Manners & Misdemeanors

15 Things You Should Never (Ever) Do at a Wedding

Showing up too early is just as bad as showing up late.

Even though some wedding etiquette is well-known (don't wear white, people!), the reasons behind it isn't always clear. Not to mention all the things guests do but don't even realize is considered rude. Luckily, these wedding planners are spilling all the details for us.

Don't show up early.

Anytime earlier than 30 minutes prior to the ceremony could create an awkward moment for the hosts if they're not ready. "It's better to wait in your car than go to the venue and risk stressing out the bride by seeing her before the ceremony," says Holly Patton Olsen, founder of Perfectly Posh Events.

Don't show up late.


On the contrary, showing up after the ceremony's start time is also a hard no. "If you can't get there 10 minutes prior, you are better off not showing up," says Brandi Hamerstone, owner of All Events Planned. "Walking in as the bride (or groom) is walking down the aisle in incredibly rude and ruins video and photos that are being taken."

Don't record the ceremony.

Or take pictures. Most couples hire professionals to capture their big day for them. "An image of the bride walking down the aisle is quickly ruined when it's filled with guests in the background holding up their cell phones," says Kimberly N. Rhodes, owner of Hitched Events.

Don't overshare on social media.


"Couples are now opting to either have a hashtag (think #TheMillersAreMarried) or choosing to have an 'unplugged wedding," says Briar Johnston, owner of Epic Events. And as a guest, it's your job to respect the couple's decision. Wait to share details (like the bride's dress or bouquet) until the couple gives you the okay too.

Don't steal the photographer's shot.

This is especially frustrating during the family portrait session. "They distract the subjects and hence their eyes are looking at different directions instead of the photographer," says Agnes Neusse, owner of Neusse Photography. Her solution? "I usually politely tell the guests to let me go first, then I let them go."

Don't wear white.


This seems like a given, but it's worth repeating. "Nothing looks worse than standing next to the bride and basically matching her," says Hamerstone. It's the bride's day, so let her shine---plus, you have every other color in the world to choose from.

Don't bring an unexpected plus one.

The only thing more frustrating than receiving an RSVP with two names, when only one was invited, is when a guest brings a date they didn't even RSVP for. Don't assume children are invited either. "If it's not clear, ask the couple if it's a family-friendly or adult-only event," says Lindsey Nickel, wedding planner at Lovely Day Events.

Don't switch seats.


If you're not a fan of your table location (it's all the way in the back!) or who you're sitting with, it's best to suck it up and deal with it. You'll only be there for an hour or two (tops) and the bride and groom probably sat you there for a reason.

Don't bring gifts.

Tifany Wunschl, etiquette expert at Gourmet Invitations, says most people don't know it's poor etiquette to bring a gift to a wedding and you should send items to the couples' home instead. This way, the couple won't have to figure out how to get boxes home at the end of the night.

Don't talk during speeches.


Even if it isn't of huge interest to you, it's an important moment for the couple and the family member or friend speaking. Hamerstone says a good guest will put down their phone down, stop talking, and enjoy the moment with them.

Don't make a spontaneous toast.

And when it comes to speeches, more is not better. If the couple didn't ask you to say a few words, it's safe to assume they don't want you to address their guests.

Don't eat dessert before the couple.


Even if the couple serves cupcakes or other individual treats instead of cake, it's tradition to wait for the couple to have their cake cutting moment before you dive head first into your sugar coma.

Don't be rude to bartenders.

"The bar closes to keep guests at their seat during dinner service or to keep costs down for the couple," says Hamerstone. That's why you shouldn't expect to get served the entire time you're at a wedding. Complaining to the waitstaff won't help and could cause drama for the bride and groom.

Don't get drunk.


This should go without saying, but creating a scene by drinking too much is never okay and only takes away from the happy couple's day. If a bartender (or a loved one) cuts you off, it's probably for the best.

Don't take the centerpieces.

Even though at some weddings the flowers are given away to guests afterward, you shouldn't assume that's always the case. Sometimes, the vases or candles are rented and the bride and groom could get stuck with an unexpected bill if you take items without asking.

*This story originally appeared on
*Minor edits have been made by the editors

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