It’s that time of year when the world falls in love, gets engaged, and you get invited to 47 weddings. To some, summer means weekends at the cabin, BBQ’s, and beach time. To most, it’s Wedding Season.
Being a guest these days is much harder than it seems. It requires attention to detail, knowledge of etiquette, punctuality, and style. It comes naturally to some, but many of us need training.
It’s also expensive! Did you know the average guest will spend $673/wedding this year? Start saving.
Anyway—before you prep for your summer of nuptials, you should know what not to do. What wedding guest faux pas are the worst? Here are my top 33.
The 33 Worst Things a Wedding Guest Can Do:
Photos by Rebekah Hoyt Photography
**I want to clarify that these photos are not examples of the worst wedding guests–in fact, quite the contrary. I wish I could have attended this reception!
1. Forget to RSVP.
That date is there for a reason. Couples need to tell their coordinators and caterers how many people will be attending so they can plan accordingly. Don’t force your friends to harass you for a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The postage is pre-paid—just check a box and send it off.
2. Ignore the registry.
You may have an inside joke about a certain board game or your eyes set on the perfect stemware, but your friends made a registry for a reason. I know a set of spoons or that Martha Stewart spatula may not be very exciting, but they need them. Make sure whatever you purchase is checked off the registry and you always provide a receipt.
3. Forgo a gift if you can’t go.
If you’ve been invited to a dozen big days, this one is hard. But you have to send a gift or check to the couple—even if you’re not attending.
4. Bring the gift with you.
Unless you’re slipping some cash into a card, do NOT bring the gift with you. Use the shipping address provided on their registry. No one in the bridal party wants to spend an hour stuffing gifts into their car at the end of the night.
5. Show up last-minute.
If you RSVP’d ‘no’, you cannot just show up unannounced. It will not be a “nice surprise.” If you realize you can attend a week before, notify the bride or groom and accept their response no matter what.
6. Bring kids to a kid-free wedding.
If your children are invited, your invitation will say “Smith Family” or have every name listed. If it’s not clear, do not make assumptions! Contact the bride and ask.
7. Bring a date when you weren’t given a plus-one.
Did you know one guest can cost the newlyweds almost $100? Showing up with a rando is a definite faux pas.
8. Wear white, ivory, or even blush.
White and ivory are pretty obvious, but bridal gown colors are expanding! Lots of brides wear blush, nude, or even icy blues. If you can, get the gown color from a bridesmaid before you buy your attire. You may want to get the bridesmaid dress shade too, unless you want to be mistaken for a member of the bridal party all night.
9. Dress like you’re going to a funeral.
Black used to be on the lists of colors to avoid, but I think it’s acceptable with certain dress codes. If the nuptials will be celebrated in the middle of summer, outside in a casual atmosphere, you should avoid black. If you’re attending a more formal affair, then go ahead and rock an LBD
10. Compete with the bride.
You can look good, but don’t go over-the-top. Avoid any attire that will draw too much attention—good or bad. All eyes should be on her, not you. You’ll have your day…
11. Bombard the bride before the ceremony.
Many close family members and friends think it’s acceptable to crash the bridal suite before the ceremony. Um, no. If you weren’t personally invited by the bride or bridal party to stop in and say hello, then wait until the ceremony like every other attendee.
12. Skip the ceremony.
Don’t just show up for the free food and drinks! You’re sort of missing the whole point of the wedding if you do.
13. Show up late.
Don’t be late to any part of the day. It’s just plain rude.
14. Chit chat when you’re not supposed to.
Don’t whisper (quite frankly, no one can do it quietly) during the ceremony, speeches, or any other part of the day when you’re supposed to be quiet.
15. Text, Snap, Tweet, Insta, etc.
Put that phone away and pay attention! How sad would it be if the couple looked out at their guests and saw faces glued to screens? Also, turn it off. We wouldn’t want that embarrassing ringtone to go off during the vows.
16. Ignore every religious ritual.
If you don’t share the religious views of the couple, that’s OK. Just try to follow along and take part when you feel comfortable. You don’t have to kneel with the other guests if you don’t want to, but stand and sit when asked and always remain respectful.
17. Get in the photographer’s way.
They’re getting paid a lot of money to capture as many memories as possible, so stay out of their way! Don’t block their shot or walk in front of every photo you can.
18. Share photos on social media.
A lot of weddings have an assigned hashtag so guests’ photos can be saved. If that’s not the case, don’t share pictures of the newlyweds until they give you the go-ahead. They may want their professional shots to be the first ones the public sees.
Try to keep those negative comments to yourself. If you don’t like the food, flowers, or décor, just don’t use them at your own wedding.
20. Blow off the receiving line.
This may be your only chance to congratulate the newlyweds! Don’t blow it off.
21. Change into casual clothing.
No, you can’t throw on jeans or shorts for the reception. Dress in comfortable attire you’ll love all night.
22. Pick your own seat.
The seating chart took that poor bride a long time. Please stick to it!
23. Switch food orders.
Remember that RSVP card you sent in so long ago? That box you checked determined the exact amount of food the expensive caterer would prepare. Switching will cause some serious headaches.
24. Get stupid drunk.
This one is obvious, right? An open bar is not an invitation to see how much you can drink before passing out. Some big days even restrict shots for this reason. Have fun, but know your limit.
25. Have an emotional breakdown.
An open bar and steady intoxication can often lead to intense emotional sharing. I’m sorry your partner hasn’t proposed yet or you just got dumped, but tonight is not the night to share it with everyone you meet.
26. Leave ridiculously early.
The unwritten rule is to stay until the cake is cut. This is most often done before the dancing even starts, so you’ll make it.
27. Opt out of every tradition.
Maybe you don’t feel like catching that bouquet or garter, but you can’t be the only one who sits out. Stand in the back and let those over-ambitious guests dive for their luck.
28. Make an informal toast.
If you weren’t asked, do not make toast! Just don’t. Have I made myself completely clear? DON’T DO IT.
29. Request songs unless asked.
Many couples will create a “Do Not Play List”. More often than not, these lists include songs like “Electric Slide,” “Chicken Dance,” or “Y.M.C.A.” If the DJ asks for requests, go ahead and make them. But he may deny you of your cliché group dance.
30. Grab the mic.
The DJ will have a microphone for announcements and the like. You are not allowed to use this for any reason.
Talk about stealing their thunder! If you’d like to propose at someone’s reception, you must ask permission.
32. Steal décor.
Sometimes centerpieces and random décor is up for grabs at the end of the night, but make sure you get permission before snagging that vase or flower arrangement.
33. Ditch without saying goodbye.
Always pull the bride or groom aside to say a quick “goodbye.” Do not forget to say “thank you” as well!
Any other wedding guest faux pas?
What other no-no’s do you think should’ve made my list? Share them in a comment below!
Happy Wedding Season!
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