wedding etiquette
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25 Things You Should Never Do at a Wedding

Don't ruin the big day
wedding etiquette
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Weddings are a blast. Not only do you get to celebrate the union of loved ones, but you also get to dress up, eat a delicious catered dinner, belly up to the bar and dance the night away. While it’s all fun and games for guests, it should be equally enjoyable for the bride(s) and groom(s). Unfortunately, there’s always someone who shows up wearing white and other people in attendance that weren’t even invited at all. To most, these are obvious no-nos, but you’d be surprised how many people are oblivious to these 25 things you should never do at a wedding.

Wear white

Wear white
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Unless the couple asks you to, it’s never OK to wear white to a wedding. This color is reserved for the bride only, whether she chooses to wear it or not. It may seem like a big to-do about nothing, but it’s tradition and should be respected. You wouldn’t want someone to mistake you for the bride, would you? If you have any doubts about the color of your outfit, pick another.

Wear something scandalous

Wear something scandalous
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This isn’t a high school homecoming dance or a night out in Vegas. Wedding guests are expected to keep it classy, not flashy or trashy. Save the saucy stuff for the bachelorette party (unless you’re throwing one for a mature group).

Skip the RSVP

Skip the RSVP
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The RSVP determines the final head count before an order is sent to vendors. If you don’t reply in time or at all, you won’t have a place to sit or a plate for dinner. As a general rule of thumb, you have 24 hours to respond to a wedding invite, so grab a pen, check yes for chicken or fish and pop that sucker in the mail.

Treat the couple like travel agents

Treat the couple like travel agents
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If you’re coming in from out of town, try to make your own accommodations. The bride and groom are too busy stressing over every last detail for their espousal. They don’t want to help you book a plane ticket or hotel room.

Post a picture of the bride before the ceremony

Post a picture of the bride before the ceremony
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It’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride in her dress before she walks down the aisle, so don’t post photos of her to social media beforehand. It would be a buzzkill if the mister saw his future wife on Instagram before he saw her in person. Don’t ruin the surprise. Don’t be that person.

Show up too early

Show up too early
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Guests are expected to arrive at the ceremony 30 minutes early so that they can find a seat and get settled before the procession starts. But if you’re milling around much earlier than that, you might get in the way of important preparations.

Show up late

Show up late
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It’s incredibly rude to show up late. If worse comes to worst, wait until both parties are at the altar and quietly seat yourself in the back (if there’s any room left). People will definitely stare at you because it’s distracting when someone walks in after the wedding party, but that’s better than missing the whole shebang.

Record the ceremony

Record the ceremony
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Most people hire a professional photographer on their blessed day, and nobody wants to look back at their photos to see you holding your cellphone in front of your face like you’re recording a rock concert (which is also frowned upon). You could be blocking someone else’s view, too. Just kick it old school, live in the moment and snap some photos at the reception.

Steal the photographer’s shot

Steal the photographer’s shot
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If the photographer is taking a professional portrait of the bride and groom with their respective parties, don’t hover to take your own. With multiple cameras around, those being photographed will look in different directions. Let the photographer finish and just take pictures when he or she done.

Bring a random gift

Bring a random gift
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People create wedding registries because they want to make sure they’re only getting things they actually want. If you don’t see an Instant Pot on the list, don’t buy one. Simple as that. Also, the couple may prefer to have gifts sent to their home so that they don’t have to figure out how to pack everything up at the end of the night.

Bring a plus-one if you weren’t offered one

Bring a plus-one if you weren’t offered one
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Unless you were specifically offered a guest, don’t bring one. The couple is planning for you and you only, and will indicate on the RSVP whether or not you are allowed to bring a plus-one. Never assume that you’re entitled to bring anyone with you, even if it’s your significant other or child. If you’re unsure, the best thing to do is ask.

Wing a speech

Wing a speech
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It’s not wise to be unprepared in any situation, but when you’re expected to give a heartfelt speech about the man or woman of the hour, it would be a shame to stumble over your thoughts (or lack thereof) and let them down. You don’t have to read off of a note card per se, but it’s smart to practice what you want to say before you get on the microphone. Whatever you do, never say these 10 things during a wedding toast. Say these things instead.

Give a drunk speech

Give a drunk speech
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Have you ever felt instant shame upon waking up after a long night of drinking because you don’t remember what you said or to whom? Imagine that, but the “what” was your wedding toast and the “whom” was the bride, groom, their families and all of their friends.

Make an unexpected speech

Make an unexpected speech
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If you weren’t directly asked to give a speech, it’s safe to assume the bride and groom never wanted you to make one in the first place.

Talk during the speech

Talk during the speech
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It’s rude to talk over others in general, but it’s outrageously impolite to have your own conversation while others are toasting to the couple. Unless it’s an emergency, whatever you have to say can wait.

Change your seat

Change your seat
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If you don’t like where you’re seated, too bad. You’ll only be there for an hour or two and then it’s a free-for-all on the dance floor. A little small talk with strangers never hurt anybody! The newlyweds sat you there for a reason, and if you move, you’ll cause a commotion.

Complain

Complain
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It takes a lot of time and money to plan a wedding, and the couple is likely really proud about the end result. After months and sometimes years of making sure everything is just right, the last thing they want to hear is your unprovoked thoughts about the bridesmaid dresses, the décor, the venue, the DJ, the dinner or the flavor of your wedding cake.

Ask for seconds at dinner

Ask for seconds at dinner
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The average cost per dinner plate is $30, but can reach anywhere up to $100 a pop. You can see how that might add up. Could you imagine ordering enough to feed every guest seconds? That bill would be astronomical. Nibble on small bites before the meal and dessert once the cake is cut. If that doesn’t do it for you, fill up on strawberry daiquiris at the bar or pop in a piece of gum.

Eat dessert before the couple

Eat dessert before the couple
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Traditionally, the couple cuts into the cake (and smushes it into each other’s faces) before everyone else digs in, even if small sweets like cupcakes, tarts and cookies are already out on the dessert table.

Get too drunk

Get too drunk
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A wedding is a party after all, and people will celebrate by drinking the night away on cheap beer and wine. This is totally fine and normal, but make sure you don’t get too gassed and embarrass yourself. Nobody likes a sloppy drunk.

Dance inappropriately

Dance inappropriately
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Do the Tootsie Roll, the Electric Slide, the Chicken Dance — whatever. Just don’t bump and grind. Weddings are a family-friendly environment, and Grandma doesn’t want to see you twerk.

Let your kids wreak havoc

Let your kids wreak havoc
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Nobody likes a screaming kid, but most parents know that’s out of their control. If your child starts wailing during the nuptials, quietly excuse yourself until all is well once more.

Get aggressive during the bouquet toss

Get aggressive during the bouquet toss
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Maybe you desperately want to be the next of your girls to get married, but it’s a bad look when you tackle everyone in your path to catch the bouquet. Yes, it’s tradition, but does catching some flowers really decide whether or not you’ll walk down the aisle soon?

Take the table centerpieces

Take the table centerpieces
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Sometimes there will be a bottle opener or another small gift for guests to take home after the reception, but you should never take anything else off the table. Flowers are often given to guests at the end of the night, but most vases and other centerpieces are usually rentals and need to be returned.

Get engaged

Get engaged
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Do we even have to explain this one? If people are getting married, don’t steal their spotlight by popping the question to your beloved. No one wants to celebrate you today. There are 365 days in the year, and this one is not it. This one might seem super obvious, but it still happens. There will always be those people who are oblivious to proper etiquette, so when it comes time for you to tie the knot, be prepared to face these wedding planning stresses you can’t control.

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