Well, of course, it should go without saying that a wedding guest should not come on to the bride or groom. But in today’s world… sometimes the obvious needs to be stated! Ha! That being said, it’s important to remember that most couples spend countless hours (or have planners who do the work for and with them… ) and dollars to make their wedding memorable and special. And they do not want it to be memorable because Uncle Tom had one too many and started telling stories! If you are fortunate enough to be invited, the least you can do is be a gracious guest. Here are some common, and not-so-minor, mistakes wedding guests make.
MISTAKE #1: YOU DO NOT RSVP
This is absolutely the worst mistake because it costs the bride and groom either big bucks or big problems (or both) if you don’t RSVP. They have to decide whether or not to count you in the overall guest list which means they are potentially paying for someone who will not show up OR they risk not having enough food and seating in the event that you do show up. So send back that little card you get with your invitation and be sure to send it by the date due. That date is the date given to the couple by the caterer; it’s not a date they have control over. If your plans change, be sure to let the bride and groom know ASAP.
If there are separate RSVPs for the rehearsal dinner, the ceremony, a brunch or other events, SEND THEM ALL. They are often being coordinated by different people.
MISTAKE #2: ASSUME OTHERS ARE INVITED WHO ARE NOT
The invitation tells you exactly how many people you can bring in addition to yourself. Your name “and family” means you and your kids/spouse. Your name “and guest” means you and one guest – usually a significant other. Your name means just you.
Don’t RSVP your children unless they are explicitly invited. Don’t assume you can bring your baby because the couple doesn’t have to buy a dinner plate. Some couples prefer to have their wedding adults-only. Don’t take offense, but please do honor their request.
Oh, and ps: don’t ask mutual friends if they’ve received an invite. It could be embarrassing if they are not invited and cause needless hurt feelings.
MISTAKE #3: ARRIVE LATE TO THE CEREMONY AND/OR BE NOISY + OTHER CEREMONY ISSUES
Arrive 10-15ish minutes prior to the ceremony. No one wants to see you in the lobby, behind the bride waiting to come in. Turn off your cell, including vibrate. Don’t take pictures. There are usually rules about what pictures can be taken during the ceremony and by whom. Some churches require the pastor or officiate to make an announcement to let guests know this. In case they do not – just assume. Even if it is allowed it disturbs the professional photographers ability to accurately photograph the wedding and that just wastes the bride and groom’s hard earned money.
The bride and groom don’t expect you to know religious etiquette. However, if you are not of their faith, it would be nice to Google it anyway. See wedding religious ceremonies for common traditions. If in doubt, follow the family’s lead for standing, sitting, kneeling, singing, and praying.
MISTAKE#4: GET DRUNK
Enough said. I hope!
MISTAKE #5: SAY/ASK INAPPROPRIATE/UNNECESSARY THINGS TO THE BRIDE OR GROOM
Can you help me with…?
If you can’t find your place card or you were brought the wrong entree, don’t ask the bride and groom. Instead, talk to the wedding planner.
Why wasn’t so-and-so invited?
Deciding how many and whom to invite is a painful decision and usually one done with a lot of thought. Don’t remind them of an uncomfortable decision.
Wow, how much did this set you back?
There are very few times when it’s appropriate to ask how much something cost and this is not one of them.
Remember the good times when we…?
If you and the bride or groom had some wild times together, this is not the time to remind them of their wild days.
When do you plan on starting a family?
It’s none of your business and crosses the line. This goes for mothers and mothers-in-law!
MISTAKE #6: MONOPOLIZE THE BRIDE OR GROOM’S TIME
The bride and groom need and want to spend time with all their guests. Plus there are a myriad of other tasks they are called to do during the evening such as the first dance, cutting the cake, tossing the bouquet and having pictures taken (and many more!).
MISTAKE #7: FIGHT WITH THE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER FOR SHOTS
Again, the bride and groom have spent the money to hire a professional photographer and videographer. Stepping in front of (or even to the side of. That is not “staying out of the way”) the photographer or videographer with your digital camera makes doing their job at least ten times more difficult. Its heartbreaking to see the photographer miss the bride walking down the aisle because of an overzealous relative with a camera. Even after the ceremony there is a strict timeline for photography before the couple heads over to the reception. DO NOT TRY TO SNAP SHOTS FROM BEHIND OR BESIDE THE PHOTOGRAPHER! Many photographers have it written into their contract that this is not allowed so please, please do not do this. Wait for the reception for your photos.
Weddings are special, memorable and significant events for everyone: the bride and groom, their families and all who attend. Etiquette is just common sense and thoughtfulness. Try not to get too carried away with joy!