You’ve been invited! You’re about to attend a wedding, and whether it’s your first or fifteenth, it is an immensely important day for the bride and groom and their family. Here are some ground rules, you can follow to make sure you make their big day even more special and memorable.
+1’s – Don’t ever assume you’re allowed a +1 (or +2, +3, etc.). You must be respectful of the bride and groom’s guest list. Every wedding has limitations and inviting everyone just isn’t possible. Only bring a guest if it specifies that you may do so. Besides, going stag can definitely be worth your while! While you may not want to leave your kids behind, this rule also applies to the little ones!
RSVP’s – There is nothing more frustrating than planning a wedding! Don’t be that guest. Having the bride or groom chase you for a simple response- isn’t something to be proud of. Eventually, you may have to face the same difficult task while planning your own event or wedding. Believe in karma… As soon as you can, send in the RSVP. And after you have, don’t flip flop or be a no show!
Bar Etiquette – Cash bar, no bar, open bar all mean drinking is involved. Celebrating with a few drinks can infuse fun into the wedding. However, this is not the time to see if you still have the same tolerance as you did in college. Use some self-control and keep drinking to a normal level (it’s easy to get carried away; we’ve all been there…). Be sure to have a glass of water between every 1 to 2 drinks.
Gifts – a wedding present is not optional, unless the invitation specifies “no gifts.” Phrases like “no boxed gifts please” are just nice ways of saying we take paper or plastic. Generally, you have up to about 6 months to give the bride/groom a wedding present. Don’t fret if you miss your chance at the wedding itself. I f the happy couple has a registry, be sure to select something from that- give something they actually want and will use!
Skipping the Ceremony – Yes, I know, most ceremonies are boring and redundant. That does not mean you can pass on it. Getting an invitation to the ceremony means the bride and groom think you’re worth having at their biggest life moment. Attending only the reception makes it pretty obvious that you decided the food was more important than the wedding. Attend the ceremony, and be part of their big moment!
Attire – There’s nothing more off-putting than under dressed guests. On the other end of the spectrum, don’t be what I like to call “the peacock.” Outdoing the bride or groom only makes you look like a jerk. Sometimes it’s as easy as following the suggested attire on the invitation. If the invite doesn’t specify, ask a friend. Don’t assume anything!
Taking Souvenirs – Weddings are not a grab and go opportunity. Sometimes a bride and groom have arrangements that are custom created and purchased. However, many brides and grooms also opt to rent certain decorations. If you see a floral arrangement or centerpiece you’d like to take home, just ask a member of the wedding planning team. Don’t ever ask the bride or groom.
Timeliness – Weddings have a tendency of running behind schedule. And nothing stresses a bride or groom more than the schedule (and weather). Try your level best to be on time. There is no such thing as being fashionably late to a wedding. Interrupting the ceremony or reception with your late entrance is not a memory any bride or groom wants to savor.
Speeches – If you’re asked to speak at the wedding, understand that it’s an important responsibility. There are two important rules here. First, don’t wing it. There is no better way to make a fool out of yourself in front of a lot of people. You’ll not only risk ruining the bride/groom’s day, but also your overall reputation. Second, don’t make personal jokes that might upset the bride/groom or are not understood by the audience. By speaking at a wedding, you’re basically the entertainment for the evening for the entire guest list. Therefore, make it entertaining for them, not just for yourself or the bride/groom.
Food– Remember that you’re a guest. Enjoy everything that has been arranged(whether it’s up to your standards or not) and keep negative comments to yourself. Remember that while you’re there to have a good time, you’re also at a wedding to partake in the happiness of the bride and groom. By being an obnoxious guest, you’re taking away from their big day.