Whether you have been to one wedding, or countless weddings, there are unwritten rules. Chances are, you already know these rules, but if you do not, here are 16 ways NOT to embarrass yourself, the bride & groom, or any other guest(s) while celebrating your best friend’s big day.
Please, please, please… DO:
1. RSVP in a timely manner, if not immediately. The sooner the bride and groom know who and how many to expect, the better. If there isn’t a +1, don’t bring one. If it isn’t addressed to “Mr. & Mrs. Smith & Family”, leave the kiddos at home with a sitter.
2. Be on time for the ceremony and not just the reception. The most important part of this day is the ceremony. They have invited YOU to take part in witnessing it. Be early, take a seat, and wait patiently.
3. Send a gift, even if you can’t make it. If you received an invite, it is proper etiquette to send a gift. Even a card in the mail works.
4. Turn your phone off or on silent. Yet another no-brainer, but I swear I’ve seen it all. It is not only disrespectful to bride & groom, but to the church. You are also going to severely embarrass yourself and whomever you are seated with.
5. Pay attention to the dress code. Your invite will more than likely include a clue as to what is appropriate, or it will flat-out tell you it is a black-tie affair. Do you want to be the only one in jeans and a T at a formal event? How about the only one in a formal gown at an outdoor affair? If you aren’t sure, ask.
6. Stay out of the photographer’s way. Again, I am not just saying this because I am one. The photographer has been paid to capture these moments. Please let them do their job. There will be time for your photos, too. (I even allow for family to snap a few in between posing if they adhere to this!)
7. Congratulate the family. Even if there is no receiving line, make it a point to seek out the family and thank them for the invite. If you had a great time, tell them so. Don’t forget to tell the bride how beautiful she looks while you’re at it!
8. Sign the guestbook. This is your chance to leave your mark. You’ve dressed to blend in with the others, you’ve behaved yourself, no one noticed YOU more than they noticed the bride & groom. Good job. Now sign their book and wish them the best!
Please, please, please… do NOT:
1. Wear a white dress. Seems obvious, but some people still do it. White is, traditionally, for the bride- and the bride only! If you show up to a wedding in a white gown and you aren’t the one named on the invite, you are going to be scowled at. Fair warning. When you wear white to someone else’s wedding, it seems as though you are trying to “outshine” the bride. No, no.
2. Wear skimpy or tight-fitted clothing. Another no-brainer, but it still needs to be said. You are at a formal event, not a dance club. Ladies! Put your arms down by your side. Is your skirt shorter than your finger tips? Yes? Unacceptable. No? You may proceed. Wearing clothing like this screams, “LOOK AT ME!”, and on someone else’s wedding day, that is not classy.
3. RSVP and then back out last minute. If someone in your family is sick, by all means, go take care of your family. If you were just excited and in the heat of the moment RSVP’d without looking at your own schedule, that is your bad. If the wedding day is inching closer and something “better” comes up and you back out, that is your bad. The average bride and groom spends $194 per guest who RSVPs. They don’t get that money back.
4. Play with your smart phone, iPod, iPad, tablet, whatever! Chances are, you are at a dear friend’s big day. Enjoy it. Look with your eyes, not a blurry 4″ screen. Who are you texting? What are you Facebooking/Tweeting? Put it down.
5. Talk while the bride is walking down the aisle. Common sense, but I’ve seen it. I have even witnessed people YELLING at the bride while she was walking. How. Dare. You.
6. Don’t take photographs during the ceremony. I am not saying this because I am a photographer, but leave it to the professionals. Respect the sanctity of the ritual in front of you. Churches have rules regarding photography, odds are, you are not aware of them.
7. Get wasted. You’re an adult at a formal event- act like it.
8. Make a horrible toast. They happen all too often. I recently did a quick YouTube search for bad wedding toasts. I was FLOORED. Please save EVERYONE the embarrassment of an awkward toast.
Have you been to a few weddings? Have you seen something atrocious? Leave a comment below!