What NOT to do as a Wedding Guest

By Crista Tharp – 10-11-16


I have been an event/wedding planner for over 15 years.  There has always been the ocassional annoying guest, or vendor with an attitude problem, but unfortunately, I have noticed a huge spike in rude behavior.  Here’s the thing – it’s not from Bridezillas as you might expect or even from over-bearing moms.  It’s from the guests!

Why is this happening?

Well, there are so many more factors going into today’s weddings: technology, Facebook, and let’s not forget that little thing called “entitlement”.  It all goes a long way to creating a breeding ground for rudeness.  BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE TO!

How can you be a model guest and still enjoy yourself?  Follow these Don’ts and you will have a fighting chance:

DON’T: Be Late – Seriously.  I understand things happen, but being late causes a disruption to the entire event.  Sometimes it is even FAMILY who are the late ones.  This is even worse because the Bride & Groom will feel required to wait.  Think about it.  It will send the whole schedule into a free-fall and you want WARM food right?  Being on time (early) to an event shows that you respect the couple and the evening’s events.

DON’T: Expect to be able to invite a plus one – The Bride and Groom are under no obligation to feed your “friend” (unless you are engaged). If it was just your name on the invitation, it is just you invited.  Period.  Don’t ask to bring someone.  It is rude & puts the couple in an awkward situation.  Plus, if you need someone else there to have a good time than either don’t go or buck it up & put your big boy/girl pants on and go alone.

DON’T: Bring your own alcohol to an event – It’s ridiculous I need to even mention this.  I am not joking when I say boot-legged booze is an issue at almost every wedding.  In most cases it is illegal to do bring it, but that doesn’t stop guests from hiding it their car, purses, or coat jackets.  First, if you need alcohol to have a good time, you have a problem – a serious problem.  Two, the alcohol (or lack of it) was a decision the Bride and Groom made.  Respect it.  Don’t complain about how stupid it is or how much you love your alcohol.  You just look ridiculous.  Just don’t do it.

DON’T: Get drunk – I know, this happens.  But I mean sloppy, can’t walk, start molesting the Bridal Party drunk.  I have seen guests puking on the dance floor, dropping drinks on the dance floor where guests are dancing barefoot, guests who couldn’t use a urinal correctly and my ultimate favorite – refuse to be driven home at the end of the night & cause a scene kind of drunk.  It is inappropriate and rude.  If you can’t drink without getting wasted, don’t drink.

DON’T: Stick your phone or iPad up to take pictures or record during the ceremony – There is a professional photographer that the couple paid lots of money to in order to get the best pictures possible.  At almost every wedding now, that photographer has to navigate & try to take beautiful photos around guests who have stepped into the aisle to get the picture.  So many pictures are ruined this way.  STOP IT! I even saw a family member get up in front of the couple 2 feet away during the ceremony.  Craziness!  Save your pictures for later.  Photographers share pictures on Facebook – get the pictures then.  They are going to be much better than yours anyway.

DON’T: Move tables or your name card to another table – This really does happen.  Guests think they know better and move their table (ostensibly to give themselves more room), however, what they have done is create a complete bottle neck where guests are supposed to go for the buffet line. The couple, planner, or banquet facility really do know better than you in this situation.  I have personally seen guests move their name card to a different table because they didn’t want to sit where they were placed. This is wrong on so many levels it is hard to know where to begin.  If you had to choose beef or chicken, most likely you have just messed up an entire process in which the server knows who gets what.  Plus, it’s incredibly rude.  Just sit where they have set you.

DON’T: Go to the buffet until you are released – No joke.  There are actually people who think they will physically die if they don’t get food before other people.  I have seen guests do this before the FAMILY even gets to the buffet.  You will not wait long.  Talk to the people at your table.  Engage.  If you have to, stare at your phone, but wait until you are released for the love of God.  You will make the ballroom congested and confuse other people.  Be patient.

** *BONUS ***

Ladies DON’T wear a dress or shoes that a stripper would wear while performing -to be fair, this is more for me, but I know hundreds of others that would appreciate not seeing your thong or butt cheeks during the evening.  And if you can’t walk in the 7″stilettos, then don’t wear them.  You look ridiculous.  I have had to escort women out of a party because the parents would not let them stay.  I have had a guest break her ankle because she literally could not walk in her heels.  We had to call an ambulance. I can’t make this stuff up.  Please have more respect for yourself than to wear a short dress that you have to pull down all night.  You are better than that & it is not appropriate.

A wedding is a wonderful experience.  Guests are there to help share in the joy of a new marriage.  These DON’TS are becoming so prevalent that Brides and Grooms are being forced to make signs regarding them or even mention things in the program before the ceremony starts.  This is just sad.  The next time you go to a wedding, try to remember that you are there for the couple.  To celebrate their love with their families.

Don’t be a Douch.

Here’s to Bliss,


Crista Tharp, CBSP is an award winning event planner, entrepreneur, author and speaker.  As the CEO of Blissfully Simple™ Events, Crista has worked in the event planning industry for more than 15 years and has authored 11 books, designed more than 1,000 events, and spoken at numerous conferences and workshops.  She is also the creator of the Blissfully Simple Wedding Planning Business System, a turn-key business system for those who want to be successful wedding planners.  Crista has been featured in the New York Times, Associated press, Fox 59 and hundreds of industry blogs and publications.  She does all this in addition to being blissfully married and mom to 10 children. Crista is considered an industry expert and is one of the Midwest’s highly sought after event planners.  Feel free to use this article, but you must post the bio above in its entirety.  

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