What Not to Tell a Bride on Her Wedding Day

These statements and questions will not help make her day special.

If you’re going to be a guest at a wedding, you’re probably hoping to get some face time with the bride. A safe bet would be to congratulate her on her marriage, and say how beautiful she looks. However, some people prefer to make more of an impression, or perhaps even feel self-conscious about coming across as boring or generic. While there’s nothing wrong with having something clever and unique to tell a bride on her wedding day, there are absolutely things that you should never say. 

bride with long blonde hair in beaded wedding dress with spaghetti straps and plunging illusion neckline
Photo by Jimmy Bui Photography; Venue: Vibiana

Below are what we consider some of the biggest offenders from uncouth guests, so be sure to steer clear from these statements and questions:

- "Wow, how much did you spend on that?" It should be well established that it is not polite to talk about money. If you’re getting married soon and looking for advice, at least wait until after the honeymoon and broach the subject with great care.

- "I don't believe in marriage, but this is a great party." It seems highly unlikely that the bride asked your stance on marriage. Your views are your prerogative, but this is very much not the time.

- Any complaint whatsoever. If there's a crucial problem, such as not enough food, find a planner or literally anyone besides the bride or groom to fix it.

- "When are you having kids?" Whenever they choose to, if they choose to and are able to conceive. This is not anyone’s business except for the newlyweds’ and they’ve been married for minutes! Give them some space and be sensitive to potential fertility issues.

- Comparing their wedding to anyone else's. So your cousin had similar centerpieces or you prefer a DJ instead of a band – that doesn’t mean you have to bring the bride down. She likely spent a lot of time and effort making this day unique and special, and comparisons (even if they’re meant to be positive!) will likely bring her down.

- "It's too bad that things with [name of ex] didn't work out, but [name of spouse] seems great." This is a quintessential backhanded compliment that serves no positive purpose. Even if someone has completely moved on and is happy, certain exes can still be sore spots. At best, you’ve annoyed the bride and come across as extremely rude and misguided. At worst, you’re causing unfair doubts to creep in on her wedding day, even if she’s completely satisfied with her new spouse.

- "Where are the favors?" Many couples choose to forgo favors nowadays, largely because the trinkets are frequently left behind or underappreciated. They may offer a late-night snack or a dessert table instead, or maybe nothing extra at all! But remember, it’s always rude to ask for or expect gifts.

- Any jokes about the wedding night. Unless you and the bride have an established relationship full of ribald humor (and even then, please make sure you tell any jokes in private) this is always awkward, uncomfortable, and cringe-worthy for everyone involved.

For more advice, read our guide to proper etiquette for wedding guests and learn what you should wear according to a wedding dress code

Authored by: Emily Lasnier