Whether you are planning your own nuptials or preparing to attend the wedding of a friend, it’s important to know what guest behavior is appropriate. While it can be helpful to think, “Would I want someone to act like this on my day?” it’s also crucial to keep in mind the different standards that people have for decorum. Even if you’re a laid-back bride who is fine with people wearing or doing whatever they want, you should still match the tone and formality of any wedding where you are a guest.
The following is a list of don’ts for those who have the honor of attending a loved one’s special day. You might not need it for yourself, but there’s a good chance that there is someone who you’re inviting that might need these hints. Perhaps this can even help with some etiquette debates you’re having with your future in-laws. Everything on the list below is what you should NOT do at a wedding.
1. Don’t bring a plus one when you were not granted one.
2. Don’t wear white – or a similar shade. A lot of people say this is more acceptable now, and the bride might even claim to be fine with it; however, other guests are likely going to think less of you, and is it really so important for you to wear that lace ivory sundress? Find something else in your closet.
3. Don’t underdress – follow any attire suggestions. If you’re unsure about what’s appropriate, ask someone in the wedding party in the months leading up to the big day.
4. Don’t bring your children to an adults-only reception.
5. Don’t abuse the open bar.
6. Don’t give a toast if you were not asked to do so. People want to get the party started!
7. Don’t make an inappropriate romantic connection. If it’s going to cause drama, it’s not worth it.
8. Don’t be on your phone the whole time, or at all during the ceremony.
9. Don’t forget to RSVP.
10. Don’t offer any less-than-glowing feedback about the wedding. Any gossip can wait for an occasion where the hosts aren’t in earshot.
11. Don’t call the bride with questions on the big day. She’s going to be a tad busy. Settle any concerns beforehand, or if you’re truly desperate, contact a bridesmaid. Always try a fellow guest first though.
12. Don’t try to steal the spotlight; for example, by announcing a pregnancy or proposing to your significant other.
13. Don’t forget to put your phone on silent.
14. Don’t enter the ceremony after it has started. The time listed on the invitation is the start time – not when you should show up!
15. Don’t talk the bride or groom’s ear off. They have a lot of people they need to visit.
16. Don’t get in the way of the photographer, especially when they’re capturing moments like the first dance or the cake cutting.
Opening photo by Braedon Photography; Planning & Design by Mindy Weiss Party Consultants