Guest Behavior: What NOT to do

As a wedding photographer, I attend many weddings during the busy wedding season. The guest behavior that I witness often surprises me and sometimes shocks me. While one would think that people should have an idea of how to behave at weddings, it seems that many guests are unaware of proper wedding etiquette. There should be a certain level of decorum expected from guests, similar to an unwritten law. However, this is not always the case. Remember, guest behavior can impact the overall atmosphere and experience of the wedding for everyone involved.

Therefore, I have decided to document the “No Go’s” and share them with the world. Dear wedding guest, it is important that you read this article! Below are my top tips on how to behave as a guest at a wedding:

Don’t respond to the invitation

Guest behavior can greatly affect the success of a wedding, from responding to invitations to following appropriate etiquette. In addition to responding to invitations in a timely manner, guests should also be mindful of their behavior at the wedding. Drinking excessively, causing disruptions during the ceremony, or being disrespectful to the bridal couple can ruin the atmosphere and make the day less enjoyable for everyone. By showing respect and consideration for the couple’s wishes, guests can help make the wedding a memorable and joyful occasion. As a wedding photographer, I have seen firsthand the positive impact that considerate guest behavior can have on the overall atmosphere of the wedding.

Drink way too much

Guests attending a wedding should be mindful of their behavior, as it can impact the couple’s special day. Drinking responsibly is one aspect of appropriate behavior. Guests should know their limits and pace themselves to avoid overindulging in alcohol. To reduce the risk of overconsumption, they should drink plenty of water and eat food. Additionally, guests should be aware of others who may be drinking excessively and intervene if necessary. It is important to respect the couple’s wishes and ensure that everyone behaves appropriately. While guests may enjoy a drink or two, getting drunk can lead to embarrassing or inappropriate behavior. The purpose of attending a wedding is to celebrate the couple, not to party. By behaving responsibly and respectfully, guests can help ensure the day’s success and fond memories for years to come.

Take uninvited companions with you

It’s possible that the new girlfriend or partner who was not mentioned in the invitation (because they didn’t exist yet) would like to be taken to the wedding. It’s not a problem, as long as you discuss it with the bride and groom in advance. As mentioned above, there is a reason why the number of guests is queried. The bridal couple and you also want to make sure that the companion also gets a seat and food. Therefore: Please announce changes to the +1 as early as possible.

Wear jeans and flip flops

I asked myself at a wedding, “How did they come up with this idea?” when I saw a wedding guest wearing jeans and flip-flops. While it may be true that some couples prefer a more casual dress code, I believe that a wedding is still a special occasion where guests should dress more formally. In my opinion, jeans and flip-flops are not appropriate attire for a wedding.

The most important rule to follow is to stick to the dress code specified in the invitation. If no dress code is specified, choose something that is both comfortable and formal. If you are unsure what to wear, it’s best to contact the bride and ask for her opinion, but not on the wedding day.

Lastly, I’ve noticed that some guests wear white to weddings, but it is traditionally reserved for the bride and possibly her mother. Unless the dress code requires it, it’s best to avoid wearing white to a wedding.


Wedding guests who do not take punctuality seriously can cause disruptions. The reasons for tardiness may include traffic jams, incorrect navigation information, or poor clothing choices. Being late can be an embarrassing experience, especially when other guests notice and turn to stare. It becomes even more unpleasant when the wedding ceremony is disturbed and the bridal couple takes notice of the late arrival. To prevent such an occurrence, it is crucial to plan enough time for the journey and arrive early. This will not only prevent disruptions but also allow guests to enjoy a pre-wedding drink before the ceremony.

Playing the Professional Photographer

Unless you were specifically hired by the couple to capture their special day, be mindful not to play the role of a professional photographer. Even if you have top-of-the-line equipment and take great photos, it is important not to interfere with the wedding proceedings. Instead, take the time to savor the moment and enjoy the festivities without causing any disruptions to the other guests. Remember, the couple has hired professional photographers to capture the event, and they will provide you with the pictures afterward. It is crucial to respect the couple’s wishes and avoid obstructing the official photographers’ work. In fact, as a professional photographer, I would not hesitate to step in front of your camera to capture the best shots for the couple.

Imagine how you would feel if Aunt Linda were in the way of your first kiss as husband and wife. To prevent such a scenario, it’s essential to remain out of the way and enjoy the wedding without attempting to take on the role of a professional photographer.

Be the first at the buffet

Let the bridal couple open the buffet and bar instead of assigning someone else. Maybe wait for your table or group to be announced to ensure there’s enough food and drinks for everyone. The DJ typically announces tables in a particular order. Hurrying to the buffet or bar can quickly cause chaos, and some guests may miss out. Waiting patiently will ensure that everyone has a chance to enjoy the food and drinks. Besides, you can utilize this time to chat with other guests and enjoy the wedding atmosphere. Keep in mind that the wedding is about celebrating the couple, not just the food and drinks.

In conclusion, by following these simple guidelines, guests can help ensure that the wedding is a success and a memorable experience for the bride and groom. Remember, it’s their special day, and everyone should behave accordingly. As a wedding photographer, I’ve seen firsthand the impact that guest behavior can have on the atmosphere and overall experience. If you’re looking for a photographer for your wedding, don’t hesitate to contact us. We would be honored to capture the special moments of your big day.

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