Weddings are ripe with traditions and unspoken rules: a guest should never wear white, going off-registry when gift shopping is kind of an annoying move, and the maid of honor and best man are supposed to fuck, for some reason.
But the most hallowed of these unspoken rules is also the most basic: DON’T UPSTAGE THE BRIDE AND GROOM AT THEIR OWN DAMN WEDDING.
A frustrated bride recently wrote in to Slate‘s “Dear Prudence” advice column with the wedding faux pas to end all wedding faux pas.
Apparently, the best man, a guy named “John,” proposed to his girlfriend “Jane” in the middle of the ceremony. While he was at it, he decided to announce to the wedding guests that Jane was pregnant. The cherry on the shit sundae? John was officiating the ceremony.
The bride tells Prudence that John’s announcement essentially insured that both he and Jane were the center of attention for the remainder of the wedding and reception.
“When John gave his toast, he apologized for being caught up in the moment, and then proceeded to talk about he and Jane’s future with nary a mention of us,” the bride writes. “During the reception John and Jane became the primary focus of our guests. John even went out of his way to ask the band for a special dance for just him and Jane on the dance floor.”
The bride wondered whether the whole debacle was cause to cut John out of her and her husband’s life, or if she should just let bygones be bygones. To her credit, Slate‘s Prudence wasn’t enchanted by John and Jane’s whirlwind engagement either. She responded to the despondent bride, writing:
I think it merits a fight! In between “getting over it” and “never speaking to John again” is the happy medium of “having a difficult conversation with a longtime friend who did something selfish and self-absorbed on your wedding day.” He’s your husband’s best friend, so your husband should tell John just how upset his behavior during your wedding made him. Maybe John will apologize and the two of them can have a meaningful reconciliation and build a better friendship as a result. Maybe John will double down and dismiss your husband’s feelings, and things will naturally fall apart between them. Whatever the outcome, there is definitely at least one step in between “seething silently” and “cutting John loose forever,” especially since the two of them have been best friends for a long time.
Twitter resoundingly agreed, and happily dragged the anonymous “John” and “Jane” for their tacky wedding manners.
So, yeah — in case it wasn’t clear, it is generally considered bad manners to upstage the happy couple on their big day, particularly when it involves a proposal or a pregnancy announcement (or, good God, both).
Why? Why is it considered tacky to hog the spotlight from the bride and groom by proposing to your own sweetheart? Because you didn’t pay thousands of dollars for the ceremony and reception and rehearsal dinner, you monumental egomaniac. Weddings are for the people who shelled out the money to make them happen — they aren’t elaborate aphrodisiacs meant to induce spontaneous public declarations of lifelong love.
Unless you’re willing to pay $30,000 for your very own engagement party, it’s best to keep it (and your emotions) in your pants at weddings. Otherwise, a bride cannot be held responsible for any damage she can and will inflict upon you.