Gentlemen, this is how not to behave at a wedding

Knowing how to conduct yourself at a summer wedding isn’t rocket science. But after what I saw at a recent friend’s wedding, there’s clearly a demand for an etiquette piece on the subject. The conclusion I’ve come to is this: everyone likes a party, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The important thing to remember, though, is that this isn’t just a normal night out with friends. This is (cliché but true) the most important day of this couple’s life, and one that they want to remember for all the right reasons. Not because you got the groom so drunk he had to go to bed at eleven, or because you flirted outrageously and inconspicuously with the mother of the bride. So gentlemen, here’s your definitive primer on to behave when celebrating the happy couple.

Don’t: get on the wrong side of the bride (or groom)

This is particularly true of weddings abroad. If you’re there as a friend of the groom and you don’t know the bride, you need to get to know her. You need to remember that the bride will be highly strung, she’ll be nervous and she’ll want to make sure every one at that wedding is having the time of their lives. But the last thing she needs to worry about is a childhood friend of her soon-to-be husband’s getting too drunk, too early. Yes, you’re excited to be on holiday and yes, you want to party – but it should never be at the expense of the person whose wedding you’re attending.

Don’t: steal the limelight

This isn’t a club and it’s not your best friends 21st. You need to remember where you are, and tonight you’re at a wedding. It’s therefore highly inappropriate to take to the dance floor and force all eyes on you, rather than the couple in celebration. Obviously, everyone likes a gentleman who’s willing to be the life and soul of the party but you need to always make sure you haven’t taken it too far.

Don’t: take one too many liberties


(Photo: New Line Cinema)

There’s an open bar and then there’s an open bar that you go back to every five minutes, even when your glass isn’t empty. Don’t be that guy, gents. Yes, it’s nice to have a night out – especially on someone else. You have to remember why you’re there, though, and that’s to celebrate the newlyweds. You’ve been drunk before and you’ll be drunk again, so stop. Don’t be that sloppy inebriated idiot who gets cut off whilst the night’s young or causes a drought at the bar and ruins the fun for everyone else.

Don’t: go overboard on the inappropriate jokes

We all like to be the funny guy in the room and sure, it feels nice to have people laugh at your jokes but when it comes to weddings, you need to make sure that the humour doesn’t fall into the inappropriate. If you’re making a speech, this is a whole other story. But if you’re just making small talk at the pre-dinner drinks or happen to be placed next to an important family member, please try and reign in the horrendous jokes about consummating the marriage.

Recommended reading: what you should wear to a summer wedding 

(Main and featured image: New Line Cinema)

India Gladstone

India Gladstone

India is the Online Editor of Gentleman's Journal

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