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The Top 20 Wedding No-Nos: A Funny Look at Wedding Faux Pas

I've been to many weddings in my lifetime, and I've seen a lot of things—most were good, but some were definitely bad.

Bride with her bridesmaids

Bride with her bridesmaids

It's Wedding Season

Wedding season is here and chances are that: a) you have at least one invitation on your kitchen counter; or b) you're getting ready for your own big day. If you fit into the latter category, what are you doing reading this article? You should be getting your favors together or making sure that Aunt Sue and Uncle Jim, who haven't spoken to each other in 20 years, aren't sitting side by side!

I've been to many weddings in my lifetime, and I've seen a lot of things—most were good, but some were definitely bad. By the time I got married at 35, I had compiled a long list of wedding no-nos.

Now, we would all like to think our weddings were perfect (me included), but as anyone who has ever been a guest at a wedding or in a wedding knows, it's just not possible. Inevitably, you'll get that guest who goes bonkers or you'll go to a wedding that seems longer than a 0–0 baseball game in the 18th inning. Here are a few tongue-in-cheek pointers from a wedding veteran who has been to more weddings than I can remember—and even planned one of my own.

The Top 10 No-Nos for the Wedding Guest

These wedding guest no-nos are in no particular order and, in the interest of full disclosure, I am guilty of at least two of them (but I don't plan on revealing which ones).

  1. Don't forget to RSVP: In the invitation, there will almost always be an addressed stamped envelope with an RSVP card that just requires you to check off yes or no. It's not rocket science! Fill it out and send it back before the deadline.
  2. Don't bring an uninvited guest: Check the invitation envelope. If it's addressed to you and a guest and you RSVP'd that two people would be attending, then it's ok to bring someone. If the envelope is addressed to you alone, don't bring the guy or gal that you met in the hotel bar the night before. If the invitation says "no kids" then don't bring them. Not everyone thinks it's cute when a screaming two-year-old throws prime rib across the dance floor!
  3. Don't get completely and utterly drunk: Now I am not saying that you shouldn't have a good time. Believe me when I say that I've had my fair share of wedding cocktails. But once you've seen the best man puke on the wedding dress and then pass out on the dais you'll understand why this is a no-no. Let's just say that the buffet was not quite as appealing after that wedding album moment.
  4. Don't take the table centerpiece: That is unless you ask for it or win it in one of those wedding games. This happened at two of my tables and those hurricane lamps ended up costing a heck of a lot more than they ever should have.
  5. Don't take over the microphone and give a toast unless you were asked to: I could never imagine doing this, but then, I clam up if I have to speak to a group of stuffed animals. No one, and I mean no one, wants to sit through a 10-minute toast from some coworker who can't remember the bride's name.
  6. Don't regift: But if you must, then remember to take out the note that your cousin Ida left in the box when she gave you that crystal-encrusted pink flamingo lamp five years ago.
  7. Don't dress inappropriately: Casual is fine for a casual wedding, but if the invitation says semiformal then torn jeans and a Nascar t-shirt won't cut it.
  8. Don't skip the wedding service if you're attending the reception: I've noticed this at more weddings than I thought I would. I get it if you have a time conflict, but if you don't want to sit through the service then don't go at all. It makes it pretty obvious that you're just there for the free food.
  9. Don't tell off-color stories at the reception: Sometimes you don't know who you're sitting next to. It could turn out to be the groom's devoutly religious cousin, and he may not be amused by all those randy tales you're telling.
  10. Don't forget to turn off your cell phone: Sorry to have to say this, but you just aren't that important—and if you are, then turn it to vibrate.

The Top 10 No-Nos for the Bride and Groom

Everyone wants their wedding to be a certain way, but you don't have to torture your guests in the process. With a little common sense and a calm head, everyone can have a great time.

  1. Don't forget to be kind to your bridesmaids: That dress with full gathering around the waist, a huge bow on the butt, and sleeves that puffed out like the shoulder pads on an all-pro linebacker did me absolutely no favors.
  2. Don't invite someone to your shower and neglect to invite them to your wedding: If your guest is good enough to help chip in for a fun-filled weekend to Key West, then they are darn well good enough to make the wedding list cut, especially with a guest list of 250.
  3. Don't have a super long break between the ceremony and the reception: Waiting six hours for a cocktail and a bacon-wrapped scallop doesn't make for a festive start to the evening. Driving for over two hours from the church to the reception hall puts a damper on things, too. It wouldn't kill you to look for something closer.
  4. Don't wait until the end of the night to cut the cake: Some of your guests may not want to dance the night away, but they really want a piece of that red velvet goodness. Get all your formalities out of the way at the beginning of the reception so your guests don't feel bad leaving early.
  5. Don't forget to send thank-you notes: A $200 crystal bowl deserves a two-minute thank-you note. Believe me when I say that the person who doesn't get a thank-you note won't easily forget it.
  6. Don't plan an outdoor wedding without thinking it through: A dusty Texas field dotted with cow patties in late July with no shade is not the ideal wedding location. At least spring for a canopy.
  7. Don't neglect your seating chart: If you just have to invite your mother's grumpy 95-year-old friend, then don't seat her next to your college buddies. They really don't want to hear about her digestive troubles.
  8. Don't choose your theme wedding carelessly: Theme weddings are great fun, but don't overdo it! Some of your guests may not want to be required to give their wedding video toast wearing a furry animal suit, especially after every other guest has already done it.
  9. Don't forget the food: Have some! Providing at least some food is important, but be careful not to overdo it. No one is going to feel like dancing if they've just finished off a 20-course dinner with three different meat courses.
  10. Don't skimp on the restroom facilities: If you've ever been to an outdoor wedding with 100 guests and one port-a-potty for all to share, then you'll know what I mean.
Lovely wedding flowers

Lovely wedding flowers

Weddings Are Great

I love weddings. They are happy occasions where you see old friends and family. You meet interesting people and make new friends. There are some really interesting traditions out there and weddings give you a taste of some of them.

No wedding is ever perfect, but every wedding has a little bit of perfection in it. Sometimes every single one of these no-nos occurs. Sometimes the bride's friend from high school is going around from table to table crying to anyone who'll listen because his wife just dumped him. In the end, people usually end up having a good time, and it's that little bit of perfection that they remember.

Have fun at your next wedding!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Claudia Porter


Claudia Porter (author) on June 23, 2015:

Ha! I misunderstood. Once my daughter finds that special someone our days may be locked too!!! Of course she's only 12 so it should be many many years from now! Too funny. Have a great day Paula!

Suzie from Carson City on June 23, 2015:

GTF.....OH......there's no "wedding" planned. I was just saying that I only have one more to be married!! LOL......I've had him advertised for years. Maybe I need to re-word the ad!............(He & his "girlfriend" have a home & family together.....actually, he's probably smart not to get married!!)

My only obligation is to keep locks on my doors! I tell the girls...."He's yours now, I take no returns, give no refunds!!" LOL

Claudia Porter (author) on June 23, 2015:

Hi Paula - Nice to see you again! I think that wedding flaws just make it that much more fun, but only long after the wedding LOL! Have fun at your son's wedding. I'm sure everyone will have a great time!

Suzie from Carson City on June 22, 2015:

Glimmer....You have covered absolutely everything. This is a perfect Do's & Don't's list for weddings.

In order to know all of this, of course we've all been to weddings that had some unfortunate flaws or mishaps... Oops! Having every last moment from start to finish go like a fine-tuned Stradyvari just won't happen.

You're right, most weddings are beautiful and the guests have a great time. I have one more wedding in my own family and since I'm an official Mother of the Groom.....I just need to keep my mouth shut and sign my check!!.....LOL..........UP+++++ Peace, Paula

Claudia Porter (author) on June 22, 2015:

Thanks so much for your nice comment Kenneth! I appreciate it! Hope you are building lots of bird houses!

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on June 17, 2015:

Glimmer Twin Fan . . .

Hi. I don't know if you follow me or not since my time is divided between building birdhouses and doing Hubs, but I invite you to BE one of my followers for this hub is simply intelligent and hilarious at one time.

Not every writer can achieve that.

Have a peaceful day.

Oh, and if you ARE one of my followers, THANK YOU!

Claudia Porter (author) on June 17, 2015:

Hi James Defranco - It'g good you weren't upset about the uninvited guests! I bet some folks would have not been real happy with that. Thanks for reading and commenting!

James Defranco on June 16, 2015:

We actually had a few uninvited guests come to our wedding! Turns out they were really cool people though, even though no one knew them. My wedding went off smoothly, I have never been to a wedding with much if any issue like one of these. Hopefully they continue to go well!

Claudia Porter (author) on May 29, 2013:

Thanks rajan. It was fun to write.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on May 28, 2013:

Very useful pointers and a great checklist, GTF.

Claudia Porter (author) on May 18, 2013:

VVanNess - Thanks for reading and commenting. Bridesmaids definitely need their own manual too.

Victoria Van Ness from Fountain, CO on May 18, 2013:

Great article! I wish someone would write one for bridesmaids! :)

Claudia Porter (author) on May 18, 2013:

Thanks so much MelonieGilchrist. There are definitely a lot of people that I know who could use some of these tips!

MelonieGilchrist on May 15, 2013:

Wow, some of these I wish other people knew when going to a wedding. Great information! Passing this onto others!

Claudia Porter (author) on March 03, 2013:

Gotta love those "Uncle Lous"!

Holly Kline from South Jersey on March 03, 2013:

I've got some fun stories, it's true. I've come to a saying: Someone's got to be Drunk Uncle Lou. It never fails.

My very favorite is from my brother's wedding, though: the bridesmaids got together, surrounded my Dad on the dance floor, and boy did he enjoy every second. My Mom and I laughed ourselves silly.

Claudia Porter (author) on March 03, 2013:

Thanks Beltane73! I bet you've seen some interesting behavior at weddings!

Holly Kline from South Jersey on March 02, 2013:

Love it! As an officiant, faved and Funnied.

Claudia Porter (author) on March 02, 2013:

I have always been surprised that people take centerpieces. I have been to a couple of weddings were the played a simple table game to determine who got to take home the centerpiece, but that was legitimate. Thanks so much for commenting. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub!

ExpectGreatThings from Illinois on February 28, 2013:

I was going to comment at how shocked I am that people actually took your centerpieces, but from the comments it sounds like that is somewhat common. Outrageous! Seriously, stealing from friends?!

This was a fun read. It reminded me of all the terrible bridesmaid dresses I still have stashed away in the back of a closet at my parents' house. And maybe another "no-no" could be choosing bridesmaids dresses that cost a small fortune.

Claudia Porter (author) on February 10, 2013:

Thanks for commenting Lizolivia - You brought up some good points.

Lizolivia from Central USA on February 08, 2013:

Great tips, all of them are important.

#9-Take notice of what and who you talk about when seated at the reception table if you don't know who everyone is.

If introductions are not done while people sit, it's easy to slip up after a few drinks and begin saying offensive things in jest. Be sure everyone at your table knows who is who. Introductions alert people to what to refrain from saying about who after things lighten up.

Without a seating chart:

After introductions, if it doesn't jell right and seats are still open, spot another table where you would be more comfortable before the seats are taken without turning it into musical chairs. Politely and calmly excuse yourself; such as, "Oh look, there is so and so!..... It was very nice to have met you." This opens your seats for guests they know to join them when done early.

Claudia Porter (author) on January 14, 2013:

I appreciate it Michelle. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I think we are losing etiquette as time goes on. Thanks for commenting!

Claudia Porter (author) on January 14, 2013:

Thanks Mary! It has always surprised me what can disappear at functions, especially weddings.

Michelle Liew from Singapore on January 13, 2013:

I think, like Mary said, some people need reminders about etiquette, and these are excellent ones. Thanks for sharing! Passing this on, with votes across!

Mary Hyatt from Florida on January 13, 2013:

Some people are SO rude. I've seen the centerpieces disappear. Good Hub.

oceanuniverse from California on November 20, 2012:

Your welcome.

Claudia Porter (author) on November 20, 2012:

Thanks for the comments oceanuniverse. I don't think that many people do follow these rules.

oceanuniverse from California on November 19, 2012:

Loved what you had to say, great article. I wonder actually many people actually follow some of these rules? I know the centerpieces are hard to keep on the tables, people do want to take them. Thank-you for sharing.

Claudia Porter (author) on August 21, 2012:

MelChi - Thanks for the comments! Hopefully people can use these hints.

Melanie Chisnall from Cape Town, South Africa on August 21, 2012:

These are fantastic ideas for anyone - those attending weddings, as well as the bridal couple! Beautifully written and laid out - thanks! :)

Claudia Porter (author) on July 22, 2012:

Thanks mollymeadows! I can't even look at the pictures anymore with me in that dress!

Mary Strain from The Shire on July 21, 2012:

Thank you for injecting some common sense into what can be a crazy event, GT. In the '80s I attended several weddings in the bridesmaid dress you mentioned...the one that did me "absolutely no favors" -- lol! Thanks for being the voice of the silent sufferers!

Claudia Porter (author) on July 21, 2012:

Thanks so much ripplemaker! I was so excited when I saw this.

Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on July 20, 2012:

The planning truly helps and this list is a great reminder for the No-nos in a wedding. The last few weddings I have attended were great and I shed some happy tears for the couple too. :)

Ripplemaker's News: Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination. Do visit this link to see your nominated hub and read and vote! Enjoy!

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on July 10, 2012:

Hey, Glimmer,

You are most-welcome. My pleasure to tell a talented writer the truth about her work. And I appreciate YOU for sharing your talent with HubPages.


Claudia Porter (author) on July 10, 2012:

Thanks so much for the comments Kenneth! I really appreciate them.

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on July 10, 2012:

In a word, "wow," what a great hub. Voted up and all the way. Loved it, Glimmer Twin. Even the graphics were perfect. And this hub should be a must-read for newlyweds-to-be. Great advice.


Claudia Porter (author) on July 04, 2012:

I'm glad you liked it and glad the evil eye worked! Thanks for the vote up!

moonlake from America on July 04, 2012:

Very good information. My nephew came to our daughter's wedding and he instantly started causeing trouble and he brought a friend with him that was just as bad. When I gave him the evil eye he settled down and was good the rest of the evening. My husband laughted, those kids know not to mess with auntie. It's funny how people think they should act crazy at weddings. Voted Up on your hub.

Claudia Porter (author) on July 01, 2012:

Interesting. As a guest one doesn't see too much activity from the mother of the groom and I was lucky and have a great mother in law. Thanks for the comment!

DIYweddingplanner from South Carolina, USA on July 01, 2012:

Ha, I've seen these things and more! But the worst behavior is from the mother of the groom! Fun and interesting hub, welcome!