Don’t Be That Guy: How to Avoid Being a Bad Wedding Guest

In honor of many weddings taking place this weekend, we thought we’d bring this post from last year back to the surface. Enjoy!

Welcome our newest guest blogger, Chelsy! Today, she’s talking to all the wedding guests out there about how not to be “that guy”. Enjoy!

As a wedding guest your primary job is to show up to the wedding and have a good time. Guests are there to witness the union made by people they care about, dance, drink, socialize, and be merry. Brides and grooms spend a lot of time and money making sure their ceremony and reception go smoothly for their guests. They want their loved ones to be fed, let loose, and be a part of the biggest day of their lives. It’s one of the only times in a couple’s life that everyone they love will be in the same room and it’s important that everything goes smoothly and everyone is happy. Unfortunately some wedding guests can be a pain; some realize it and some don’t. There are just some rules that guests should follow in order to avoid being “that guy” at a wedding.


Complaining about a wedding is definitely not appreciated. If the location is too far from you, on an inconvenient day or time, or someone is attending that you don’t get along with, don’t go. As a guest you have the option to attend or not, but you shouldn’t complain about the wedding being inconvenient for you. If you don’t like the music, they didn’t offer a gluten-free option, or the alcohol isn’t free, you still don’t have the right to complain. You are a guest of the bride and groom and they can’t work around every guest and their preferences. If you are unhappy about something at the wedding, you have the right to leave. You do not have the right to complain about it.

Things to do: Keep your complaints to yourself. Remove yourself if the injustice is too much and confront the bride and groom about it at a later time if you need to. Don’t confront your issue at the wedding.

Plus-One Rules

There are a few rules to invitations and plus-ones that many wedding guests never realize until they have planned a wedding themselves and understand the confusing process of inviting guests. Generally, your invitation should tell you explicitly who is invited. It might say your name, you and your significant other’s name, your name “and guest,” your name “and family,” etc. Always be sure to only bring the guests specified on your invitation. This is important for a head count for meals and seating especially. Weddings are all about numbers and specifically the guest count that affects nearly every aspect of planning. Be sure to RSVP, not bring extra guests, and not to bring a guest that you haven’t approved. If your significant other can’t join, it’s usually not appreciated to just bring someone else along; especially if the bride and groom don’t know them or you haven’t asked them permission.

Things to do: If you RSVP for you and your family, but unexpectedly only one of you are able to attend, tell the wedding party. That way, a seat and a meal aren’t wasted.

It’s Not About You

It’s important to remember that, as a guest, the wedding you are attending is not about you. It’s about the bride and groom. If you remember this rule, it will be pretty easy not to be a bad wedding guest. This day is about the couple. Weddings are usually quite the production and involve a lot of planning. If something doesn’t go your way, that’s to be expected. It’s incredibly difficult to make everyone happy. The best advice to remember is that any issues you have probably aren’t meant to be malicious. Remember to keep the attention on the couple, don’t wear white, don’t make a scene, and remember that the couple invited you to be a part of their big day. It’s pretty special for them to invite you and for you to be there for them.

Things to do: If you are giving a toast, it’s great to talk about how the couple has impacted your life. But remember to focus on the two of them. Make it special, remind them of how they first met, or discuss how dates used to happen versus how their first date happened. Make it unique and speak from the heart.  

Be Courteous

Chances are, as a guest, there will be people at the wedding that you don’t know. You might not know the bride’s family, the groom’s college friends, or any extended relatives. It’s important to be polite to everyone you meet, stay away from offensive discussion topics, and remember that everyone in the room was invited by the bride and groom. Be on your best behavior, dress appropriately, watch your language, don’t monopolized the couple’s time, say “thank you,” and enjoy yourself. During the ceremony try to keep your cameras put away and let the photographer do the work. Be in the moment, understand that this day can be stressful for the couple, and be on time.

Things to do: The best thing you can do for the bride and groom is to have fun! They put a lot of work into hoping you have a good time on their big day, so smile and enjoy the festivities.

Take Care of Yourself

The list of tasks before, during, and after a wedding is daunting. The couple, the wedding party, and both families are all involved in completing all of these tasks. It can be stressful for everyone involved, so be sure not to add to the stress and be responsible for yourself. This means figuring out your own transportation, lodging, and budget for attending. If you have questions, look at their invitation, wedding website, or ask the couple (or the person designated for answering questions) how to proceed. If you bring your children, watch them. Don’t expect any other parent or family member to do so. Make sure you aren’t drinking too much, remove yourself if you are upset, and generally try not to make a scene.

Things to do: Bring a coloring book or toy for your kiddo in case they start to get bored. Weddings can be dull for children, so make sure they have something to do in case their attention span wears thin.

Weddings are a great time to celebrate, socialize with new people or people you don’t see often, and have fun. In the chaos of the wedding day, be sure to remember these tips in order to make life easier for you as well as the bride and groom. As a guest, remember how much work was put into the event you’re attending, how important you are to the couple, and to be courteous. So have some champagne, dance to YMCA, and try not to eat too much cake.

                – Chelsy

Author bio: Chelsy is a writer from Montana who is now living in Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her journalism degree from the University of Montana in 2012. Chelsy enjoys traveling with her husband, David, drinking white wine, and throwing a Frisbee for her dog.  You can follow her on Twitter!

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Happy Planning!

– The Gala Pal Team





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