Nowadays, there's no one "wedding season," really. Sure, most of your besties will be walking down the aisle during the warmer months, but fall and winter receptions are becoming even more popular as themed and atypical weddings get à la mode. But no matter how non-traditional weddings are becoming, there's still a pretty big list of do's and don'ts (mostly don'ts, tbh) that brides and grooms *need* their guests to be aware of.
There are so many things for a bride to worry about when it comes to her big day that questioning whether all her guests who RSVP'd 'no' will text at the last minute saying that they changed their minds should be the last thing she needs to plan for. If you've never been in charge of a wedding, you might be able to plea innoncence on these super annoying wedding guest faux-pas, but if you've said "I do," you don't have any excuse to make these mistakes.
If there's one thing all brides will tell you, it's to get your RSVP in ASAP. When it comes to planning a wedding, headcount is the biggest variable, and knowing who will and will not be there can lessen the stress. There will be people who take their sweet time responding after they get the wedding invite, but you don't want to be one of them.
Even worse than being someone who waits and waits and waits to RSVP is being someone who needs to be texted by the bride/groom/someone in the wedding party to see if their coming. If you're coming — great, just let them no! Also, if you've given them a verbal, "I'll be there," that shouldn't replace the need to send in the RSVP card. Putting on a wedding is a big affair and getting that RSVP card helps it take place a little more seamlessly.
Unless you've had a death in the family, you should not be canceling at the last minute. The couple of the day has probably spent about one hundred dollars on you and if you're not going to be there, then that's a waste of money. Also, a last-minute cancellation means that someone who maybe would've loved to come didn't get an invite because you made a bad call.
And, finally, the worst thing you can do if you RSVP'd "yes," to a wedding — not show up. Sure, you might think that there are 200 people coming, how will they notice that you're not there? Trust us, they will. That empty seat you were supposed to occupy will be noted and it may take the newlyweds a little while to warm up to you again — especially if you don't have a good excuse.
If the couple didn't explicitly tell you to bring a date, don't. Don't ask if you can bring one, don't try to get someone else's plus-one, just — accept that you're going to be flying solo to this event. Nobody wants to tell you that you can't bring someone you're dating, but the truth is that if they didn't ask you to bring someone else, they don't want you to.
If the name isn't on the envelope, that invitation isn't for them. So don't start scribbling in that you're bringing your S/O or whole family if they weren't invited! Every wedding guest is expensive and you shouldn't be asking a couple to spend an extra hundred dollars just so you don't have to travel alone.
Enjoy the date night! We know you absolutely love your kiddos, but everyone needs some time to let loose and a wedding is the perfect opportunity. Your friends don't want to hear you whine about having to get a babysitter or how little Susan was so sad she couldn't see the bride in her pretty dress.
Hate to say it, but if you bring your kids to a "kid-free reception," you're a jerk. It's that simple. The couple who paid for the day doesn't want kids there and you completely ignoring their wishes is disrespectful. Don't be surprised if a member of the bridal party tells you that the venue is strictly 21+, and you're going to have to bring the youngins home.
If you RSVP'd no, you better not be planning to show up to that wedding. No matter what. Sure, sometimes plans change and you think it'd be "cute" to surprise someone who wanted you at their big day, but the truth is that your appearance will just end up stressing them out — primarily because they probably paid for meals by-the-person and didn't order enough for you.
Unless you're going steady with this person and it's out in the open, it's just a jerk move to bring the bride or groom's ex as your plus one. If the couple wanted that person there, they would've been given an explicit invitation. This is a recipe for disaster — or at least drama.
Don't complain to the bride or groom about anything, period. If it's too expensive, don't go — that's honestly a pretty big gift to them since then they won't have to pay ~100 dollars for your attendance. If the room blocks are too expensive, stay further away and get an Uber to the reception. If it's a destination wedding, they already know it's expensive to go and probably assume some loved ones won't be able to come because of it. But don't complain to them hoping you'll get some special treatment or deal, they're stressed enough as it is trying to prepare for a party with hundreds of people.
Again with the don't stress them out rule. If it's something that they can't fix, don't blow up the bride or groom's phone with updates about your situation on their big day. If it's something you need to tell them, don't do it in a text. If you're unable to come last-minute or your bridesmaid's dress hasn't arrived in time, it's best for a phone call.
A couple has enough to worry about on their wedding day without trying to coordinate all hundred of their guests' special requests. If you need a shuttle from the airport to the hotel or from the hotel to the ceremony, figure it out (and pay for it) yourself. Better yet, coordinate with other people coming to the wedding! If there's no vegan food option, bring it yourself. Better yet, coordinate with any other vegans coming. Double-check with the bride or groom's parents or siblings to make sure that there aren't already options. If there aren't, fix those problems yourself — it's the least you can do.
This one should be a given but it is truly shocking how many people feign ignorance on the 'no white to other people's weddings' rule. Wearing a plain white dress, or a mostly white dress with some decals is a big no-no. Even if it's a white shirt with a colored skirt, while you're sitting, it'll probably look like you're wearing a white dress and earn you some major side-eyes from the wedding party. Not only should you not be wearing white, but if you're pulling up with someone who is, be prepared to tell them they need to change.
Not wearing white isn't the only dress code. If it's formal wear and you show up in khakis and flip flops, or if it's semiformal and you show up in a clubbing dress, you'll stick out in all the photos. Always check in with friends who are going to the wedding what they're wearing and make sure your attire is in-line with theirs.
We get it if you think that Karen is so annoying, but what you might not realize is that every change you make to that seating chart will have a domino effect. If you want to sit at table six, then someone at table six needs to get the boot. It's almost better if you hate where you're sitting — that means you'll spend more time on the dance floor.
You probably want to get the bride and groom the perfect gift, and it's understandable that it feels a little less special if they asked specifically for it. But if you buy them a blender when it says on the registry that they've already been bought one, then it'll just cause them a big headache. Also, sorry, but if they didn't ask for something — they probably just don't want it. If all ask fails, just give them cash.
Not to bash a FMIL (future mother-in-law), but they're usually the biggest perpetrator of this wedding guest faux-pas. Even if you think it's a good idea to have an entirely plant-based meal, open bar, and cover band at the wedding, it's the bride and bride, bride and groom, or groom and groom's big day and they'll make the decisions about what makes them happy. Nobody wants to feel like their wedding day is getting hijacked by someone outside of the couple.
What's the address? When does it start? What's the dress code? Where's the registry? All good questions, and all questions that probably have the answers on the couple's wedding website. Isn't technology grand? Don't take up precious space on a bride or groom's cell phone with questions that you can easily find online.
Whether it's before, after, or during the wedding ceremony, texting the bride or groom that day is never okay. Even if you're not at the wedding, send your well wishes and a card with someone who is (or mail it directly to their home). They've got enough to worry about without responding to your, "OMG THE DAY IS FINALLY HERE!" text.
We know the rehearsal dinner was LIT! But arriving hungover, especially when you're in the bridal party, is so rude. You need the couple to feel your positive energy and the oversized sunglasses and aversion to poppy music is not doing it. Have a good time, but be extra aware of your limits when it comes to being a wedding guest.
We know that wedding ceremonies can be a little bit boring — especially if they're doing a traditional hours-long Catholic one. But it's kind of like going to someone's birthday party without saying happy birthday when you show up to a wedding reception after skipping a ceremony. You're there to celebrate their wedding, if you didn't go to the ceremony, why are you trying to party with them in celebration?
Everyone's financial situation is different, and the couple getting married is probably very aware of that. But keep in mind that these people spent a lot of money so that you could be there. Even getting the cheapest thing on the registry and a card is nice than not giving them anything at all. Heck, give them a card with a crisp $20 in it. Sure, they might eye-roll the dollar amount, but they'll be eye-rolling even harder for the people who didn't give them anything at all.
It's kind of like those college professors who said "if you're going to be late, don't go at all." Maybe we wouldn't be that rude, but plan your schedule accordingingly with plenty of time accounted for traffic or wardrobe malfunctions. Of course, accidents happen, so if you're going to be late, make sure you a) don't text the bride about it (she's busy) and b) don't walk in while the bridal party is walking down the aisle. Wait for the right moment and sneak into the back row.
We know we said not to arrive empty handed, but if you're giving the couple a big gift, don't bring it all the way to the wedding. Instead, wedding etiquette is to ship bigger gifts directly to the couple's home. You can always leave them a card that says to expect something special in the mail a few days later.
People may argue on this one, but nowadays, people usually prefer phones to be tucked away during a wedding ceremony. They hired a photographer for a reason, they don't need a sh*tty quality photo from your iPhone 6. Instead, enjoy the moment and wait to post anything on social media (especially of the bride's dress) until the couple has done it themselves.
Even worse than having your phone out is being unaware about where the wedding photographer is. This person is being paid a lot of money to get the perfect shot, don't ruin it by blocking the camera or the couple.
Unless you've been given explicit permission from the couple in question, proposing at someone else's wedding is a HUGE wedding guest faux-pas. We get that weddings are romantic, but using someone else's special day to make your special day is kind of just a jerk move. If you go through with it, just fully expect that they're going to announce they're pregnant at your wedding right before you say "I do."
Speaking of announcing pregnancies, announcing any personal big news that has the potential to upstage the wedding is a strict wedding guest faux-pas. Examples include: your engagement, your pregnancy, your divorce (seriously?!), your promotion, your illness, etc. Just be a good guest and wait until the next morning to make any big announcements.
It can be awkward trying to find a time to congratulate the wedded couple on their big day. But if there's one time you should definitely be steering clear, it's while they're eating. Usually, the best move is to say a quick 'congrats' and a compliment about the ceremony once they arrive to the reception, give them an out if there is something they need to take care of, and then waiting until you naturally bump into them for any longer conversation about the day.
We know your dress is fire, your makeup is on fleek, and you want a good photo to post on Instagram. But the newlyweds will kind of hate you if you're spotted in every single photo. The pictures are supposed to candidly catch the night's best moments. They're not the night's best candid moments if you're in the background posing in every single one. It's not your day!
The married groomsman, the bride's brother, the groom's recently-divorced mother, all big 'nos' for a wedding hookup. Yes, weddings sometimes get people in the mood and the flowing alcohol doesn't help matters. But this is the kind of drama that can lead to a lasting impact in the couple's lives and they might not think too highly of you if you put that energy into the memory of their wedding.
Most likely, the couple has given the DJ a list of songs they must play ("Wagon Wheel") and songs not to play under any circumstances (Chris Brown), so why are you trying to mess with the flow by asking the DJ to play your favorite song? If it's a great dance track, just hope the bride or groom already thought of it.
We don't want any Michael Scotts at our weddings! If the bride or groom wants you to make a toast, trust me, you'll know it. Typically, this honor is given to the parents of the wedded couple, the best man, and the maid of honor. If you're the bride/groom's boss/aunt/family friend, they probably don't want you taking up precious time during their wedding giving random advice about love to the audience.
It's 2020, and relationships are becoming more equal. So don't immediately start calling the bride Mrs. John Smith the second a wedding ring is on her finger. Allow the moment where the couple announces if/who is changing their last name to happen and don't try to jump the gun with your outdated and sexist opinions.
You never want to be the last to arrive or the first to leave. But you especially don't want to leave before dinner is served, before the garter toss, or before the couple cuts the cake. You might not *think* the couple will notice, but if they do, their feelings will be hurt that you seemingly had something better to do than celebrate their wedding with them.
This one's so random. But how would you feel if you'd just gotten married and checked out the venue's Yelp page to realize one of your wedding guests gave it two stars because the view isn't that good or because the bathrooms were dirty. Sure, that's annoying of the venue not to keep their sh*t up to standards, but the couple didn't spend thousands of dollars on this venue just for you to complain about it.