The 7 Deadly Sins Of Wedding Guests – Part One

Couples take note – You may want to post the link to today’s blog post on your Facebook page or wedding website because this isn’t going to be a proper Emily Post style etiquette lesson for your guests. This is a straight up “don’t be an idiot at our wedding” style article. And I know you know which one of your guests that I’m talking about.  You know – that one. Guest behavior has become such an issue at some weddings that I’m actually breaking this into 2 parts so I can explain the situation in more detail. And it’s not PG, so it may not be suitable for young ears. You’ve been warned!

So without further ado, here is part 1 of my 7 Deadly Sins Of Wedding Guests:

1.) You must RSVP – even if you’re not going!

I cannot even express how aggravating it is for a couple to add “call 50% of our entire guest list” to their to do list 3 weeks before their wedding. If you receive an invitation to a wedding, RSVP!! There’s nothing to it. Check yes or no, and maybe what you want for dinner, put it back in the envelope (which is already stamped), and put it in the mail. Simple. So, so simple. All it requires is a pen and a brief trip outside to your mailbox. You can do it.

Please keep your commitment to the couple. If you RSVP for 2, please show up with 2, not 1, not 3, but 2. Only 2. Something you may not know is that most caterers require a head count 14 days before an event and the couple is charged based on this number, even if you don’t show. A number of other vendors charge the same way. The bar services are charged this way as well. Sometimes even the venue will charge based on the head count. This means that if you and your plus one don’t show, the couples are out of pocket an average of about $200+ per person. I would suggest that if you decide to blow off your friend’s wedding to lie around the house in your underwear all day that you kindly drop a check in the mail to cover the cost of your absence, as a wedding gift to the couple.

If you receive a call from the couple asking you if you’re going to be coming to her wedding or not because they never got your RSVP, you should just take a moment and ponder on how rude you are. I’m telling you because they will be too kind to do so.

2.) Be honest about Food Allergies versus Food Preferences

Do not, let me repeat, do not tell the couple you have a food allergy if you are not truly allergic and have been diagnosed as so by a doctor. A food allergy is a very serious condition and requires extra effort on the part of the caterer and entire wedding staff.  In some cases, it costs more to work around this allergy. I have seen couples rework an entire menu based on a food allergy so as not to harm her guests, only to find out that it wasn’t truly an allergy after all.

A food allergy is quite different than a food preference. Be honest about which one you have – you know who you are! If you don’t like onions, then eat around them if they are served to you. If you feel that there may not be an appropriate meal that you would enjoy eating, then eat before you arrive. You’re an adult. Act like one.

3.) Open bar doesn’t mean drink until you pass out

This is your friend or family member’s wedding. Please behave yourself. This isn’t a drunken frat party or Friday night on 6th St. Need I remind you again? This is a wedding. It is a time for drinking reasonably. It is not a time to drink yourself stupid just because you can. A funny thing happens when you get wasted at a wedding. You tend to act like an ass! I know you think you’re really funny at the time. But you’re not.  You’re embarrassing yourself. But more importantly, you’re embarrassing the couple, because now they have to take the time away from their wedding to make apologies for your stupidity.  Shame on you.

Another unfortunate side effect of drinking excessively at a wedding, and just so happens to be true in real life as well, is that you make poor choices – like trying to kiss people you didn’t come with. Or taking your clothes off on the dance floor. Or having your daddy walk into the men’s bathroom only to find his sweet innocent daughter performing “acts of love” on one of the groomsmen. (And, yes, sadly we are basing this blog post on actual events. The names have been omitted to protect the not so innocent.) Don’t be that guy (or girl)!

4.) Control your kids!

This is a point of contention among many couples and their guests. If the invitation asks for no children, please respect the wishes of the couple and leave your kids at home with a sitter. And no, they’re not talking about everyone else’s kids. They’re talking about your kid too! I know, I know.  They could never be referring to your beautiful angel. Well they are. Leave your kid at home.

There are many reasons that a couple may not want kids at their wedding. I’ll give you some bullet points to illustrate:

•    It’s expensive to feed people at a wedding and most caterers charge for kids as well. They often discount a kid’s meal by half, but that still means that the couple could be paying $50 or more for a meal for your 3 year old that is only going to eat the dinner roll.

•    Adults drink at weddings. Shocking, I know. This means that once you’ve had a few, you are really in no position to be an appropriate guardian for your child. People are having such a good time, they often forget about the little ones. I once held a 1 year old baby for hours at a wedding that we planned because we couldn’t figure out who the parents were and the baby was crying nonstop. It was around 10pm before we became aware of who the parents were. They were having a great time drinking and dancing and left the baby to be passed around to whomever would take him. When we asked for a bottle for the baby, we were informed that they had forgotten the diaper bag at home. This was a 4:00pm wedding, so they had been there for 6 hours at this point (plus drive time) without food or milk for this baby! To this day I still think about the life that this poor baby must be living.

•    For some reason parents seem to think that a wedding is open play time for their kiddos. They let them run all over the place. They break things, clog toilets, scream during toasts, and the list goes on.  I was once at a wedding where the kids would not leave the dance floor during the daddy daughter dance and kept hitting balloons into the bride’s face while they danced. As we more sternly attempted to remove these children from the dance floor, the parents of the children just laughed. I was stunned. How inconsiderate of them to steal this beautiful moment from the bride and her father.

•    This is not an appropriate occasion for your kids to be acting like kids, so don’t put them through it. It will only aggravate you both. If your kiddo can’t sit still and quietly through a long church service, this should be a good indication to you that they will not be able to make it through a wedding ceremony, dinner, and the night’s events.

•    Your kids may actually be great kids but there are other guests whose kids are maniacs. If the couple lets you bring your kids, they have to let the maniacs attend as well. It may not be about you. I know this seems crazy but this is the case more times than not. The couple usually feels terrible about this but they can’t see any way out of letting cousin Ruth bring her uncontrollable 6 year old twins that peed on the dance floor at the last wedding, so they simply ask everyone to leave the kiddos at home.

There are a lot of couples that love having all of the kids at their wedding. Sometimes the little ones account for a large number of the guests. Some couples welcome this and even put out crayons, coloring books, snacks, play areas, and more just for these little hands. In this case, bring the whole herd. But please remember that you are at the most important event of this couple’s life.

I have seen guests with children all come together and hire a sitter service to attend the wedding as well, so that there were extra hands on board for helping out with little ones during important moments. This is a great idea and really helps everyone enjoy the day.

Have you been guilty of committing one of these sins? Or do you have your own horror story of one that happened to you? Tell us about it.

Stay tuned for the 7 Deadly Sins of Wedding Guests Part 2………….

Cheryl Bailey Yellow Umbrella EventsCheryl Bailey
Owner, Yellow Umbrella Events
Austin’s Wedding Planner