15 Ways You’re Accidentally Being Rude At Weddings
As someone who hasn't been to a ton of weddings, I can't say I'm totally brushed up on all the rules and regulations. I do know some faux pas, like "never be late" and "don't bring a crying baby." But what about all the ways I might accidentally be rude at a wedding? These are the things I worry about as I ship off to the big day, gift in hand.
And I think it's right to worry a little. After all, this is is an important day. "Remember that the bride and groom have spent months, if not years, carefully planning and making a large investment into this special day [or] night," says Mara Opperman, Co-Founder of IDoNowIDont.com, in an email to Bustle. "They want their wedding to go off without a hitch and know exactly how they want this day [or] night to go."
Of course, it's damn near impossible to singlehandedly ruin the whole event. So I'm not suggesting anyone worry about that. But there definitely are some things you should keep in mind — especially if you're also new to this whole wedding thing. Read on for some ways you might accidentally be rude at weddings. Avoid them, have fun, and then pat yourself on the back for being the best guest ever.
1. Getting In The Way Of The Photographer
Have you ever been to a wedding where one guest insists he's a professional photographer? Despite the real pro standing right there — with expensive lighting equipment in hand — this dude thinks his camera phone is where it's at. And so he stands, front and center, as the couple say their vows. Not only is this entirely unnecessary, but it's also very distracting. "The bride and groom presumably spent countless hours pouring over wedding details to create an event that all their friends and family would truly enjoy," said wedding expert Anja Winikka on TheKnot.com. So it's best to get out of the way, sit down, and leave the pics up to the pros.
2. Wearing White
I almost wore a white dress to a wedding. It was literally the only fancy thing I owned, and I thought it would be OK since it had a floral print. But you know what? I decided not to risk it. I raced out to Forever 21 at the last minute and bought myself something else. And turns out, that was the right thing to do. Opperman tells me that, unless the brides gives the OK, you should definitely avoid wearing anything in the white/cream/ivory family. "Leave the white for the bride only," she says. "It is her night to shine."
3. Showing Up With An Uninvited Guest
Again, a lot goes into planning a wedding. This includes how many chairs are rented, how much food is made, how many tables are set— the list goes on and on. So even though it may feel like bringing a date is no big deal, your surprise plus-one can cause all sorts of problems. "If you weren’t allotted a plus-one, there's probably a reason," said Winikka. Apart from not having enough food, the couple may have a small ceremony space, or only want to be with close friends and family. Respecting your invitation, and showing up solo, is the right thing to do.
4. Surprising Everyone With A Toast
Yes, you love this couple. And yes, you are brimming with great things to say. But unless you've been asked to give a toast, you best be keeping those thoughts to yourself. "The couple usually carefully selects the people they want to speak at their wedding," Opperman says. While you have great intentions, standing up with glass in hand can really throw things off.
5. Sharing TMI During A Toast
OK, so let's say you have been asked to give a toast. For the past few weeks, you've been working on a hilarious bit about your friend's sordid past. But take a second to slow your roll. Remember there will be grandmas present, and the couple's parents. Oh, and probably lots of children. So please, "save your raunchy toast for the bachelor or bachelorette party," said wedding editor Jennifer Tzeses on Martha Stewart Weddings. Stick to old lady-approved well wishes on the wedding day, and everyone will be happy.
6. Poking The Wedding Cake
I had no idea this was a thing, but apparently some guests like to stick their fingers into the wedding cake. If you have the urge to do this, resist. "There's nothing cute or OK about touching the pièce de résistance of the reception menu," said Winikka. "Besides the sanitary factor, wedding cakes are expensive and should only be handled by three people: the bride, the groom, and the caterer."
7. Calling The Bride For Info
Get all of your wedding questions answered ASAP, because when the big day comes you better leave the bride alone. Yes, even if you are lost on the way to venue. And yes, even if you find yourself at the wrong hotel. "The couple most definitely sent you a carefully worded invite with all of the relevant times, addresses, and lodging information," said wedding expert Kim Fusaro on Glamour. So re-read the invite, or reach out to someone — anyone — other than the bride. She'll have enough on her mind.
8. Sending Music Requests To The DJ
Weddings can turn into quite the dance party, usually thanks to a carefully cultivated playlist, à la the couple. So don't bother pestering the DJ with song requests, Opperman tells me. Not only is the playlist set, but some songs may even be banned. (Hey, not everyone likes the Electric Slide.)
9. Switching Your Seating Assignment
If you're flying solo at a wedding, it can really suck to walk into the reception to find yourself seated with a bunch of strangers. If that happens, it might be tempting to switch seats, or slide a chair over to another table. But do resist. “The seating assignments are planned out in a specific way for a reason," wedding expert Jess Levin told Brigitt Hauck on Real Simple. "You should never alter your seating arrangements or switch seats at a wedding reception, however it is acceptable to mingle at different tables once dinner has been cleared.”
10. Going Wild On The Dance Floor
I've been to weddings where people are doing the worm all over the damn place, and it's totally OK. But sometimes out-of-control dancing can be a bit... disruptive. So do everyone a favor and read your audience before really busting a move. As Tzeses said, "Keep it classy and don't make people uncomfortable."
11. Ignoring A No Phone Rule
Of course you shouldn't be texting or chatting on your phone during the wedding ceremony. Everyone knows that. But some couples even request that you don't use your phone at all. “Unplugged weddings are a big trend lately, and a lot of couples are starting to request that guests refrain from taking pictures or using their phones during the ceremony," said Hauck. Even more reason to tuck that thing into your purse, where it belongs.
12. Complaining About The Food
If you have dietary restrictions, it's perfectly acceptable to inform the couple before the big day. But whatever you do, don't complain about the meal day-of — even if it looks gross. Eat whatever you can, according to Tzeses, say it was great, and make plans to stop for pizza later on.
13. Commenting On The Decor
Some of us have pretty strong opinions when it comes to wedding decor, so it can be difficult to keep you thoughts to yourself. But even if you mean nothing bad by them, and even if you don't say anything to the couple, it can still come off as rude. After all, "this is not your wedding and everyone has their own personal tastes," Opperman says. If you despise those pink flowers, keep it to yourself.
14. Going Overboard At The Open Bar
You shouldn't go overboard at the open bar not because it's bad to drink at a wedding, but because this often means attracting undo attention to yourself. If you think things could get out of hand, save the hard partying for later. "You don’t want to be the person remembered at the wedding," Opperman says. "Save that for the bride and groom."
15. Announcing Your Big News
Congrats, you're having a baby, or you just got engaged, or you're moving to Europe. Whatever it is, good for you. But keep it to yourself. "The bride and groom get a day," Fusaro said. "One full day where they get to have all eyes on them." Don't detract from that by announcing big news and making it all about you — even if it's only for a moment.
If you can keep these things in mind, you'll be the best — and most polite — wedding guest ever.
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