When you are invited to a wedding, you have a responsibility to behave in way that shows respect to the couple getting married and to the venue where the event will be held. Unfortunately, too many wedding guests forget that the day is not about them and break some serious rules of wedding etiquette.
Here are 7 ways to be the wedding guest your hosts will wish they'd left off the list.
Chances are that the bride and groom spent a lot of time agonizing over the scheduling of their ceremony. This did not include making room for you to burst through the procession because you arrived a half hour too late.
Show respect for the wedding party by giving yourself plenty of extra time to arrive at a wedding. It's much better to be too early than too late. If you do have to be late because of circumstances beyond your control, do not just burst into the venue. Wait until after the wedding party has finished the procession and then quietly enter the back of the room. Try to find an usher or someone else to show you where you should sit. If no one is available, discreetly take a seat in the back. Do whatever you can to take as little attention away from the ceremony as possible.
Wear something inappropriate
If there is a dress code listed on the invitation, follow it. If you don't understand the dress code, look it up or ask someone to explain it to you.
Follow these basic rules when selecting what you will wear to a wedding. Do not wear jeans, sweatpants or a white dress unless it was a specific request.
Wearing white to a wedding is considered trying to take attention from the bride and is very rude. Also avoid any outfit that is outrageous or racy and will bring attention to you. Don't match the wedding party if you can help it.
An old rule of wedding etiquette was that women should not wear a black dress to a wedding because it is a color of mourning. This rule isn't always followed today but be aware that you could offend older people if you break it.
Bring extra guests
Your invitation should specifically state who is and is not invited to the wedding. If the invitation is addressed to the family, assume everyone is included. If the names of children or others are not listed, assume that they are not being invited. If your invitation does not suggest that you bring a date, then you may not bring one.
If you have questions about the invitation, call someone like the bride's mother or a bridesmaid to clarify. Do not show up with your houseguest or friend unless you have been given permission.
Ignore seating requests
As a guest, is it your responsibility to follow instructions whether you understand the need for them or not. This includes sitting where are told to sit.
If the usher guides you to a seat at the ceremony, that is where you should stay. If your reception card assigns you to a particular table or seat, then that is where you should go. You should not swap cards or move seats because you don't like where the bride and groom put you. For that one event, respect their choices even if they don't make sense to you.
Obstruct the photography
Some couples or venues will request that guests not take pictures during the ceremony, but most of the time guests are permitted to snap a couple of shots. If you take personal pictures at someone else's wedding, be discreet. Do not block other guests' view with your device, and do not jump into the aisle to get a better picture.
Someone has probably been hired to take professional pictures of the wedding, and you could be inadvertently ruining their shots by moving into the picture to get your own. Many grooms never see their brides coming down the aisle because of guests leaning in front with cameras. Stay in your own spot to take pictures.
Drink too much
An open bar is not an invitation to get plastered. The bride and groom will want you to have a good time at their wedding and obviously want you to drink what is provided. However, it is bad manners to get so inebriated that you are falling down and making a fool of yourself.
Don't treat a wedding like a night out partying with your friends. Stay in control and follow practices like drinking water and eating small snacks between alcoholic beverages.
Keep in mind that there will be many pictures taken of a wedding. Do you really want your drunken antics preserved and shared?
Maybe one of the bridesmaids did you wrong in college, or maybe you just can't stand the groom's sister. You will need to put those feelings aside for the day. A wedding is no place to start trouble.
Remember that you are there to support the bride and groom, and it will hurt them if you start drama. Getting into an altercation could destroy someone's special day, and you don't want to be responsible for that.
Keep your drama to yourself and avoid anyone who might be a problem. Instead, focus on being happy for the couple getting married.
A bad wedding guest can ruin a wonderful event and sour the memories of everyone involved. Don't be the cause of someone's wedding disaster. Be on your best behavior, and avoid these 7 ways to be a terrible wedding guest.