There’s so much to discuss after attending a wedding: the bride’s dress, how the groom looked at her during the couple’s first dance, the décor, the food, the cake, the entertainment, and all the special touches. But if, after the big day, you find yourself talking mostly about a particular guest, chances are it’s because he or she committed an awkward or embarrassing faux pas. And while most guests are well-intentioned, faux pas—even accidental ones stemming from being unaware of current etiquette and traditions—are shockingly common.
“For every wedding I do, there is at least one,” says NYC-based Lara Mahler, founder and chief planner of The Privilege is Mine, regarding guests who don’t follow etiquette. “I don’t think that guests are intentionally trying to make things difficult. I just think that sometimes guests may not know how much time, money, and coordination weddings actually take, and how many people are involved in making the wedding run smoothly. I think that if they knew, maybe they would be more mindful.”
Meet the Expert
- Lara Mahler, founder and chief planner of The Privilege is Mine, an NYC-based wedding planning collective.
- Gigi McDowell is the founder of Fêtefully, an on-demand virtual wedding planning platform.
Don’t want to become the wedding guest everyone is whispering about during or after the big day? These are the most common faux pas you’ll want to avoid.
When in doubt, know that it’s okay to ask the bride and groom questions ahead of their big day (but not on the day of the wedding, when they are busy and it’s too late to make any changes). For instance, if the invitation doesn’t specify if children are invited, feel free to get clarification on that when you receive the invitation, rather than making an assumption. That way, the couple has a chance to clarify their wishes and you don’t run the risk of making a wedding guest faux pas everyone will be talking about for years to come.