Social Faux Pas & Wedding Mistakes

While there are some people out there who would call themselves “professional wedding guests” based on the number of weddings they have attended, there are just as many people (if not more) out there who have not experienced many weddings, or just don’t know the “rules” of wedding etiquette. 

If you haven’t been to many weddings, it can be difficult to automatically know what you should wear, where you should be, who you should bring, and when you should arrive. I am here to share with you a few of the major “no no’s” of being a wedding guest. These are considered social faux pas and should be avoided.

1)    When you are invited to a wedding, it is so important that you let the bride and groom know if you will or will not be able to attend. In the invitation suite that you receive in the mail, there is typically an RSVP card. It only takes a few seconds to fill that out and pop it back in the mail (they usually come with an envelope already addressed and stamped). There is nothing worse as a couple than receiving a last-minute call from Aunt Sally and Uncle Ted saying they are coming with all three kids after you have already finalized your seating chart.

Nancy Ray Photography

Nancy Ray Photography

2)    When you are invited to a wedding, your invitation will indicate if you have been given a "plus one". When I receive invitations, they are typically addressed to “Ms. Kristin Jolly and Guest” as opposed to “Ms. Kristin Jolly,” which would indicate that only one seat has been reserved for me at the reception. Arriving to a wedding with a guest that was not invited will not only put you, your guest, and the bride and groom into an awkward situation, it could completely throw off the seating chart, causing the catering and other vendors to scramble (subtly) to make sure your guest has a seat at the table.

3)    This next one is one that I am sure most of you have heard about and know not to do, but I think it should be mentioned just in case. The only person at the wedding that should be wearing a white dress is the bride. Please, ladies, do not wear a white dress to a wedding that you are attending as a guest. 

4)    The last etiquette rule: be respectful. This can be applied to so many areas of a wedding day.

a.    Be respectful to catering staff and bartenders. They are there for you and the other guests, and want to make sure everyone is happy. It is not the bar’s fault if they run out of your preferred beer or wine. Be respectful to these staff members throughout the wedding day.

b.    Be respectful to the other guests. Wait until your table has been excused to the buffet. Do not over drink. If you do your part to make the wedding day enjoyable for all involved, it will make a tremendous difference!

c.     Be respectful to the bride and groom. Be on time to the ceremony. At most locations, if a guest arrives after the processional has begun, they cannot enter the ceremony space until after the bride is down the aisle. And even then, it can be a disturbance to other guests if you enter late. Arrive on time (typically, guests begin arriving 30 minutes before the ceremony) in order to get a seat and allow all the attention to be focused on the bride and groom.

These are just a few examples of wedding etiquette that we feel should be shared. Some of you may be reading these thinking, “these are no-brainers!” but we think it can’t hurt to share them, just in case. I hope you all enjoy the upcoming wedding season! If you are attending a wedding as a guest, do yourself (and the bride) a favor and hang up the white dress for a more socially acceptable color.