Wedding Etiquette 101: The Guest Faux Pas You Don’t Want to Make

Wedding Etiquette 101: The Guest Faux Pas You Don’t Want to Make
Andreas Sjodin

Beyond all the guidelines about what you can and can’t wear to a wedding, there are so many other time-honored traditions and etiquette nuances that it can be easy to make a misstep without even knowing it!

Scroll down to read the most common faux pas and how to avoid them.

  • 1 of 14

    Faux Pas 1: Bringing a large gift to a wedding venue.

    PHOTO: Vanessa Traina

    It’s best to have your gift sent in advance to the couple’s home address, so they don’t have to deal with transporting big packages home from the venue.

  • 2 of 14

    Faux Pas 2: Taking pictures with a flash during the ceremony.


    A flash photo can be incredibly distracting to a couple trying to say their vows. There is a professional photographer there for a reason.

  • 3 of 14

    Faux Pas 3: Talking during the toasts.

    PHOTO: Lovelyish

    Even if you couldn’t care less about what the groom’s cousin has to say about their rowdy college days, it’s disrespectful to talk during toasts.

  • 4 of 14

    Faux Pas 4: Staying too late.

    PHOTO: Mario Testino

    Maybe you’re on a party train that just can’t stop. Maybe you’re also annoying the bride and groom by suggesting an after-hours party in their suite.

  • 5 of 14

    Faux Pas 5: Requesting to bring a guest.


    The bride and groom have to make decisions about how many people they can accommodate in terms of seating and budget. Don’t bother the couple with your request to bring your latest fling. You are a grown-up, and you can make friends at the event.

  • 6 of 14

    Faux Pas 6: Leaving before the cake is cut.

    PHOTO: Cherry Blossoms

    The cutting of the cake is a traditional sign that it’s acceptable for elderly guests to leave if they desire. If you are such a wet blanket that you need to leave with them, so be it, just wait for the cake to be cut first.

  • 7 of 14

    Faux Pas 7: Getting a gift not on the registry.

    PHOTO: Mario Testino

    This may be controversial, but even if you know the bride and groom well, we recommend sticking to the registry. If you’d like to get something personal, do it in addition to a registry item.

  • 8 of 14

    Faux Pas 8: Using your cell phone during the ceremony.

    PHOTO: Vogue

    You can survive the twenty minutes sans phone—we promise.

  • 9 of 14

    Faux Pas 9: Forgetting to RSVP.

    PHOTO: Grey Like Weddings

    Don’t throw a wrench in the planning by showing up as a surprise. Even if you’re the bride’s best friend and you’re obviously going, it’s courteous to send your RSVP card.

  • 10 of 14

    Faux Pas 10: Bringing children who weren’t mentioned on the invitation.


    Some weddings are all-adult affairs. Honor the couple’s wishes, and get a babysitter.

  • 11 of 14

    Faux Pas 11: Changing your seat at the reception.

    We’re sorry you’re not at the cool kids table, but this isn’t a high school cafeteria. Swapping people around creates unnecessary confusion.

  • 12 of 14

    Faux Pas 12: Taking table décor.

    PHOTO: Mario Testino

    Decorative candle votives or picture frames may seem up for grabs, but unless you are expressly given the go-ahead, the couple may be charged for missing items if the décor is rented. Not to mention you'll appear to be a cheap thief—not a good look.

  • 13 of 14

    Faux Pas 13: Uninvited toasts.

    PHOTO: Mario Testino

    You will be told if you are expected to give a toast. If not, zip it.

  • 14 of 14

    Faux Pas 14: Hitting the dance floor before the bride and the groom have their first dance.

    PHOTO: Vogue

    You may be a sensation on the dance floor, but please save it until after the couple has their turn.

    What's the worst wedding guest faux pas you've ever seen? Let us know in the comments below!

EXPLORE: How To, Wedding, Wedding, wedding etiquette, etiquette


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