10 Things People Do At Weddings That Are TOTALLY Humiliating

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wedding etiquette

Don't be this person!

The happy couple announces their engagement. 

A budget is set. Planning begins. Pinterest is poured over. Bridal magazines pile up. The bride says yes to the dress. Showers and celebrations ensue.

It is a happy time focused only on the bride and groom and their happy life together, right?


For some reason, weddings can bring out the worst in people. People who are normally smart, savvy, successful, kind and thoughtful people in their everyday lives can morph into self-centered, pouty divas.

And it takes only one self-centered guest to steal the joy and enchantment of a wedding celebration.

What is it about weddings that can inspire normally good people to ruin someone's special day? How are the people we love so oblivious?

People often forget a wedding isn’t about them.

These people forget they are supporting cast members, not the stars. Some people do this because they can’t stand not being front and center. Others do it because they haven’t a clue how to be a good guest.

Bottom line: the wedding is about the happy couple, NOT about the guests.

When people forget they are not the main event, they run the risk of being that pain-in-the-rear-end guest that kills the joy of the wedding — from the planning to the big day. They become the reason the couple wants to throw in the brand-new tea towel and elope.

Wondering how you might be sabotaging someone’s big day? Here are 10 things no wedding guest should do:

1. Do not bring your children to an adults-only wedding. Do not even ask.

Guests cannot possibly know the intricacies of creating a guest list that accommodates multiple sides of a family. 

If children were not invited, trust that the couple came to this decision based on venue, budget and personal preference. It isn’t about you. It’s about the couple. Honor their wishes.

A line has to be drawn on the guest list and sometimes that means not everyone’s children can attend. It isn’t selfish.

It isn’t a snub. It is a decision the couple made with regard to many different factors that are simply none of your business.

If you must, politely decline the invitation. Better yet, hire a babysitter. Even if the wedding is out of town, there are babysitting options. Use them.

2.  If you were not given a "plus one", do NOT bring a guest.

Again. This isn’t a snub or a personal attack.

It is about the budget and what makes the most sense to the couple and/or their families. It isn’t about you. It’s about the couple. Honor their wishes.

3. Curb your drinking. 

Yes, weddings are fun. Yes, the day goes hand in hand in celebratory drinking.

If you’re young, save the excessive drinking for after-hours, when all the friends go out on the town. During the ceremony and reception, no one wants to witness Millenial Mike, Uncle Wally or Neighbor Sue drunk, belligerent and grinding on the dance floor.

Don’t embarrass yourself. Don’t embarrass the other guests. Keep a lid on it. It isn’t about you. It’s about the couple.

They don’t want to spend their reception apologizing for your inappropriate behavior.

4. Do not be the guest who faints during the wedding.

There are medical emergencies nobody can plan for, and everyone knows that. 

But please drink enough water and eat before you attend a wedding in a stuffy church or hot, sunny venue.

You don’t want to be the guest who faints from hunger or heatstroke, forcing a heartbroken bride to choose between tending to your needs or continuing on with her dream ceremony.

Crash dieting to fit into a dress is never a good idea.

And if you do happen to be that guest who ruins the ceremony, don’t show up at the reception buffet and eat your heart out. It isn’t about you and your dress. It’s about the couple.

5. Don’t sneak in late, thinking nobody will notice.

You can’t. They will probably notice.

Things happen. People are late. If you find yourself in this situation, simply wait out of sight until there is a point in the ceremony where you are certain you can sneak in without a scene.

As more and more weddings take place in non-traditional venues, it is even easier to mistake the entrance and exits. Be mindful.

You don’t want to be that guest who casually walks down the aisle, beer in hand, not realizing you just became a part of the processional.

This isn’t about you. It’s about the couple. Be seated well before the ceremony starts.

6. Wear appropriate attire.

There is nothing wrong with your clingy, strappy dress at some evening receptions, but be sympathetic to different religions and cultures’ traditions.

Showing too much skin in some temples, mosques or churches is considered in very poor taste at best, and downright disrespectful at worst.

This isn’t about you. It about honoring the couple, their customs and traditions.

Keep in mind their families will be in attendance. This isn't a nightclub. If need be, have two outfits — one more conservative for the ceremony and another for the reception.

Or keep a coat or shawl on hand. This isn't about you and your dress, it is about showing respect for the bride and groom.

7. Don’t break sacred customs.

Not being familiar with a certain culture does not mean you are free to do as you please.

Pay attention to what other guests are or are not doing. Look around. Find someone who won’t be interrupted or bothered and ask them questions, if you are unsure of a custom.

You wouldn’t think to eat a slice of wedding cake before the bride and groom cut it, so don’t assume you understand all traditions of another religion or custom.

Don't assume you can dance with the opposite sex at a Jewish Orthodox wedding. Don't assume it is okay to bring alcohol to a conservative Christian wedding. 

Pay attention. It isn’t about you.

8. Don’t be that person who grabs the mic and gives a rambling, unplanned toast.

If you aren’t asked to give a toast, stay away from the microphone.

By grabbing the mic, you create a no-win situation for the couple: Either everyone must politely sit through your pontifications while the clock ticks away on their well-scheduled day (Including DJ and venue time) or someone has to awkwardly ask you to stop.

It’s not about you. It’s about the couple. If you are invited to give a toast, remember it is an invitation to say a few words to honor the bride and groom, not humiliate or embarrass them.

Also, crying uncontrollably during the toast gets old quick. It’s a celebration, not a funeral. Be charming. Be inclusive. Be succinct. 

9. Do not flirt excessively with other guests if you are single —  and definitely not if you are married.

For some reason, the combination of weddings and alcohol gives some people the green light for coming on strong.

When your got-to-get-some game is strong, keep in mind that you may very well be seeing these people at every birthday, baptism, graduation or wedding celebration for the rest of your life.

What seems like a great idea in the moment can leave you (or someone else) cringing for years. Think twice before coming on to every single person in the room.

Trust me. You’ll thank me later.

10. Lastly, have fun.

If you are going to be a pursed lipped, uppity, judgmental guest, stay home.

Part of accepting an invitation to a wedding is the understanding that you will participate.

Dance. Laugh. Talk, mingle. Smile at strangers. Introduce yourself to people you don’t know at your table.

Now isn't the time to be passively-aggressively sour-faced because you weren't asked to be a bridesmaid, or to share your opinion on how the marriage won't last.

It isn’t about you. It is about the couple.They want to see their guests having fun.

Leave your dramas at the door and enjoy yourself. Give the gift of happiness and joy to the bride and groom on their big day.

We are all grown-ups here.

We are all old enough to be good guests. Not having been taught how to act is not an excuse.

Pay attention to clues all around you.

You can figure out the etiquette. If you are the type that needs to be the center of attention, I urge you to channel your need for attention, control, and importance in some other healthy direction. Hijacking a wedding is never okay, even if you do it by accident.

Wondering how to end some of the drama in your life? Wishing you could cope more effectively with crazy-making relatives? T-Ann Pierce is a transformational coach who helps men and women end the cycles of drama so they can start to live lives they love. Contact her at 847.730.7531 to set up a free discovery call.