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Image / Editorial

14 things you should never do at a wedding


by Grace McGettigan
25th Feb 2020

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) Andie MacDowell and Hugh Grant

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Have you got a wedding to attend this year? It’s time to brush up on wedding guest etiquette


Did you know over 20,000 couples get married in Ireland every year? This makes for a hell of a lot of guests, which in turn can lead to slip-ups in wedding etiquette.

While brides and grooms fuss over the finer details of flowers and seating plans, the least we can do is behave ourselves on their big day. See below for 14 things you should never do at a wedding.

1. Share photos of the bride on social media before the groom has seen her. If you absolutely have to take pictures, don’t post them online until after the ceremony. The bride hasn’t hidden her dress for six months for you to spoil the big reveal.

2. Arrive at the venue with or after the bride. Talk about ruining her grand entrance. Always get to the venue at least 10 minutes before the ceremony is due to start to avoid awkward run-ins with the bride in the carpark.

3. Spend the ceremony on your phone. When the couple looks back on the DVD of their day, the last thing they’ll want to see is you scrolling through Facebook during the readings.

4. Block the professional photographer’s shot so you can get a picture on your iPhone. As if your photos would turn out so much nicer… Besides, your phone will only distract the couple and their eyes will end up looking in different directions.

5. Ask the photographer to take shots of you and your friends. Believe it or not, that’s not what they were hired for.

6. Put your face against the bride’s dress when giving her a hug. Getting foundation and fake-tan stains on the bride’s shoulder straps is a sure-fire way to ruin her day. If it does happen, apologise profusely and offer to split the dry-cleaning bill. Top tip: stick to air hugs and kisses.

7. Let your kids run wild. This wedding isn’t a playground. Bring little activities to keep them quiet, particularly during the speeches. Colouring books and puzzle pages are particularly useful. If your toddler can’t stay still, organise a babysitter.

8. Bring your kids if they haven’t specifically been invited. Many couples want their weddings to be child-free zones, so rocking up with Betty Junior unannounced is not okay. If their names aren’t on the invite, hire a sitter.

9. Go near the bride with red wine. Nothing will ruin her day quicker than a red wine stain on her gown. Refer to point six for advice.

10. Have a chat with your table during the speeches. They might be going on a little too long and you probably don’t care what the groom’s uncle has to say – but keep schtum. You’re there to celebrate the couple’s relationship; you can have your chat later.

11. Go for a wander during the speeches. The groomsmen are nervous enough about public speaking without seeing their audience walking out. Your trip to the bar or bathroom can wait until after; if not, tough.

12. Bring up the bride or groom’s ex-partner. It doesn’t matter if you wish they’d worked out or if you think they’ve made the wrong decision. Bringing up the ex is beyond inappropriate.

13. Complain (about anything), especially to the bridal party. The wedding was probably very expensive and to moan about the food, the setting or the music is downright distasteful. If you’re not impressed, suck it up and keep it to yourself (at least until you get home).

14. Wear white. Ah, that old nugget. Unfortunately, it still needs to be said. Be wary of pale pinks, yellows and blues that may appear white in photographs. The drama isn’t worth it.

Photo: Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)


Read more: Morning of the wedding: nine dos and don’ts

Read more: Organising a hen party? The 18 essential dos & don’ts for bridesmaids

Read more: Bridesmaid 101: Seven alternative activity ideas for the hen party

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