“Etiquette may be defined as the technique of the art of social life” – Lady Troubridge.

It’s not all about the couple you know; guests have a crucial role to play in the proceedings at a civil partnership too. At one time or another, most of us have been at a celebration where the antics of some of the guests have left us cringing. So, if you feel that some of your guests need reminding, it might be worth dropping the odd hint or two on how you expect them to behave at your civil partnership celebrations, just to make sure that everything goes without a hitch.


Being late is not a fashion statement, unless you really want to show yourself up! Guests should arrive a minimum of fifteen minutes before the ceremony begins, so they have time to find their seats and relax.

Taking Photographs During the Ceremony

It’s rude, so don’t do it! The civil partnership ceremony is a highly emotional event, so to interrupt it with your happy snapping is completely unacceptable. Leave it to the professionals; they know what they’re doing!

Wedding Guests Taking Pictures During Ceremony

Sending Gifts

If you’ve received an invitation but are unable to attend, be gracious and send a gift; it will be much appreciated. Note to hosts: make sure you say thank you!

Guests Inviting Their Friends

On no account should guests assume they can bring a date, unless they have been specifically invited. Doing so causes extra expense for the hosts, is discourteous and can cause resentment.


When invited to a civil partnership your RSVP should be within two weeks. Knowing how many people are coming to a celebration is crucial when dealing with wedding venues and caterers. Likewise, if you have to decline the same rule applies. Don’t wait for the question “are you still coming?”.

Getting Carried Away

The whole point of a civil partnership is a celebration – the legal recognition of a loving relationship. However, there are always going to be those who drink far too much champagne and end up embarrassing themselves! If you can see this happening then perhaps a gentle word in their ear might help before things get completely out of hand. If not, try and get someone to act as chaperone so that you don’t have to.

Remember, a well behaved guest is a happy guest… and a very happy couple!

Guest post by Lester Gethings

Image from Pixies in the Cellar