The Worst Mistakes Wedding Guests Make

An elegant wedding reception table with blue cloth napkins and pastel florals.

There’s a certain level of behavior that’s expected of guests at weddings. They’re often quite expensive—those raucous DJs and awesome food don’t come cheap—so it’s understandable that the people running the show can be a little particular when it comes to wedding guests’ behavior. They don’t want anyone disrupting the flow of the event they’ve worked so hard to make happen. And often the guests don’t see all the effort behind the wedding.

Wondering what blunders you might have made in the past? Curious about what you should avoid doing at all costs in the future? Look no further! We’re here to help you put your best wedding guest foot forward.

Switching up the Seating Plan

This is something many folks don’t consider. The couple often spends painstaking hours going over the seating plans, moving people around and trying to prevent awkward pairings. When you sit down, you may not realize all the work that goes into preparing the seating plan. But one of couples’ greatest pet peeves is when guests move to a different table than they’re assigned, or swap seats at the table. Not only does it negate all their hard work, but it can be seen as disrespectful. So, if you see someone doing this or if you have the urge to jump ship yourself, just remember that you don’t have to sit here for long. It’s just for dinner and speeches, not for eternity. It’s always understood that you can talk to new people when the dancing starts. Just make sure that wine glass is filled to the brim. This will help your great aunt’s stories feel like epic sagas, rather than the so-boring-it’s-like-watching-paint-dry spiels they really are.

Blowing off the RSVP

Don’t do it. Like we said before, a ton of time, funds, and effort goes into planning a party for a bunch of people. If you’ve ever thrown a big party, you know how important having an accurate guest count is for putting everything together. Don’t forget to use their RSVP system, whether it’s email or a little card you mail back that arrived with the invitation. Don’t send a text to someone trying to keep track of a few hundred names.

Forgetting a Gift

A stack of wedding gifts wrapped in white and beige.

Sometimes people figure there are going to be so many gifts that the happy couple won’t notice if yours isn’t there. Trust me—they notice. Presents are tradition at weddings so if you don’t have the money for one, try making a gift or putting a photo of the couple in a nice frame. Also, make sure you label the card so they know who it’s from.

Leaving Super Early

Unless you have a good excuse (and we mean a good excuse), don’t pack up and leave right after dinner. If you don’t want to be there in the first place, then don’t check “yes” on the RSVP card.

Proposing to a Lover

A man offering an engagement ring to a woman.

After a few cocktails and an inspiring ceremony that reminds you of the importance and gravitas of true love in this perishing world, you may get the urge to propose to your lover during the event. Don’t do it. You wouldn’t want someone standing up and announcing it’s their birthday, too, at your big birthday bash, would you? It simply steals the spotlight.

Taking Decorations

Don’t grab anything from tables or other decor areas as a memento. The wedding hosts will likely have specific plans for these items after the event, and in many cases items will be rented and their return expected. The couple will have to pay a fee for not returning them, so don’t add to their wedding bill in this way. If they do want the decor or other items gone at the end of the night, they will let you know if you can take them home with you.

The Irish Goodbye

Don’t take off without saying your goodbyes to the bride and groom or other people responsible for the event such as the bride’s parents. Leaving without thanking them for the fun time is just not polite. This doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out conversation—especially if it’s a large wedding. Just let them know how much fun you’ve had and how happy you are for the couple.

Whatever you do, keep in mind that what may be appropriate at one wedding may not be appropriate at another. While people have different preferences, they’ve worked hard to make this day special, so try to put yourself in the shoes of those throwing the party (or paying for it).

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