Top Ten Things Not to do at a Wedding

Since June is wedding month, I can’t let it pass without making some comments on what we should all avoid if we are in a wedding, invited to a wedding or are getting married. I hope you enjoy it.

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Top Ten Things Not to do at a Wedding (no matter who you are)

10 If you are a wedding guest, do not be tempted to pick up and shake a few of the wedding presents to see if there are sets of china or appliances inside. If you do, at best those observing you will know you bought a cheap gift or none at all. At worst, you will be asked to step away from the gifts by a large man with the word SECURITY above his left pocket. He also happens to be the brother of one of the celebrants, and you are now busted since he assumes you are looking to pick out one to go.

9 If you are a parent of the celebrants, do not tell anyone how you feel about one not being good enough for your child. If you do, at best you will be confiding with someone who knows the other and has not met yours and can’t wait to report your indiscretion. At worst, you might be told to mind your own business and quite possibly followed by a knuckle sandwich (hold the mayo).

8 If you are a second in a wedding, do not think your job is to complain about every detail of the process and how much the whole thing cost you in air travel and clothes. If you do, at best people will assume the only reason you are in the wedding party is because you are family. (Weather you are or not) At worst, you will add a degree of declassee to the event and will not be forgotten when it comes time to remember the most idiotic attendees.

7 If you are the best person, do not think your toast needs to have several cringe moments including a detail description of the past fiancées. If you do, at best the wedding guests will think your humor is a little bizarre. At worst, it will be assumed you are drunk and out of control that should prompt an intervention placing you in the back of the Quiet Acres van on your way to rehab.

6 If you are the person of honor, do not think your toast has to include rapid hand fanning and a bunch of tears. If you do, at best the room will pray you faint quickly. At worst, you started without a tissue, and now the streaked mascara and runny nose have cleared out the tables within a ten-foot radius.

5 If you are officiating the wedding ceremony, do not think you can rely on the notes when it comes time to say the names of the celebrants. If you do, at best you will stumble on the names as you have lost your place in the written word and demonstrate how shallow you are. At worst, you will be using last week’s notes and continue to call the celebrants by names that you have an indication are not correct but hope were close to the real thing (hint they’re not)

4 If you are the caterer of a wedding, do not think you can cut corners the day of the event to increase the bottom line. If you do, at best you will be able to substitute for the few things you are short. At worst, you will have the luck to cater the wedding of a family of lawyers and will be fighting the lawsuit of breach of contract for the next ten years wishing all the time you had settled out of court.

3 If you are a musician at a wedding, do not think your usual twenty-minute set break each hour will be tolerated by the marriage guests. If you do, at best you will have several of them with you requesting songs no matter where you go. At worst, as the evening gets older, you will believe your life is in danger once the music stops. You will be reminded of a pack of wolves surrounding and closing in on the camper as the fire dies. You keep playing.

2 If you are the venue manager of a wedding, do not think there will be no problem asking everyone to leave at the appointed hour. If you do, at best your encounter with overserved wedding guests will be loud and unpleasant. At worst, you will be barricaded in your office praying the SWAT team arrives before the angry mob does what was subtly suggested when someone yelled “let’s string ’em up.”

1 If you are a server at a wedding, do not think you will get rich on the tips. If you do, at best you will realize that people attending a free event think everything’s free. At worst, the tips you counted on receiving you already spent and you will now need to work another job to offset the lost revenue. (Of course you could turn into a pickpocket. Naw that’s not right.)


  1. This list could be infinite. 🙂 If you’re a guest at the wedding, don’t make your introduction to the bride’s parents be a loud declaration that you’ll beat up the groom.

    1. LOL. I always wonder why people want to beat up the groom but it seems all too frequent.

      1. No idea. I’d think alcohol is typically involved.

  2. It seems maybe you’ve been to a lot of weddings, John. 😀
    Fortunately I avoided most of them. But there was the pink lace dress and dyed to match shoes, that cost me two months pay (from the low paying job back then), that was not at all re-usable, and the pinching shoes not wearable… It was a lovely reminder of the “happy” couple’s one year miserable marriage.
    Have a marvelous Monday. Hugs. 🙂

    1. Call it the pink badge of courage.

      1. LOL. Good idea. Given how it turned out, that motto should have been sewn to the bride and bridesmaids gowns. 😉

      2. Along with a pink henna tattoo. 😀

  3. Nothing for the bride and groom John? Or, will that be a separate list (perhaps two).

    1. Celebrants is the word given the fact that all marriages are no longer in the historical formats.

      1. Ah. I did notice how you worked your way around current issues pretty nicely.

      2. Thank you. I always hear from a number of folks if I’m not inclusive or make these list too stereotypical. Stereotypes are humorous but usually have a down side when someone gets their feeling hurt. Thanks for the comment Dan.

  4. The New York Times had an article recently about how invited guests can’t always afford to attend weddings because they’re too far away and/or the bridge & groom’s expectations about gifts, etc., are rather high. Again, you’ve given me 10 reasons to be glad my husband and I went for the minimalist package: Clerk of the Court officiating and one witness for the wedding, and a camping trip for the honeymoon. 🙂

    1. Thank you for the re-blog. We did the same. Justice of the peace and honey moon at Lake Tahoe (where the justice of the peace was located)

  5. Reblogged this on 1WriteWay and commented:
    Go to weddings much, Dear Reader? Well, tis the season and as those invitations start pouring in, consider these 10 warning tips from John Howell.

  6. For some reason, I can picture you doing #10, John. 🙂 Great list!

    1. I actually witnessed this one. Wasn’t me. 🙂 (honest)

  7. John, this is a great list (and from my experience, oh-so-true!!). Sadly, some people just don’t know how to behave — let’s hope they stop by here and learn!!

    1. Think about how much fun it is to watch others make fools of themselves. 😀

  8. Ha ha, John! I love it! This one was great, especially #1 about the servers. I’ve never honestly even thought about tipping a server at a wedding. Maybe I will next time 😉

    1. Not sure it is required but certainly at a cash bar.

  9. I like how you covered everyone involved with a wedding, but what about the bride and groom? I see someone else asked as well. They’re untouchable, right? 😀 😀 😀

    1. No they are the celebrants. Today’s marriages don’t always have the historical characters.

  10. Great stuff. One thing with song requests is you have the bride and groom requesting one style of music and their parents requesting another. Who do you listen to? It’s the bride and groom’s special day but the parents are paying for the band. Not a good position to be in, lol.

    1. Get a good DJ who can mix it up.

      1. DJ? Wash your mouth out. I was with the band, lol.

  11. This list could go into a bride magazine. So true…all of it. Enjoyed this list, John.

    1. I’m glad. Need to think of next week.

      1. How about what not to do when stuck in a small town visiting family. 😉 😉

      2. Hummm. let me think

  12. When you are a guest, don’t assume you were on the initial guest list.

  13. PS: … off topic …. I close is Bill to you? Stay dry.

    1. Landing to the East of us so we will be on the backside. Only two inches of rain and winds to 45MPH. Not bad.

      1. Good to know … thanks.

  14. Great list, John. I love it. Always important to take care at a wedding, in whatever role you are attending.

    1. So true. We have all seen the results of careless wedding protocol by attendees.

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