Planning a wedding is a stressful, busy and tiring effort for the bride and groom. But the thought of sharing their special day with you, their most cherished family and friends, makes it all worthwhile. Until, of course, it doesn’t… Let’s take a look at how not to upset the stars of the day, with a quick run down of buttonholes wedding etiquette, among other things that can be inadvertently mishandled…

Here are the top things to not say to the happy couple in the run-up to their big day:

Bridesmaid Etiquette

1. Can my child be your flower girl/bridesmaid?

Seriously? Just no. The only people to walk up the aisle are the bride, the groom, and perhaps their very closest, very honoured nearest and dearest. Don’t embarrass them and yourself with an inappropriate request.

2. Wow – that’s a really brave choice of dress!

As a close friend, you have been given the privilege of a preview of the dress. No matter the reason why, if you think anything other than ‘WOW!’ (in a good way), then keep your opinions to yourself: the bride has fallen in love with this dress and possibly taken out a small mortgage to afford it. Don’t ruin it for her.

P.s. Here’s how to be a kickass bridesmaid.

How to Be a Brilliant Bridesmaid - Bridesmaid's Flowers

Etiquette For Bridesmaids Dresses

3. I don’t like my bridesmaid’s dress, can I wear something else?

Maybe… Do you plan to also pay for it?

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On Wedding Invitation Etiquette…

4. I’m not sure if I can come; is it alright if I say yes for now and confirm a few days beforehand?

Wedding Invitation

You’re not married, are you? If you were, you’d understand the intricacies and dilemmas involved in putting together the table plan. Oh, and the cost per head. (Which is, of course, non-refundable after final numbers are confirmed several weeks prior to the event.)

Not to mention the offensive implication that you may yet get a better offer…

5. At any point after you have given final numbers to the caterers and made your table plan: I can’t come anymore.

Can’t; or won’t? Etiquette, good manners and common decency dictate that if there is an unavoidable, legitimate reason that you are unable to attend despite having already confirmed, you need to pay for your dinner/s. And yes, it would also be kind of nice to still send a gift.

6. Can I bring my new boyfriend/girlfriend as a plus one?

Would you choose to spend upwards of £50 on dinner and drinks for a friend? How about a perfect stranger? Exactly. Read your invitation. Do not deviate from it.

This really is an inappropriate question, even if qualified with the fact that you intend to cover the cost – the bride and groom will have had the discussion and your invite will reflect their decision.

The only time it may be acceptable to ask the question is if you know the only issue is budget-related, but they couldn’t face asking you to meet the cost. Assuming, of course, that you’d be happy to pay. A reasonable compromise in this situation may be for your plus one to attend the reception only; but again, it has to be at the couple’s discretion.

Wedding Menu Etiquette

7. I don’t like quails eggs, can I choose a different meal?

The chosen menu is somewhat influenced by the majority preferences.  But probably more so by budget. So no, you cannot.

Wedding Seating Plan Etiquette

8. Can you make sure I am/am not sitting with (insert other guest name) for the wedding breakfast?

Can you put aside your issues for one afternoon and remember who the day is about? The couple will do their best with the table plan. They will be unlikely to be in a position to please everybody.

If they can possibly put you with your preferred guests, they will do so without you putting in the request – they are not likely to seat you with strangers or foes for fun. (Unless of course you’ve already transgressed in one of the above situations and then maybe it will be for their entertainment.)

Wedding Bands

Top Table Etiquette

9. My boyfriend is one of the ushers; can I sit with him at the top table?

Putting together the table plan is hands-down the most stressful part of the entire process. The top table is usually reserved for the very closest friends and family. You will be informed if you’ve made the cut.

Be gracious if not; you cannot shoehorn your way into the bride’s and groom’s affections. And really, would you want to be on the top table if you’ve not been invited?

Buttonholes Wedding Etiquette / Wedding Corsage Etiquette

10. What colour will my buttonhole be?

Um, who told you that you were important enough to be included in the wedding party in this way? If you’ve not been explicitly told, please don’t assume!

Wedding Corsage

Wedding Gift List Etiquette

11. Please can we come to your wedding, we’re old family friends of the parents and would love to be there!

…Followed by a card with no gift. At all.

It’s plain rude. Married or not, you will be fully cognizant of the expense of a wedding. Perhaps less so of the price per head. Which, by the way, is A LOT. If the couple are sweet enough to agree to have you at their special day, the very least you can so is show some reciprocal generosity.

Bride and Groom

Wedding Etiquette, UK

Some of these examples may seem far-fetched, and thus entertaining to read in a blog post; in reality any one of these (and definitely a multitude of them) becomes stressful to deal with. I know because but more than half are real examples from my and my husband’s wedding, and the rest are stories from other brides I know.

Can you better these with even more outlandish requests? Please leave a comment!



An award-nominated blogger and author, Kate is an experienced breastfeeding advocate, and expert baby sleep chaser. Her writing has appeared on Mothercare, Huff Post, and BritMums.


  1. Maestro mummy Reply

    This is great! My 21 month old daughter & I are both going to be bridesmaids for a friend’s wedding in May. I am due to give birth any day now so I am hoping my dress will be flattering on some new mummy lumps & bumps :-/ #coolmumclub

    • Kate Reply

      I had to give a very emotional reading at my brother’s wedding one week before I gave birth. I know it’s daunting being (just to one side of the) centre of attention, but I suppose it’s worth remembering that most eyes will be on the bride. Besides which, I don’t doubt you’ll look lovely. X

  2. Tracey Abrahams Reply

    I had several people contact me a few days before rhe wedding to say they couldnt come, luckily (because i was skint) the main wedding breakfast was being paid for by each guest, but it still made me stress over last minute seating plans. #Coolmumclub

    • Kate Reply

      Such a pain isn’t it! I think either people haven’t done it and therefore don’t realise, or they must have forgotten! Surely nobody would do it otherwise?!

  3. Unhinged Mummy (aka Janine Woods) Reply

    I’ve been married five years now and still remember the stress of planning it, especially the table plan. I totally agree with all of the first 10 points you have made. They are spot on, but do disagree with number 11. I think that weddings can be very costly affairs for the guests too what with the cosy of travel expenses, drinks, a new outfit and possibly the cost of a hotel for the night to boot it all adds up. Some people will give generously and some people will give a card but either way I was pleased with whatever we were given and was just glad that our guests had come to share our special day with us #coolmclub

    • Kate Reply

      Ah, I think perhaps I should have been more honest in number 11… We had A THING, maybe someday I’ll write about it completely transparently. I’m usually very generous – financially and in spirit. In this case, my resentment was still bubbling away about THE THING… Oops! X

  4. Kate Reply

    Why am I not surprised by that? Some people really do take the biscuit! X

  5. randommusings29 Reply

    I agree with all of these except the last one. If I was getting married, I wouldn’t want good friends to reject the invite because they couldn’t afford an expensive gift.

    • Kate Tunstall Reply

      I think my point may not have been clear – I wouldn’t either. It’s more about priorities and people appreciating what it costs to have them there, and essentially not taking advantage of a couple’s generosity.

  6. moonprincess Reply

    Also “can I be a bridesmaid” nearly ruined my whole wedding planning process. Most awkward situation ever.

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