How To Be A Guest - The 10 Wedding Commandments

Attending a wedding as a guest must be glorious - I wouldn’t know. However, there are some things I see time and time again which do not go well. Here are my top ten wedding commandments for attending a wedding as a guest.

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The First Commandment - Don’t Talk About Poor Weather.

First and foremost, if the weather is sub optimal, you can rest assured that the bride and groom know about it. I can’t count the number of times I have overheard someone say to the bride “shame about the weather really, last weekend was lovely”. When I hear this I always wonder why the perpetrator was even invited which, funnily enough, is also what the bride and groom are thinking.

The Second Commandment - Only Positive Comments About The Dress.

In a similar vein to the last paragraph, it blows my mind when guests point out the stain or rip in a brides dress. Once again, I guarantee she already knows and was really hoping you wouldn’t notice. If you point it out you better be about to get on your hands and knees to clean it off or sew it back up. A bride who is having the best day of her life won’t mind if someone spilled a tiny bit of wine on her. However, she will mind if everyone points at it.

Don’t get too drunk too early. But if you want to long-arm your drink at the end of the speech I will definitely photograph it.

Don’t get too drunk too early. But if you want to long-arm your drink at the end of the speech I will definitely photograph it.

The Third Commandment - Don’t Get Too Drunk Too Early.

This may seem like a simple one for most people but for goodness sake, don’t get too drunk before at least 10pm. It is not particularly often that you start drinking at midday so it can be an easy mistake to make. However, that one guest who is way too drunk, especially early on, is a nightmare for everyone, won’t be able to appreciate the day and will inevitably have to be taken care of.

The Fourth Commandment - Don’t Be Glued To A Screen.

This one is rarer but it is not a good look. Guests that are glued to their phones give off the essence that they have better things to do and better people to talk to. You may not know many people there and maybe you are even a tiny bit bored but when you are sat at a table with a bunch of other people, it can come across rude if you ignore them in favour of keeping up to speed with your all important whatsapp group.

The Fifth Commandment - Check Before Taking Your Own Shots.

So, so heartbreakingly often, I loose the chance to get an amazing shot because someone thought they would get their own and stick their phone in the way. I know it can feel like you are obliged to take photographs but what are you going to do with them? Are you going to print it out and frame it and give it to the couple? Probably not. I recently shot a wedding where the bride walked out in her dress for the first time so that the bridesmaids could see. The picture I got shows three out of the four bridesmaids looking lovingly and tearfully at the bride. The fourth bridesmaid has her arm stuck out out to get a photograph, her face twisted into a look of concentration as she tries to nail that shot for the gram. I know you want to get your own photos, but please be aware of the moments the photographer is trying to catch first (think walking down the aisle).

A rare example of appropriate heckling.

A rare example of appropriate heckling.

The Sixth Commandment - Know When To Heckle

The speeches can be the best part of a wedding. However, they can sometimes be the most stressful for those giving the speeches. Hecklers can be a gift but often they are a curse. If you absolutely must heckle, you better be sure it is either supportive or really funny. If you have had a fair few beverages, that thing you think is really funny, and are about to shout out over the brides father, is, almost definitely, not funny. Read the room, if no-one is heckling then probably best not to. If only a handful of overly drunk guests are cracking inappropriate jokes then again, probably best not to. Conversely though, if the groom/bride is tearing up and is finding it hard to continue their speech, definitely do cheer them on and give them some support!

The Seventh Commandment - Leave Petty Squabbles At Home

I understand that families are super complex and rarely perfect but when it comes to a wedding, you need to at least get along. You may not have talked to your significant other in 10 years but when your son/daughter is getting married, you need to be civil with them. This applies to all guests - the day is about the bride and groom. Every wedding is so full of happiness and joy that the slightest whiff of pettiness can be smelt by anyone a mile off so don’t go souring the day with your personal problems.

The Eighth Commandment - Talk To & Congratulate The Happy Couple

Why were you invited to the wedding? Because the happy couple wanted you to be a part of their special day. Don’t wait for them to come and find you, go and congratulate them, say what you have enjoyed, compliment the dress, just make sure they know you appreciate the invite!

If you don’t look like a wally on the dance floor, are you even doing it right?

If you don’t look like a wally on the dance floor, are you even doing it right?

The Ninth Commandment - Don’t Be Too Embarrassed to Dance

This can be observed at almost any wedding. While the punters on the dancefloor are having an amazing time, there are often a group of people sitting at the tables nearby. They aren’t talking to each other, they are just watching the people enjoying/making fools of themselves as the band do their thing. The most frustrating part about this is that I can often see these guests wish they were up there having a good time. Now if you are over the age of 60, you may be excused. But if your reason for not getting up in there is ‘na, I don’t dance’ then you need to realise that nobody up there can dance and not many of them think that they can, yet all of them are having a good time. If you are embarrassed, have a drink. If you are tired, have a coffee. You will have an infinitely better time if you get involved and you will be thankful you did.

The Tenth Commandment - Enjoy Yourself

You may think some of these things are beyond comprehension whereas you may find yourself guilty of others. Whatever you do, make sure you enjoy the day, the happy couple certainly want you to!

Actually you know what, that was a cheesy, copout for the final commandment. The real 10th commandment is NEVER WEAR A WHITE DRESS UNLESS YOU ARE THE BRIDE. COME ON, THIS IS SO OBVIOUS.

Sam BoxComment