Wedding season is officially here, and let’s just be real — whether you’re a highly-sought-after guest or a bride, the excitement that comes with having a summer full of weddings to attend and plan comes with a decent amount of frustration. Usually, wedding guests have a ton of gripes about footing the bill to attend all of their besties’ big days (those hotel rooms and semi-formal dresses add up), but there are actually a ton of annoying things guests do at weddings that can drive the hosts straight mad.
Of course, we’re 100% sure you’d never do any of these annoying things, but there are people out there who make this already stressful and high-stakes day even harder for the bridal party, the event planners, and yes, even the wedding photographer. Say it ain’t so.
HelloGiggles spoke with one event planner from a luxury New York City-based wedding venue and a couple of former brides on the condition of anonymity (since it’s never polite to talk smack about your guests) about some of the things their friends and family members did on their wedding day that made them want to call the whole thing off. Some of them are so simple, they might even surprise you.
Our wedding planner friend, who works at a venue that hosts both the ceremony and party in the same place, tells HG:
With that sound advice in mind, here are a few other things that you just shouldn’t do when attending a wedding.
1Be late…OR early.
This should go without saying, but weddings are planned down to the very last minute. So don’t be late! But also, don’t be too early, either, especially if it’s at a place like the aforementioned venue where everything goes down in the same place. Staff won’t know what to do with you if you arrive 45 minutes early and are getting in the way of the flower deliveries, and walking in mid-vows is just plain rude.
2Don’t lose your invite.
One former bride tells HG that on her wedding morning, long lost friends and family were blowing up her phone asking about times, directions, and even just sending their best of luck.
Don’t do that — your friends are probably nervous enough as it is and are getting hair done, being ushered to and from photo locations, and being a big ball of nerves. There’s a reason wedding invitations come with all those little cards and info packets about party buses to and from the dinner. Use them. Or call another friend who might be able to help you find your way to the church from the turnpike. The bride and groom have enough to worry about.
3Seriously, don’t wear white.
We sort of can’t believe people still insist on doing this, yet multiple brides reported to HG that guests — including family — insisted on wearing a white dress to their wedding like it was NBD. Sure, it’s an old-fashioned tradition that some couples are ignoring these days, but if you know the bride is wearing a white gown, just pick a different color. Really. There are so many good options out there.
4A “plus one” does not mean bring the whole crew.
Your invitation will specify if you’re cleared to bring a date or not, and you should really not question it. A lot of weddings are planned based on the amount of guests a couple can actually afford to wine and dine, which means everything from the amount of chairs in the party hall to how many bottles of champagne the caterer has chilled behind the bar are accounted for.
Even if it’s not a sit-down meal complete with name cards, do not assume you can bring anyone who wasn’t specifically invited to the wedding with you. If that means your new S.O. of six months was left off your cousin’s invite list, so be it. Asking to bring more people can get especially awkward for couples working with smaller budgets, or if they just really wanted you at the party.
Our NYC wedding planner friend tells HG that some guests think they own the place when they walk in, and it sets a bad tone for the whole party. Being rude to the staff is just, well, rude, and if you’re trying to get into the church, dining area, or a particular space of the venue before they’re ready for you, you might be messing with the photos.
She says, “When you arrive at a wedding location, please don’t accost the staff and ask them where the dining is taking place, where you’re seated, and if you can put your handbag, camera, or shawl at your seat. Your shawl will ruin the photographer’s ability to take a flawless ‘room shot.'” Who knew, right?
6Save the musical chairs for another time.
It’s true that a party is only as good as who you hang out with, but don’t throw a fit or make a scene about changing tables if they’re already assigned. You don’t know what other well-planned seating arrangement you might be meddling with.
Our wedding planner friend adds, “Why does it matter where you’re seated? You can’t do anything about it and if you’re asking me…you’re probably that guest the couple struggled with seating the most. You’re the ‘Aunt Edna’ they warned me about.”
Dinner isn’t that long, and if you’re not placed where you secretly wanted to be, it might be fun to meet someone new. It’s definitely not worth the domino effect of family dysfunction when you end up putting the bride’s mother and the ex-husband she doesn’t speak to next to each other for a five-course meal, you know?
7The reception hall is not a diner.
Most weddings have a set menu that the couple and the caterers have worked hard on perfecting. And maybe you even got to choose chicken or fish on the invite! That being said, our trusty wedding planner recommends leaving your food preferences at the door when you show up to the reception.
“Please keep your dietary restrictions that are not health-based at home that day,” she tells HG. If you’re actually allergic to shellfish or dairy, obviously the venue and your hosts want to take care of you. But if you just don’t “like” arugula and would rather some romaine in your salad, you’re out of luck. Bring some snacks in your bag or plan to hit the drive-thru afterwards if the buffet really looks that bad to you.
Really, the most important thing to remember when you’re going to a wedding is that the day is about the couple getting married. So try to go with the flow, make their lives as stress-free as possible, or send your regrets and a gift instead.