Don't Do These Things if You're Invited to a Wedding

The ultimate etiquette guide for wedding guests.   

By Henry Adeleye on May 15, 2015 


Part two of our summer wedding series. 

A few weeks ago, we gave some critical advice for soon-to-be newlyweds to get through wedding season without making a huge mistake.  Today, we shift our attention to the wedding guests.  Though the most important guidelines for a wedding will always be for those getting married, wedding guests also have a key role to play, namely making sure they don't embarrass those getting married.  So to make sure you don’t do that, here's a list of things you shouldn't do if you're invited to a wedding this summer...or ever:  


Bring a guest if you don't have explicit permission to do so. 

Never show up to a wedding with uninvited guests.  Despite how funny Wedding Crashers was, situations like that are never as funny in real life as they are on the big screen.  A lot of planning probably went into the guest list, with pretty much every seat and plate at the reception accounted for.  And here you go just messing all that up.  Shame on you.  This goes for bringing unaccounted-for kids, as well.  If it's a dire situation, always check with the bride and groom first.      


RSVP and then not show up. 

They won't be mad if you can't make it.  In fact, they'll have to hide their excitement because they probably (definitely) invited too many people.  They already paid good money to have you there, and even worse, they probably weren't able to invite someone they really wanted to be there because they would've felt guilty not inviting you.  So if you can't make it, let them know ahead of time so they can trim down their over-the-limit guest list.     


Show up late. 

For some reason, people think weddings start late.  They usually don't, being that everything is on a paid schedule and whatnot.  Save yourself some awkwardness by being on time for the wedding.  If you come late, chances are it will be extremely quiet when you walk in, and every step you take toward your seat will be louder than the last, causing everyone to turn and stare at you with disappointment.  Then your phone will ring and you will trip up over your feet because you decided to see who was calling instead of look where you were going, causing further disappointment.  Avoid all this by just showing up on time.    


Think too hard about what gift to bring. 

If you're having a hard time thinking about what to get the new couple, either get something off their registry, a gift card from one of the stores on their registry, or cold, hard cash.  Don't over-think this one.     


Show up empty-handed. 

Times are hard, and the bride and groom understand that more than anyone.  If you can't afford a gift at this time, at least bring a card.  If you can't afford a card, make a card.  If you can't afford to make a card, steal one.  Actually, do NOT steal one.  Please don't.  Just send an eCard or something.  Some couples ask that guests don't bring gifts.  Disregard if you're one of those lucky people.   


Stay seated when it's time to dance.  

There's nothing worse than a wedding where no one is dancing.  You were invited because they like you, and they want to see the people they like having a great time.  If you don't know how to dance, YouTube at least two classic dance moves and do them to the point of exhaustion.  Also, learn how to do the Electric Slide and the Wobble.  Thank me later.  


Get too wasted. 

It's embarrassing.  For you, and actually for me, too.  Even though I probably don't even know you.   


Try to outshine the bride. 

This day is about her.  Don't ever make the mistake of forgetting that.  Unless you like having life-long enemies.  Brides hold grudges like that.      


Ignore the dress code. 

If the dress code is casual, don't show up in a tux.  Even worse, if the dress code is formal, don't show up wearing torn cargo shorts, a tank top, and soccer cleats.     


Leave before the cake is cut.  

It's understandable that people's schedules can be hectic.  So if you made obligations the same weekend as the wedding (even though you knew about the wedding for a whole year) it's perfectly fine.  But if you don't have a good excuse, try to at least stay until the cake is cut.  That way it doesn't look like their whole guest list bailed on them.  Share in the joy of the newly married couple.  And most importantly, have a great time!