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33 Worst Wedding Guest Mistakes

by Wedding Shoppe Blogger: Hannah Arkelin June 9, 2015 @ 12:41 pm

Wedding Tips

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:

wedding-guests-partyign

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 receptions!

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.

groomsmen-in-underwear

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…

Tandem-Tree-Photography

Tandem Tree Photography

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.

The-Freckled-Key-Photography

The Freckled Key Photography

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.

19. Criticize.

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.

Three-Irish-Girls-Photography

Three Irish Girls Photography

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.

Tandem-Tree-Photography-2

Tandem Tree Photography

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.

31. Propose.

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!

Tandem-Tree-Photography-3

Tandem Tree Photography

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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About 

Quite simply, I love everything wedding-related! My goal is to help couples plan their dream day with unique tips and tricks. I've been a wedding blogger for 2 years, and a writer for many more. I enjoy exploring the Twin Cities, traveling, and going on long walks with my curious dog, Watson. Is there a topic you'd like me to cover? Email me at harkelin@weddingshoppeinc.com!

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  • Comments

  • Alison

    I find this list so obnoxious! People take themselves (and their weddings) way too seriously! All this list does is make me never want to atten the author’s wedding.

  • River

    This is ridiculous. How rude can you possibly be? People are coming to celebrate, spending ridiculous amounts of money and taking time out of their lives to go to your wedding. Do you have no class or grace? Are you incapable of simply being grateful? I was NOT concerned about any of this with my wedding. The parts about the gifts are especially rude of you. To complain about being gifted? To COMPLAIN about people bringing gifts to your wedding instead of paying extra to send them to you for your convenience?! I am not impressed.

  • Anonymous

    I LOVE this list! I worry about all of these for my upcoming wedding next month! If you’re a bride and you HAVENT worried about these, you must have never been to a wedding or you’re extremely carefree and easygoing! Your list of things to never say to the bride was especially spot on. I love reading these!

  • WeddingShoppeInc

    Thanks for reading! We hope our lists either helped you out or made you laugh.

  • Amanda

    I would say that most of these are common sense, except for one. In no way shape or form should you feel obligated to provide a gift and/or cash.

    Also, if you DO decide to attend the wedding AND provide a gift, you should ABSOLUTELY bring it to the wedding with you! I’m sorry, but the Bride and Groom love seeing the gifts pile up. They expect to tote them all home.

    And, I’m sorry, but telling someone that they must send a gift, even if they can’t go, is one of the rudest, most incorrect pieces of advice I’ve ever read. I’ve never known a Bride that would expect that. Most would rather have you there than for you to provide a gift, but would be shocked to find out that someone sent you something even though the couldn’t afford it simply because they read this!

  • Megan

    Wearing red to a wedding, I ignorantly and regretfully made this mistake. I heard it was considered a faux pas, but I thought it was one of those old timey, dated type of things. It’s not. The bride did not appreciate.

  • Kelsey

    Now, is it considered rude to email these DIRECTLY to the people I think will be guilty of them? Like my bridesmaid’s boyfriend who ALWAYS tries to upstage the bride with his green, pink, or even spongebob printed suits?

    Thanks so much for letting me know I’m not alone in my concerns of guest behavior.

  • Iddu630

    I agree to not get too drunk. You can drink as much as you can since its an open bar but please know your limits. I went to a wedding this weekend and saw a guest so drank that she icanr stop throwing up. Not nice.

  • Jenny

    I agree with everyone here, expecting a gift from someone who is not attending the wedding is obnoxious

  • Ginny

    The remarks being made against gifting when invited to a wedding but unable to attend are very surprising to me, and frankly sound quite selfish.
    Guest lists to weddings are notoriously cut back several times to accommodate both sides of the wedding party, often including business associates, etc. Generally the bride & groom make sacrifices on who they can invite. That you made the final list says a great deal. Even if you are unable to be there in person, why would you not want to grace your friends with a token of your happiness for this most special occasion in their lives?
    No one says you have to overextended your limits. If they know you well enough to have included you, they very likely know your general financial state. Could you at least send a nice card with a sincere personal wish to them? I have had brides tell me ( long after the wedding) how much they have loved a very simple gift that I purchased during a sale for such an occasion and saved in my closet until needed. Or a simple crafted item from those who are so skilled makes a very memorable gift. My point is the entire wedding, from invitation on, is about celebrating. If you can share in doing so in a gracious way, whether you attend the ceremony or not, then you have the right spirit.

  • Gwen

    I think the list offers good suggestions. Kudos to the writer.
    From the comments I’m learning to be very selective with who I include on my guest list. While I wont invite people just to get a gift, I would expect a gift that reflects how the guest feels about me. Thank all of you for your comments. You are showing me how much people think of themselves rather than the couple. There is a list “invite, don’t invite” I will be using that. I’m inviting people who I feel that their presence will make my day. Based on some of your comments brides should definitely cut you off their guest list. Who wants to invite people who are thinking about themselves when I’ve spent months thinking about planning a celebration of my love witnessed by family and friends.

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