to you to treat the hall well. And that includes the toilet.

9. Table Talk.

When seated at an assigned table, engage in conversation by finding out how the others came across the bride and groom, where they are from and even their occupation. You could discover a love interest, new friend, or potential business contact.

10. Don’t Be All About Your Wedding.


If you’re getting married soon after the wedding you’re attending, congratulations! Today, however, belongs to the bride of the moment. Consider your own wedding to be off topic except if you have to pass a vital information to your friends.

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