Most of the time it's okay to speak up -- but in some cases, it's better to hold your peace. Be a model wedding guest by avoiding these conversational land mines.
"This must have cost you a fortune!"
The way celebrities' wedding costs are blasted all over the news can make it seem like it's appropriate to put a price tag on the dress, the cake, and everything in between. But money is often a sticky subject for brides and grooms who don't have a millionaire's budget, so it's better to keep mum. And just ignore that old "pay for your plate" rule -- it's more appropriate to choose a wedding gift that reflects the closeness of your relationship to the couple than the cost of your reception meal.
"So baby comes next, right?"
We know, we know -- first comes love, then comes marriage. But you know what? Next comes whatever the bride and groom want, which may be buying a home, working toward a big promotion, or something else entirely. Everyone's got their own schedule and life goals, which may or may not include the pitter-patter of little feet. Most brides and grooms are already pretty overwhelmed by the wedding planning, so the last thing they want to talk about is making another big life change.
"I can't believe you're settling down! I remember when..."
Just because you remember the bride when she was a total wild child or can provide the story behind the groom's fraternity nickname doesn't mean you should. This goes double for any conversation you have with other wedding guests who know the bride or groom from a different time in their lives (for example, a coworker or an older relative). Yes, they might still be the crazy kids you remember -- but given the formality of the day (not to mention the many relatives likely on the guest list), it's not the best time to air out their dirty laundry.
"Can you help me with...?"
When you're at a wedding, it's pretty easy to look to the bride and groom as the ones who are in charge and running the show -- after all, it's their big day. For the same reason though, they're going to be pretty busy (and by "pretty busy," we mean "reallybusy"). If you've got some minor issue -- the caterers brought you the wrong entree, or you think some of the seating should be switched -- don't take it to the bride and groom. Instead, talk to the wedding planner or coordinator, one of the caterers, or, if you really feel it's something the bride or groom needs to deal with personally, one of the bridesmaids or groomsmen who can pass along the message. The bride and groom already have a lot on their plates, so it's important to respect the difference between an actual emergency and what just seems like one at the time.
"Why wasn't so-and-so invited?"
Word to the wise: If you notice that someone you thought would be at the wedding isn't there, there's usually a reason. Option A is that their RSVP said they couldn't make it, but Option B is that there's a distinct reason they were left off the guest list. Either way, the most tactful approach is to keep mum about it. If the bride and groom have chosen not to include a family member or friend, chances are there was at least one long conversation that went into making that decision -- and the wedding day is definitely not the time to bring it up.
"Wow, when you think about how many couples divorce..."
Today of all days, the D-word is off limits. No matter what you might think about statistics, or the bride's or groom's past or family life, or your own experiences, just don't go there. Instead of focusing on the negative, think about the positive -- yes, in spite of the odds, these two people are genuinely committed to each other and are making a public vow saying so! Don't they deserve only your best wishes?
"Tonight's going to be a big night for you, huh?"
Please, no speculation about the bride and groom's after-hours activities. If you want to talk about what a big night it is, focus on what's already happening -- the fabulous food, the killer band, the great time all the guests are having. Lose the innuendo and congratulate the bride and groom on pulling off an amazing wedding.