From getting down on one knee on someone else’s big day, to guests rocking up in a big white dress, there are a host of faux pas to navigate in the world of weddings – whether you’re a happy couples, a guest, or mother-of-the-bride.
SoBristol Weddings has compiled a list of 21 of the worst wedding day etiquette blunders, spanning sartorial disasters, inappropriate hook ups, and social media gaffes, to help the big day go without a hitch.
From turning up in a big white dress or huge, head-turning hat, to indulging in some unscrupulous attention-seeking, it’s a given that the bride is centre of attention on her big day and woe betide anyone who tries to steal her glory.
Secluded beaches, candlelit restaurants and romantic walks are perfect proposal spots; your friend’s wedding is not. While you can be forgiven for getting swept up in the moment, getting down on one knee at someone else’s big day is a massive faux pas – and will not be appreciated by the bride and groom, despite their smiles through gritted teeth.
For many brides and grooms, there’s nothing more annoying than seeing a timeline of badly-shot snaps – featuring unflattering angles, the back of their heads and dubious late night dancing – revealed to the world on social media. If there’s an official hashtag go for it, but if in doubt, respect the couple’s privacy – and their chance to show-off about their own big day – and don’t hit share.
While it’s acceptable for the bride to be ever so slightly tardy, it’s certainly not okay for guests to be rocking up once the ceremony has started and can look plain rude.
The giggles might be uncontrollable, but laughing during the vows is a big no no and will most definitely result in disapproving looks from the congregation. That long silence, when it’s asked if anyone knows any reason the couple shouldn’t be married, shouldn’t be filled with comedy coughs either!
If you think it’s fine to bypass the ceremony and head straight to the drinks reception, think again. The couple has chosen you to share their special day with them and skipping the vows is disrespectful.
While the classic scene when Hugh Grant loses the rings in Four Weddings and a Funeral is hilarious on screen, in real life it would ever so slightly less amusing for the best man.
Sharing every aspect of your life on social media is common these days, but updating your status at the altar is taking things a step too far! Step away from your phone for the day and savour the moment, as you’ll hopefully only say ‘I do’ once.
Whether the dress code stipulates black tie, bright colours or even Star Wars costumes, get into the spirit of the day and join in the fun. Where there isn’t a dress code, use your common sense – head-to-toe sequins might be a bit much for a rustic do, while dresses that are too short and scruffy jeans are also sartorial crimes too.
It’s arguably the most expensive dress a girl is ever going to buy, so it’s natural the bride might be a bit precious about her gown on the day. Whatever you do, don’t tread on the train, keep those celebratory cigars at bay and steer well clear if you’re cradling a glass of red wine.
Give the wedding photographer the space they need to capture the day without ruining the shots with your statement fascinator, own camera flash or, worse still, arm waving around a camera phone.
Organising guest numbers and budgets is the stuff of wedding-planning nightmares, so whether you’re head over heels with a new partner or want to bring a bestie, always ask first.
The throwing of the bouquet is not the time to get your game face on. A bit of healthy competition might make for funny wedding shots, but taking it too seriously could end up with ripped dresses or even a trip to A&E.
Whether it was that extra glass of bubbly while you were getting ready, a little too much red with the wedding breakfast or several tequila slammers from the evening bar, overdoing the booze is often the root of many a faux pas.
After a couple of glasses of bubbly it can be tempting to make a play for one of the bridesmaids, the newly single father-of-the-groom or even a work colleague you’ve always had a crush on, but it’s unlikely to end well.
Confessing your undying love to one of the newlyweds is best kept to the plots of Hollywood films. If you’ve always held a candle for the bride or groom then by now, sadly, that ship has well and truly sailed.
You might have enjoyed the free bar a bit too much or just love dancing, but when the newlyweds head to the dance floor for their first embrace it’s your cue to watch longingly until they usher you to join them.
If the couple has chosen to have a child-free day, then honour their wishes and book a babysitter to look after your little ones. Whatever you do, don’t turn up with a toddler in tow and expect to be welcomed with open arms.
Many brides and grooms keep in touch with ex partners and while that maturity is commendable, inviting them to the big day is not. At the very best it might be a bit awkward and at worst could lead to jealous tension between the newlyweds. Avoid.
Family relationships can be tricky, but weddings are just not the place to air your dirty laundry. Bite your lip, take a deep breath and smile sweetly. There’s nothing worse than a big bust up on what’s supposed to be a day about love and unity.
While the traditional gift list has shifted in recent years, it’s polite, especially given the cost of hosting a wedding, to get the couple a gift – whether off their chosen list, vouchers for their honeymoon or cold hard cash, which is now quite commonplace.
By Anna McKittrick
Tuesday 19 January 2016
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