Most people get it. Getting married is a big deal.  Two people are changing their life forever, standing in front of all their friends, reeling from the prior months of meticulous planning and embarking on a brand new journey.  As wedding guests, we owe them respect and graciousness.  You were hand picked to attend this wedding.  That’s an honor!

So, what drives the wedding couple crazy and the vendors insane?  Bad manners by wedding guests.  So here is my top 10 list of what not to do at a wedding.  Things that the bride and groom will be too polite to tell you.  I tried to count them down from least annoying to most annoying.  But they’re all equally bad, so they are in no particular order.

10. Don’t be late.  Nothing is more disruptive than a handful (usually more) guests attempting to sneak into the back of the church after the ceremony has started.  Inevitably they arrive just as the bride is about to march down the aisle.  Weddings start on time.  Please give your friends this courtesy and arrive prior to the start time.

9.  Don’t arrive early to the reception.  It’s really not okay to skip the ceremony and  jump right to the reception.  Try to make both if at all possible.  But if you have to skip the ceremony for whatever reason, PLEASE do not stampede straight for the reception a half an hour early.  The staff will not be ready for you and will resent you milling around in their way while they are putting the finishing touches on everything.

8. Do not step in the aisle to snap a photo on your IPhone.  Or your digital camera.  Or your 1979 Polaroid.  Your friend has spent thousands of dollars on photography.  I promise, you’re going to get a chance to get a picture of that first kiss.  Please be considerate and stay out of the photographers way.  It’s nearly impossible to Photoshop fifteen people stretched out into the aisle.

7. RSVP.  And do so by the due date.  A lot of final decisions are hinging on that magic number.  In fact, send in the card as soon as you get it.  I mean, how easy can the couple make it.  You have a self addressed stamped envelope.  Use it.

6.  Do not ask to bring more people.  If a name is not on the invitation, they were not invited.  Yes this means your darling children.  Yes this means your cousin who is staying with you for the summer.  The bride and groom have put painstaking thought into who to invite and what sort of reception they want.  They are working with space constraints and budget restrictions.  Don’t put them in an awkward position by asking if your sister-in-law and her three kids can come.

5.  If you have RSVP’d yes, then make every effort to be there, or tell them as soon as you know you can’t make it.  This is maddening.  And a huge money waster for the couple.  If you RSVP that you are coming and then don’t, you have thrown away a lot of their hard earned dollars.  Multiply that by about 10 which is the average of no-shows, and that’s a heck of a lot of money.

4.  Wedding buffets are not an all-you-can-eat endeavor.  Contrary to popular belief, this is not Golden Corral.  Buffets are put together to give guests a choice, not an opportunity to binge like it’s the end of the world.  The couple has bought enough food for everyone to have one pass.  Some caterers even charge if the guests consume past the purchased amount.

3.  Consume adult beverages wisely.  Once again, the couple is paying for the alcohol, probably on a consumption bases.  If you take two sips of a glass of wine, set it down, and then go get a fresh glass, that adds up.  And watch how much you drink.  You don’t want to be the one in the pictures dancing on the buffet table.

2.  Be nice to the wedding vendors.  A simple thank you and a smile goes a long way.  Be courteous to all those who are busting their tail to pull off this shindig and to provide superior service for you.  It’s disheartening when guests are rude, condescending and snotty to the wait staff.  Unfortunately I see it more often than I’d like.

1.  Don’t try to take over the wedding.  I realize there may be some of you who are in the industry.  Or those who wish they were in the industry.  Leave the time line and logistics to the professionals.  They have a plan.  Announcing to everyone that the bride and groom is going to cut the cake before the scheduled time throws all the pros into a panic.  Just relax and enjoy the party.  We’ll take care of the rest.

+1.  Dress appropriately.  This is a wedding, not a frat party.  Save your cut-off blue jean shorts and concert tee for the after party.  In fact, stay away from denim all together (unless you know for a fact that is the theme and encouraged.) At the very least, run an iron over your clothes and make sure there are no holes.

Okay so I had 11 tips.  Now before you tell me what a meanie I am, I will confess to you that even  I, Ms. Panache, is guilty of breaking a few of these rules in my previous life. But hopefully this post will save you future embarrassment from the  faux pas that I see all too often.

Top 10 Etiquette Rules for Wedding Guests OR How Not To Be One of “Those” That We All Talk About

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