Don’t Be the Worst: 5 Things You Should Never Do at a Wedding

published May 3, 2018
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Spring has sprung, summer is right around the corner, and your refrigerator is covered in save-the-dates for fast-approaching weddings — meaning you’ve booked your travel, sent gifts, and picked out your perfect outfit. And, while I’m sure you’re a fabulous human being and a stellar wedding guest, a little refresher in modern wedding etiquette never hurt anyone, right? Asking for a friend.

Like many things in life, being the perfect wedding guest can be summed up in a few simple, albeit choice sentences: Don’t be a jerk. And you are not the exception to the rule. Any rule. Done.

Now you can go forth and be the most awesome wedding guest ever.

Alright … brevity aside, here’s how.

First, let’s get the obvious one out of the way: Don’t get so drunk that you do stupid/humiliating/inconsiderate or illegal things. I’m so sure this is a non-issue, I’m not even gracing it with a number on this list.

Which then brings us to the mistake that was far and away the biggest complaint among my wedding photographer pals (and this semi-recent bride agrees).

1. Don’t use your phone/iPad/camera during the ceremony.

And worse yet, don’t block the professional photographer/videographer’s shot of the most important moments: The look on your loved one’s face when their partner walks down the aisle! The rings! The first kiss!

Here’s the thing — your friends probably spent a lot of time finding the perfect photographer and have dropped thousands of dollars to pay for professional coverage of their day, so don’t ruin it for them. Moreover, they probably agonized, at least a little, over their guest list (because, budgets) and you (yes, you!) made the cut. You are a precious, unique, and important snowflake to them, so give them the gift of your smiling face on their wedding day, and not a professional shot of the back of your device.

Whether or not your pals have opted for an “unplugged” ceremony, and even if you are certain that the perfect Instagram is just a quick step into the aisle, please don’t do it! Stay in your seat, put your devices away, relax, and enjoy the moment.

2. Don’t contact or attempt to see the couple before the ceremony.

Whether you’ve misplaced your invitation, are calling/texting about last-minute wardrobe choices, or are knocking on the door of the bridal suite to “see if she needs anything” before the ceremony, it can wait. Is there someone else you can contact for the info you need? A wedding website? Do that first.

Unless you’ve been explicitly invited to hang with the couple while getting ready on their wedding day, they have enough going on (nerves! Schedules! Champagne! Family!). Give them the gift of time and space in those pre-ceremony moments and save your outpouring of joy to congratulate them later in the day.

3. Don’t give a speech that makes the couple or their family uncomfortable.

If you’ve been asked to give a speech, or if impromptu speeches become a thing at a wedding you’re attending, fabulous! Speeches can be one of the most moving and memorable parts of a wedding day … except when they aren’t. So know your audience. Really know them.

If you don’t, here are some safe bets for your address: Steer clear of exes, inside jokes, and highlighting your pal’s awkward moments. It might be all in good fun, but make sure it’s fun for your friends and their families too.

Read more: Giving a Good Wedding Toast is, Like, Well … Toast at Apartment Therapy

4. Don’t make any request that includes changing something.

Don’t try to direct anything — like the music, the decor, or the lighting — because you’ve “known the couple their whole lives” or because you just know “it’s their favorite.” The wedding couple spent time planning all the little details and finding the perfect vendors to execute them. So unless you were part of those multiple planning meetings, this is probably a time to keep your opinion to yourself and trust that your friends really do love that song/uplighting/cake topper that you find atrocious.

5. Don’t bring uninvited guests.

A little pre-wedding refresher: Don’t respond to the invite with more people than were invited or assume your date/kid/dog is welcome. Be flattered — your friends are excited to celebrate with you! You are one of their chosen people, but depending on their budget, traditions, and desires, this might not include your new partner, your kiddo, or your family pet. I’m only kind of joking about that last one, but I do live in LA (home of the purse pooch), so it’s not entirely inconceivable.

Wedding invitations are usually pretty clear in spelling out who is invited, but if you’re confused, ask your friends to clarify before you send in your formal RSVP. Don’t ask if you can bring your date — ask them who exactly is invited. No need to add to the pressure they’re probably already getting from at least a few family members or friends to bring unwanted guests.

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Don’t Be the Worst: 5 Things to NEVER Do at a Wedding

Anything I’ve forgotten? Any major faux pas you’ve noticed lately? Or maybe more importantly, favorite things a guest has done at your wedding?

And a big thanks to Tuesdays Together LA wedding vendors + pals for weighing in on the mistakes they see most commonly, many of which are highlighted here.