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What Should You Not Do At A Wedding Reception

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  • 07-11-2022
What Should You Not Do At A Wedding Reception

What should you not do at a wedding reception? This article looks at things guests should never do at a wedding and things not to do at your own wedding.

What Should You Not Do At A Wedding Reception?

Your best friend or family member is getting married. You've said you're going on your RSVP card and are ready to celebrate the big day. But before you start bragging about how much you're going to drink at the reception, there are a few etiquette rules for wedding guests to bear in mind.

Being the perfect guest doesn't happen by accident, and you definitely don't want to be the one who ruined the celebrations by getting too drunk and making an idiot out of yourself. Most of these rules may sound obvious, but you'd be surprised how etiquette can quickly disappear once you've had a couple of proseccos.

From arriving late to upstaging the bride and groom on their big day, there's plenty that unruly guests can do to ruin a perfectly planned wedding reception or ceremony.

Therefore, we've put together a definitive list of the faux pas that every wedding guest should do their best to avoid committing. 

Things Guests Should Never Do At A Wedding

For the most part, wedding guests know how to behave. They know the day is for the bride and groom, not an opportunity for them to show off their maverick, and potentially hazardous, dance moves. But with any other important celebration in people's lives, there's always that one person who takes things too far.

Here is our list of the most egregious mistakes wedding guests can possibly make. In order to be the perfect guest and ensure everyone has a beautiful day, you must avoid all the things you read in this list at all costs.

Ultimately, common sense should prevail on these occasions, but if you think you might be lacking in that department, this list can serve as a quick reminder of what not to do.

The bride and groom are the only people allowed in the limelight during a wedding - so don't even think about trying to upstage them. This is one of the most obvious and serious wedding guest mistakes you can make, but you'd be surprised how often it happens.

It's easy to get caught up in the magical atmosphere of a wedding, with love and smiles and warm sentiments being shared by so many people. But even if that puts you in the mood for popping the question, better to save it for a more appropriate time.

While the bride and groom are definitely centre stage on the big day, there are a select few who get to share it with them. So, if you're the best man, maid of honour or the bride's father, you need to be careful when you stand up to make your speech.

Obviously, the best thing to do is hold off on the drinks beforehand - the entire wedding reception will be listening to you, and you don't want to make a fool of yourself. Also, while you may think the bride has a good sense of humour, maybe don't go in too harshly on the embarrassing anecdotes.

While the more old-school traditions of weddings may be fading into memory, with couples increasingly taking a more modern approach to the big day, there are a few rules worth hanging on to.

One of these is that you, under no circumstances, wear white. If you feel like you'll need to argue your case once you arrive - "it's not white, it's ivory" - better to err on the side of caution and go with a different colour altogether.

On the day, the colour white belongs to the bride, so stay in your lane.

You can be late to every other appointment in your life if you want to, that's your business, but the wedding dates and times on your wedding invites are commandments set in stone.

All pre-wedding events must be completed on time, especially if you're sitting in the front row. Get to the wedding ceremony at least 20-30 minutes early. Waiting a little longer is far better than walking into the ceremony just before the bride.

Even worse, you might wander in during the exchanging of the wedding vows, which would be unforgivable.

Given the alcohol and the opportunity to show off on the dance floor, the urge to whip your tie off and starts dancing for everybody's families can be tempting.

But whatever you do, resist that urge. People don't want to see you falling over half-naked before the night's over.

Just as sensible as avoiding too many drinks before giving a speech is ensuring you're properly prepared for it. There's nothing worse than trying to improvise a wedding speech last minute. 

You'll have everyone's attention, so if you're umming and ahhing with dead silence in between, it's sure to be a disaster. Similarly, if you've not been asked to give a speech, then whatever you do, don't give one.

Trying to command the room when you're not at the head table is as embarrassing as it gets, so if the bride and groom haven't asked you to say anything, please remain seated.

Even if you're used to being the centre of attention, a wedding reception is neither the time nor the place.

Whether it's your radical interpretation of the dress code or your dance moves, keep it all toned down just for one day to let the bride celebrate her marriage. If you think the day should be all about you, then it's probably best you stay home.

After months, maybe even years, of wedding planning, the last thing anyone wants to hear is you complaining about any part of the reception.

Everything from the menu to the bar to the band's set list has been meticulously poured over, so to show up and start complaining about the canapes isn't on.

Relationships with friends and family members can sometimes be rough, especially when you're talking about in-laws, but getting drunk and gossiping isn't the way to go.

The day is supposed to be a celebration, not an opportunity to throw rumours around. And don't even think about writing anything untoward in the guest book. 

There's usually more than enough to drink at weddings, with plenty of free prosecco, wine and other aperitifs available for guests at cocktail hour.

So there's no reason to torment the busy bar staff demanding shots all night. After all, shots are usually one of the worst ideas you can have at a wedding reception, so best to leave them alone.

The bride and groom have spent a lot of time and money finding and hiring the perfect venue for their special day, so pay it the respect it deserves.

Make sure you pick up after yourself and try not to drop or smash anything on the floor. Manners cost nothing.

If it's a big no-no in the movie theatre, then there's no reason why you should be on your phone at any point during the wedding reception or, heaven forbid, during the ceremony. 

Naturally, emergencies are an exception, but if you're just keeping up to date with the accumulator you put on the football, you might as well leave. 

If your plus-one pulls out last minute, don't bother the bride and groom with it. They've got more important things on their minds than the empty chair on the seating chart or a missing name from the guest list.

After all, it just means more food and drink for the other guests.

You're at a wedding, regardless of what you think about them, so get over yourself, have some fun and make some new friends.

No one wants to hear your opinions and boring, half-baked philosophies about outdated traditions. Save it for your blog, not that anyone's reading it anyway. 

Or better yet, don't throw up at all. While there is plenty to drink at a wedding reception, it's not a competition. 

Take your time, know your limits, and everyone can go home happy.

This is a bit niche, but you'd be surprised that catastrophes like this do happen.

Naturally, the worst thing you can do when two people are declaring their eternal love for one another is to remind them of partners past, let alone bring them to the reception. 

Things Not to Do at Your Own Wedding

While we've pretty much covered everything you shouldn't do as a wedding guest, don't think the bride and groom are getting away with anything outrageous either. There's plenty of etiquette for the happy couple to remember as well. Here is our list of things you should avoid doing at your own wedding. 

Get plastered

Of course, you deserve to get a little tipsy after all that planning and stress, but try not to go overboard.

The biggest day of your life will fly by - trust us - and you'll want to give yourself the best chance of remembering it.

Toast with a few glasses of champagne, have a few Aperol Spritz and enjoy the evening. Remember, you're supposed to be drunk on love, not entire bottles of wine.

Things Not To Do At Your Own Wedding

Skip meals

While it's natural to be incredibly nervous on the morning of your wedding day, you're going to need something to keep you going.

After all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially when it's the biggest day of your life. While going to the toilet in a wedding dress or ball gown is tricky, that's what your bridesmaids are for, so don't be afraid to eat and drink whatever you like.

Host too much

With all your family and good friends gathered, you might feel a little guilty about not giving everyone enough of your time.

But it's your day. Everyone is there for you, not the other way around.

Nobody expects to have the bride and groom to themselves all evening anyway, so catch up with your wedding party, receive your wedding gifts, drink, eat and be merry.

things guests should never do at a wedding

Wear killer heels

Don't kill your feet with uncomfortable heels, regardless of how much you love them and how well they go with your dress.

You'll likely be on your feet for most of the day, especially for your first dance, so make sure you'll be able to walk by the end of it.

Lose your husband

It may sound like a strange one, but it does happen.

Once all the official bits are out of the way, and you've done the bouquet toss, keep a tight leash on your new husband.

You're supposed to celebrate the day together, so if you see his mates from the stag do eyeing him up to drag him away, make sure you send at least one person from your bridal party to retrieve him.

What Should You Not Do At A Wedding Reception?

Argue with a vendor in front of your guests

If something goes wrong with your wedding plans or the venue, it's always better to have a quiet discussion with your vendor or venue staff rather than a full-blown argument in the middle of your wedding reception.

This will only lead to more stress and worry. 

Complain about your in-laws

While it can be difficult to find the perfect partner that also comes with perfect in-laws, your wedding day is not the time to air your grievances.

Put whatever gripes you have on hold just for the big day - there'll be more than enough seats between you and them anyway. 

the perfect wedding reception

Spend time on your Phone

Unless you're a streamer online 24/7, none of your followers will miss you if you go a day without using your phone. All your friends and family have gathered to watch you marry the love of your life, so spend the day with them in celebration.

The professional photographer will ensure everything gets captured for posterity, and being in the moment on your big day is the greatest gift you can give yourself.

We hope this article helped you plan the perfect wedding reception. Are you planning a wedding in Suffolk or Essex? We offer a beautiful Tudor wedding venue located between Ipswich and Colchester.

Follow the link below to find out more about booking our wedding venue in Hadleigh, Essex.