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How to Be the Best Guest, Part 1 | Interview with Casey Marak of CK Collective Events | Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast 

Being invited to a wedding is only the beginning of a gauntlet of etiquette! Whether it is your first wedding or your fiftieth, today’s episode of Wedding Secrets Unveiled! is here to help you avoid committing a major faux pas! Casey Marak of CK Collective Events is here today to provide you with rapid-fire tips on how to be the best guest at the wedding. In this first episode of wedding guest etiquette, Casey walks through the dos and don’ts of RSVP-ing, what to wear, and everything up to the ceremony. Tune back into Wedding Secrets Unveiled! in two weeks for Part 2 of learning how to be a good guest!

How to Be the Best Wedding Guest, Part 1: tips from Casey of CK Collective on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

Meet Casey. 

I’m Casey. I am the owner of CK Collective. We are a boutique wedding planning firm, based in Rhode Island. I started the company in 2023 after working in the wedding circuit in Rhode Island for the past seven years. Now I serve what I like to call the younger generation of brides – the young millennial who’s deep in TikTok and Instagram and who wants to take what they see online and make it real life. We’re booked up for 2024 and are building our 2025 CK Family. One thing that’s super important to me is that every client feels like they’re my one and only focus. Wedding days are emotional and I’m blessed to be a part of it all to help make sure nothing falls to the wayside. They really become like our family and our friends. And that’s something that’s super important to me.

I love it, Casey. And we’ve been working together for quite some time, but it’s nice to now see you on your own and doing your own jam.

Today’s episode is really going to be rapid fire, so we might be all over the place. But there’s a lot of important stuff coming! Sit back, take some notes, and relax about being a wedding guest. 

I feel like first and foremost, the most important thing about being a wedding guest is that the couple hand chose you to celebrate with them. I think a lot of people forget that – and think they may have been obligated to invite you. If you’re in a room with a couple on their biggest day, they want you to be there. That’s the energy you have to come with: you’re showing up to celebrate this couple and be happy for them. It’s not about you. 

Let’s start there – from the moment you get the invitation or even the save-the-date. If you get that save-the-date card and know you’re busy, just tell them. You don’t have to wait for the RSVP. Tell them because there’s other people they may be waiting to invite. The sooner you RSVP, the better. 

And also do not write anything in! Do not write in plus one, do not write in your kids, do not write in your fiance, do not write in your boyfriend. Don’t write in anyone that’s not on the invitation.  

Similar to that. Don’t be offended or take it personally, if you didn’t get a plus one. Or if your kids aren’t invited. Some weddings, especially if they go the more black tie or formal route, are just not going to be a place for kids. And that’s okay. Every couple loves your kids. But, take the night off and enjoy it. If it’s too hard to get a sitter, then sit this one out and celebrate with them later. 

How to Be the Best Wedding Guest, Part 1: tips from Casey of CK Collective on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

Casey, we actually have a podcast all about children at weddings! So our listeners can tune in there for more tips on that topic. 

Love it. If you have a wedding where the kids are coming but don’t want them there all night, you can also looking to those babysitting and nannying services. They’re so great because you could always go in on it with a group and then have all the kids there together. Let them have a fun night and their own little party. 

Back to the RSVP list for a second, what else does a guest need to do when they send that RSVP card in?

So, hopefully the bride and groom know what the RSVP card coding trick is, which is just a little system that planners always encourage when you’re sending RSVPs cards. We encourage you to code the back of your RSVP cards with a number so that you know who’s card it is if they forget to write their name. For the brides and grooms out there, try to choose a card that has the name of your guest as a bare minimum. Guests, fill out the line – it shouldn’t just say “Mr” or “Mrs” and be blank when you return it. 

If there’s not a space on the RSVP card to write your name, put a cute little note with your names on the back. Also – if you have meal options to choose, put your name on the spot – not just a number. Caterers are going to hand YOU a plate, so make sure it’s your name on the line. 

Also, if you have an allergy, it’s very important to write it in at that moment. Please don’t be that guest that calls a month before the wedding to tell the couple/caterer about your allergy. 

Anything else on RSVPs before we move on? 

I would just say to keep in mind that this is the bride and groom’s (most likely) first time doing this. So they’re really excited. Try not to provide unsolicited advice, keep that to a minimum. Just because you’ve been to a lot of weddings or your cousin had a photo booth doesn’t mean that couple wants or needs one. Also, if the bride and groom are telling you things about their wedding, there’s opinions that come with those. Don’t air your grievances. Just be excited. The couple doesn’t need to be burdened with it all. 

You brought up so many good points. First, I totally agree with not bringing something up just because it was at your wedding or at one you’ve been to. From the moment you get that RSVP to the moment you have your last celebratory dance with a couple, do not speak about your wedding, or anybody else’s wedding. It takes away from what’s going on and is unnecessary chatter. 

How to Be the Best Wedding Guest, Part 1: tips from Casey of CK Collective on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

Another point you brought up was the dress code. You have the right to say no if something isn’t going to work with you. Whether it’s a bad day or too formal for what you have on hand, just bow out quietly.  It doesn’t need to be a whole production for the couple. I think the only time you really need to ask about logistics is childcare and maybe the hotel block. Otherwise, you need to fend for yourself. 

Correct. I have a rule with anything in life.  I learned this when I was in college, actually. And I’ve taken it across all areas of my life now: the three before me rule. Use three other resources before you come to ask me the question. Try google, try a friend, or try someone else. But go to three outlets before you go to the bride and groom. 

Unless it’s something that is really urgent or going to affect the day, try not to ask the couple questions that someone else can answer for you. 

Totally. Let’s talk about guest dress code next! 

The worst thing is being underdressed as a guest. Now, of course, the term “black tie” comes with its own slew of opinions, but if a couple is requesting black tie or formal attire, then dress to impress. Why not feel your best? And I think there is a misconception that black tie or formal has to be very expensive. But that’s not the case! You can rent something or you can borrow. It doesn’t have to break the bank. 

And if there is a question whether your dress is black tie or not, ask everybody else before you go to the bride or the groom. There’s so many resources on TikTok, Pinterest, and Instagram to get ideas and be sure your outfit is okay. If you’re a couple, consider making a Pinterest inspiration board for your guests to share on your website. I always say to my brides or grooms, reach for the stars and go for the most formal you want. People will land somewhere in between where you want to be and a step down. 

How to Be the Best Wedding Guest, Part 1: tips from Casey of CK Collective on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

Please don’t underdress! If the invite says black tie, do not show up in jeans! 

Yes, don’t do sneakers or jeans unless the invite specifically says casual. 

What about dresses for women? 

So first of all, know your body type. If you are a bigger chested woman, you don’t need to have them out. You just don’t. This isn’t the Victoria’s Secret one runway, tightness of dresses. If it’s a cocktail wedding where you’re wearing a short dress, I don’t want to come anywhere close to having a wardrobe malfunction. So let’s just go on the safe side there. 

Another thing to consider is if a dress is white or too white. 

I guess the rule of thumb really needs to be: this is not your day. Another one: don’t be the one that kicks off your shoes and dances barefoot. 

Guilty. Do I do it every time? Do I cringe at myself? Absolutely. I get it, but we really shouldn’t be doing that. First of all, buy more comfortable shoes. Let’s start there. And second of all, if you are that kind of person that ends up getting a little crazy on the dance floor and knows that they’re not going to want to be in heels all the time, bring a different pair of shoes to dance in. Bare feet are a liability. 

Some venues that don’t let you have glass on the dance floor for this reason. People are drinking and things are splashing or people are dropping glass and you might not even notice that there was something dropped on the floor before the venue can get to it. It really comes down to safety. 

How to Be the Best Wedding Guest, Part 1: tips from Casey of CK Collective on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

Let’s go back to the ceremony for a second. What do you have for guests about the wedding ceremony? 

Be on time and take your seat. Sit there, don’t get up 1,000,005 times, even if the ceremony isn’t starting yet. And also be a little conscious of your surroundings. Keep our chatter to the minimum when it comes time for the ceremony to start. Take all your pictures of the ceremony space ahead of time. And then this is the biggest thing: put your phone away. I don’t care if the bride and groom didn’t specify that it’s an unplugged ceremony. All ceremonies should be unplugged. You’re there to enjoy and celebrate with a couple.

Yes, even if the ceremony isn’t specifically stated to be unplugged… put the phone away. Oh, also do not post on social media until the couple has done it.

I will have a little bit of leeway with this: if it’s a picture of you and your date or you and your family, I think that’s okay. But no pictures of the bride or groom should be posted before they do. 

How to Be the Best Wedding Guest, Part 1: tips from Casey of CK Collective on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

The other reason is that when most people pull out their phones, it’s the first kiss or the couple leaving. You should be clapping! Not suing your hands for your phone. 

I think another part while we’re talking about celebrating at the ceremony, hooting and hollering, especially in a church or place of worship, doesn’t need to happen. You don’t need to be cheering like you’re at the Super Bowl. Save it for the reception! 

Can we talk about the cash envelope gift? 

So this is a tricky subject. It comes with the utmost respect, because everyone has their own financial situations. Remember, it’s the thought that counts – and you’re there celebrating with a couple. The etiquette on wedding gifting is changing. I think my rule of thumb is that I always try to stick to at least as much as possible to cover my plate. I try to give what I think the cost of my attendance might be. 

I think it also just comes down to knowing what situation you’re in as a guest and being honest with it all. If putting cash into an envelope for a wedding is going to mess up your finances, just decline. You don’t need to push yourself over the edge to go to weddings. 

How to Be the Best Wedding Guest, Part 1: tips from Casey of CK Collective on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

Wrap-Up Question

What are some key points that couples should be letting their guests know about being a good guest?

RSVP on time. Keep in mind the etiquette of a wedding envelope when you do.

Dress to impress, and dress appropriately. 

No cell phones, especially at the ceremony – and no posting on social media before the couple. Also, don’t get in the way of photographers, they paid a lot of money to have a photographer. Let them do their job!

How to Be the Best Wedding Guest, Part 1: tips from Casey of CK Collective on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

What We Discussed

Meet Casey(4:07)

RSVP Etiquette (8:16)

Weddings and children (10:51)

Dress Code Etiquette (21:31)

Dance Floor Tips (32:19)

Wrap-Up Question (47:01)

Links Mentioned in the Episode

Find CK Collective Events at Website | Instagram 

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