17 Things Wedding Guests Do That Secretly Annoy Couples

Avoid #2 at all costs.
Wedding guest taking photo of couple during ceremony
Hinterhaus Productions/Getty Images
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Entertainment & Celebrity Editor
  • Sarah is the Entertainment & Celebrity Editor for The Knot, with special focuses on pop culture and celebrity wedding news.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Sarah was a contributing writer for Bravo at NBC Universal.
  • Sarah has a degree in journalism and resides in New York City.
Updated Oct 14, 2022

From the moment you receive a save-the-date in your mailbox, your mind probably starts turning. Once you commit to attending someone's wedding, there are quite a few things on your to-do list. Not only will you need to coordinate travel plans, you'll also have to find a great outfit and shop for a present to give the to-be-weds. And while you might get swept up in the excitement of preparing for the big day, there are some etiquette rules to keep in mind. After all, the last thing you want is to be considered a bad wedding guest. But… how do you be a "good" wedding guest? We've got you covered. To help you understand the worst wedding guest faux pas, we asked real couples who follow us on social media to share things guests do that secretly annoy them—that way, you can avoid doing the same at all the weddings on your calendar. Read up on their responses below to be the ultimate wedding guest. (You're welcome!)

Send RSVPs Late

The most common wedding guest faux pas reported in our DMs were all related to RSVPs and invitations—and, more specifically, punctuality. It's crucial for couples to have an estimate of how many guests will attend their wedding day, as this number directly impacts the final cost and their venue setup. That's why it's *really* important to get your RSVP in on time, regardless of whether or not you can attend. Every invitation will be accompanied by an RSVP date, so do your absolute best to get your response sent by then. Your promptness will be much appreciated.

Ask for a Plus-One

Similarly, couples don't love when guests request a plus-one after receiving invites. As a general rule of thumb, you've been given a plus-on if your invitation says your name "and guest." If your invite doesn't have this language, it's likely not personal. The couple may be keeping their nuptials intimate, or they might be adhering to a strict budget. Either way, it's best to not badger them for the OK to bring a friend. (Worried about going alone? Don't sweat it—we have a helpful guide on how to attend a wedding solo…and have a great time doing it.)

RSVP "Yes," then don't attend.

Here's the deal: Things come up in life, and while you may have planned to attend someone's wedding, unforeseen circumstances may impact your ability to show up. But if you do have a change of plans, you should always alert the hosts as soon as possible. Not showing up after you RSVP'd "yes" will cost the couple a lot of money, so this is one top wedding guest faux pas to steer clear of.

Forgo a gift.

Although traditional wedding etiquette indicates that buying a gift isn't mandatory, it is highly encouraged. Whether you're celebrating a close family member or friends of friends, they've invited you to share their big day with them—and that's a huge honor. We always recommend giving them a gift within your budget. (Pro tip: There's no such thing as the "right" amount of money to spend on a wedding gift, but we give some pointers here.) To find a great gift in your price range, we recommend shopping the couple's registry for ideas.

Gift Off-Registry

And speaking of registries, one thing couples really don't like is when guests purchase gifts that aren't included on their wish list. If a couple has taken the time to curate a registry, they've likely filled it with appliances and experiences they need and want. That's why it's great wedding guest etiquette to use their list first, before shopping off-registry. The last thing you want to do is buy them another set of serving platters that won't fit in their already-full kitchen cabinets, right?

Bring children to a no-kids wedding.

The subject of children at weddings can often be a tricky one. Regardless of your take on the matter, it's not appropriate to bring kids to a wedding when the couple has requested otherwise. A number of factors could have gone into their decision: the venue might not be child-friendly, they might not have extra room in their budget, or they may simply prefer their big day to be an adults-only evening. No matter the reason, it's important to abide by their request.

Arrive late.

As a wedding guest, it's crucial to be prompt when the day arrives. After all, it can be upsetting for couples to see guests strolling into the ceremony twenty minutes after it began. (Not only is it distracting, it can come off as rude too.) Do your due diligence ahead of time by mapping out how long it'll take to get to the venue and planning your travel logistics accordingly.

Ask questions that are answered on the wedding website.

If you've been invited to a wedding, the couple is undoubtedly excited to celebrate their milestone with you—but that doesn't mean they want to receive countless text messages and calls from guests with the same questions (Read: If you're curious to know which hotels are nearby or what time the ceremony begins, you probably aren't the only one.) This, of course, signifies the importance of checking a couple's wedding website. They've probably used it to answer common FAQs, so always look there first before reaching out directly. They'll be grateful you did.

Forget to silence phones during the ceremony.

Nothing kills the vibe of a wedding quite like the ding of a text message or a phone call in the middle of the ceremony. Even if the couple hasn't specified if they're requesting an unplugged ceremony, this rule still applies: Always silence your phone before the event. (You never want to be that wedding guest.)

Get in the photographer's way during key moments.

Similarly, the last thing a couple wants is to see a guest's cell phone blocking their photographer's shot. While it's certainly encouraged to snap pictures and videos if the couple allows, do your very best to stay out of their pro's way—it's their job to capture great photos, and they'll need space to do their best work, obstruction-free.

Say, "Well at my wedding…"

Perhaps one of the most annoying wedding guest faux pas is giving unsolicited wedding advice. Put yourself in the couple's shoes: Did you enjoy receiving such comments when you were planning your big day? Unless you're specifically asked a wedding planning question, it's best to avoid this at all costs.

Drink too much at the reception.

What's something bad wedding guests do, you may ask? We've got the answer: Get too drunk at the reception. Weddings are all about having a good time, and you should enjoy yourself—but be cautious to not overdo it at the bar. Getting too inebriated is disrespectful to the couple, their vendors, and fellow guests, so just don't go there.

Be rude to vendors.

It goes without saying that, as a guest, you should always be kind on someone's wedding day—especially to vendors. Remember that they've been hired to help your friend's big day go off without a hitch, so be respectful to everyone you interact with.

Take decor.

Some couples invite guests to take home centerpieces or other decorative accents at the end of the night. That said, you should never take decor without being explicitly told you can. The couple may have intentions to repurpose it later, or it could be a rental that they'll have to replace for their vendor. As pretty as the centerpieces may be, leave them alone unless they tell you it's okay to take some stems home for yourself.

Wear white without being asked.

It's the golden rule of weddings: Don't wear white unless you're told. While some couples may specifically ask their guests to wear this color, it's best to steer clear unless you're absolutely certain it's okay. The last thing you want to do is upstage the bride (or the couple) by donning the same hue.

Ignore the dress code.

In the same vein, guests are always encouraged to follow the intended dress code. You can usually find the preferred attire on the couple's invitation or their wedding website, so look there first before getting an outfit. (If you aren't sure what the wording means, use our helpful wedding dress code cheat sheet.) Couples typically set their dress code based on their venue and the overall vibe of their big day, so it would be inappropriate to forgo their recommendation.

Wait until the last minute to share dietary restrictions.

Food plays a big role in weddings. In addition to a seated dinner, it's common for couples to also provide guests with hors d'oeuvres and desserts—so if you have an important dietary restriction, don't wait until the last minute to inform them. Reach out after you RSVP to share any details they may need to know so they can coordinate with their catering staff as soon as possible.

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