The Top 20 Wedding No-Nos: A Funny Look at Wedding Faux Pas
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).
- 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.
- Don't bring an uninvited guest: Check the invitation envelope. If it's addressed to you and guest and you RSVP'd that 2 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 Mitchell