6 Ways to Recover from Cringe-Worthy Wedding Guest Fails
Spilled red wine on the bride’s dress? Phone rang at the ceremony? An etiquette expert explains what you should do next.
Yikes! You spilled something on the bride’s gown
Even the sight of a nearby guest holding a colourful drink can send some brides into a panic. Stay safe by placing your glass and plate on the table before getting too close. If anything does happen, you’ve got some major apologizing to do, says Jacqueline Whitmore, etiquette expert and founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach. “Apologize profusely,” she says. “If it’s stained, offer to pay for the dry cleaning. Beyond that, offer to have it preserved and boxed up.”
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You forgot someone’s name
This can occur in any setting, but at a wedding it might be with a family member whose name you should have committed to memory by now. But don’t fret: If you’re drawing a total blank on the first name of your great aunt, simply ask someone else at the wedding. If that fails, own up to your brain freeze and say, “I’m sorry, please tell me your name again.” It’s not as bad as you think.
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A joke from your toast hurt someone’s feelings
If you accidentally hurt someone’s feelings in your toast, own up to it. “I’d send them an email apology or give them a call after the wedding,” says Whitmore. In general, steer clear of topics that could be secrets, inappropriate for younger guests, or that showcase anyone in a bad light. Your toast should make the couple feel great.
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You were caught hooking up with another guest
As long as it’s not with someone who’s already taken, it’s not that big of a deal. Whitmore suggests letting people forget about it quickly. “My grandmother used to say, ‘the more you stir the worse it’ll stink.’”
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You drank too much and caused a small scene
The same goes for causing a scene. Recover as quickly as you can—if you fell on the dance floor, get up; if you dropped a glass, tell the waiter—and then cut yourself off.
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Your phone rang during the ceremony
You knew you should’ve turned it off, but you forgot—and now your phone’s alarm is going off in the church. Turn the ringer off immediately and never bring it up again. “It’s unnecessary to apologize at the reception,” says Whitmore.
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