9 Wedding Faux Pas

A young boy and girl at a wedding sitting on the floor watching adults.

Unsure of how to act at a wedding, whether it’s yours or someone else’s? This can be tough terrain to find your way through, especially when you’re stressed with planning and paying for a huge event, and you’re not quite thinking straight when it comes to wedding etiquette. Here are some bad wedding blunders that people make.

1. Not Sending Thank You Cards for Wedding Gifts

A simple, personalized thank you note doesn’t take much time to write, and it won’t break the bank. The key is to not leave these until long after your wedding. Sit down with your new husband or wife and get on these right away so you don’t have this languishing on your to-do list.

2. Bringing Children When They’re not Invited

If the kiddos were not specifically mentioned on that wedding invitation, then we’d recommend getting a babysitter for the night and leaving them at home with pizza and a movie. These days, as wedding festivities are becoming more personalized, complex, and expensive, the bride and groom may not necessarily want to spend extra resources and time accommodating at their reception for children.

3. Bringing Your Tinder Date as a Plus-One

A man with his arm around his wedding date at a reception table with friends.

If you bring a plus-one whom you just met, it can be a little awkward for everyone involved. It’s just a little strange to expect your friends to pay for you to bring someone you just met yourself to their special day. It just seems disrespectful to bring someone who isn’t very important to you, just so you can have someone to hang out with.

4. Asking Guests to Help Clean Up After the Reception

Don’t ask friends and family, many of whom may have traveled a long way to see you get hitched, clean up after the reception. If guests offer, thank them for the thought, but politely decline.

5. Inviting Some Guests to Pre-Wedding Events…

…but not actually inviting them to the wedding. This is pretty bad form, especially when gifts are involved, such as at a bridal shower. Of course, you can’t invite everyone to the big day, unless you want to break the bank. But tact and a bit of planning are needed so that you aren’t burning bridges or stepping on any toes. Coworkers can be particularly tough when it comes to invites; it can get awkward to invite some and not others. Just make sure you’re respectful, and that you’re not bragging about your big wedding to anyone who isn’t exactly invited to attend.

6. Moving Your Seat at the Reception Dinner

An elegant, rustic, table setting for a wedding with a black place card.

The bride and groom often put a lot of time and thought into the seating plan. Make sure that if you do need to chat with someone, you do so at an appropriate time, and that you don’t just sit in another guest’s seat or drag your chair over. This is not only rude to the table you’re ditching, but and can cause guests to feel cramped at the table you’re moving to. Trust us on this one—stick to your assigned seat, at least until the dancing starts, when it’s then usually more acceptable to sit wherever you want.

7. Having A VIP Liquor Bottle

If you’re going to have top-shelf drinks just for the bridal party, or for a few select guests, then make sure that this happens behind closed doors. Nothing is more uncomfortable than another guest asking if she or he can have a swig of the secret bottle, only to be informed that this isn’t for them.

8. Not Sending an RSVP

This is a common courtesy, and not something that should be taken lightly. If you know you’re going to attend a wedding, then let your hosts know beforehand. And don’t just send an email or a text. It’s best to send back the actual RSVP slip if one arrived with the invitation. This helps make it easier on whoever’s collecting and keeping track of the guest list.

9. Visiting the Bride or Groom Before the Wedding Starts

Men helping each other get ready for a wedding and tying ties.

If the bride (or groom, for that matter) didn’t explicitly invite you to where they’re getting ready for the ceremony, then it’s not appropriate for you to enter their space and impose on them in that way. They’re probably feeling a little stressed, or want a few moments of time with just their wedding party and closest family members before they walk the aisle. Give them some much-needed space, no matter how excited you are or how far you’ve traveled, and greet them after the ceremony.

When considering your behavior around weddings, whether it’s yours or someone else’s, follow your gut, be mindful, and think about how you’d feel if you were hosting or attending the party.

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