It’s officially summer wedding season.
There were a plethora of college graduations this past weekend (Shout out to my alma mater, Texas A&M University!), and those wedding invitations are collecting on your refrigerator like Christmas cards in December. With that, the summer wedding season has officially kicked off and is already in full swing with a lot of weddings wasting no time at all starting this upcoming weekend.
I decided to change it up this week and focus on the guests. This post is all about helping you be the best wedding guest ever so you’re not banned from future gatherings or being shamed at thanksgiving dinners for the rest of forever.
How-to Be the Best Wedding Guest
First things first, RSVP RSVP RSVP. (and do it right!)
Needless to say, this is one of the top complaints I hear from my couples during their wedding planning process. (I’ll be completely honest, I am not always the best at this either!) But after going through these frustrations with my own wedding, I was able to totally see the frustration first-hand.
Believe it or not, RSVPs really determine a lot when it comes to the wedding day. It determines the amount of food, tables, chairs, linens, drinks, favors, etc. The expenses really add up fast! Essentially the bride and groom are paying for your spot at the wedding with all these things. It’s the least you could do to tell them whether they should be expecting you or not.
When you do RSVP, make sure to fill out your RSVP card correctly! Provide your name in the blank and a return address to ensure that the couple knows to whom the card belongs to. However, let’s face it, life happens and sometimes gets a little more out of hand than we are prepared for. If you lose your RSVP card or even forget to send it, it’s usually not a big deal as long as you are sure to reach out to the couple and at least let them know. You can always use it as an opportunity to catch up too!
I may seem selfish with this next one, but send a gift.
It’s proper wedding etiquette to send a gift to the couple if you received a wedding invitation – whether you actually attend the wedding or not. It’s also proper wedding etiquette to bring a gift to each party and shower that you are invited to. Most couples create wedding registries at different stores such as Macy’s and Bed Bath & Beyond with assorted items like a wish list. All you have to do is choose something from their list – so half of the work is done for you! Also, most lists have a wide array of items on them with an array of price points, so guests are able to choose a gift based on their budget. If there’s not a gift in your price point on the registry, cash or gift cards are always the easiest (and sometimes most appreciated) gifts that allow the couple to purchase what they really want.
Be on time.
You’d think this one is a no brainer, but I have dealt with late guests at every wedding I’ve worked. Their reactions are always the same: surprised that the ceremony already started and upset that they have to wait to be snuck into the back rows. I suggest avoiding the situation all together by planning to arrive 15 to 30 minutes before the ceremony is said to start.
The wedding is less about you and more about the couple. The only one allowed to be late on this day is the Bride. But, if the bride is anything like me, she’s all about starting things on time.
On the same note, dress for a wedding.
Like my mama always says, you can never be overdressed but you sure can be underdressed. Most of the time the invitation or wedding website will indicate the type of dress for the wedding. One way to determine what to wear is to dress for the season and dress for the venue.
Another thing… Don’t wear white.
White weddings were on trend at some point. But unless the invitation clearly states this, it’s safe to say it won’t be the case. As much as you may slay in that outfit, it’s important to remember that it’s the bride’s head turning moment, not yours. If you’re still confused on what to wear, reach out to someone in the bride or groom’s family! The Maid of Honor would also know most likely. If you leave your t-shirt and Old Navy flip flops at home, you’re already on the right track.
It’s important to be cool with the camera.
The couple hired a photographer for a reason. Take in the magic of the moment and save your phone or camera battery for the reception. Ceremonies are often times 30 minutes or less. Take in what God’s doing right in front of you with your eyes rather than behind your screen. Don’t be that person that is in the photographer’s way, ruins the shot, and is then hated by the couple.
Don’t hog the Bride and Groom.
As you move onto the reception, the bride and groom will be making their rounds with attempts to talk to everyone briefly and thank them for coming. Guests coming to the wedding deserve to have face time with the bride and groom (especially if they are from out of town and don’t see the couple very often), so it’s hard to say don’t hog the bride and groom.
I know its tempting to catch up, especially if you haven’t seen them in a while, but use this time to briefly offer your congratulations and give them a chance to speak with everyone. If the Bride and Groom invited 150 guests and spent only two minutes talking to each person, they would most likely not be able to catch everyone in between activities before the reception is over. Set up a coffee date or a phone call after the honeymoon to catch up with the couple! This way you can have a deeper conversation as well as letting them know you genuinely care about this new journey they are embarking on.
Keep the negativity to yourself.
Everyone has an opinion, and everyone believes they have to share that opinion. It’s important to mingle with the other guests, but definitely keep the negative comments to yourself. My sweet friend Kati put it in the most amazing way: every wedding is nice and beautiful because it’s the best that the family could afford.
Let’s face it, weddings are extremely expensive and each wedding is different when it comes to the budget. Every family putting on a wedding strives to put on the best wedding that they can for their precious daughter. Whether you thought the vows were too cheesy, the dress wasn’t your style, or the food wasn’t five star, it was perfect to who mattered that day… and that is what makes it beautiful. Don’t be that person to make the day any less perfect, you’ll get your chance to have guests talk crap behind your back about your wedding too. Leave the petty bad mood at home and have some champagne.
Don’t be that guest.
Speaking of champagne, I guess I can’t finish this blog post without having the obligatory watch-your-alcohol-consumption bit. I get it, weddings are a party. You’re celebrating your dear friends or family members, and you want to let loose a little. But my mama always taught me growing up that you never want to be the drunkest person at the party. One wrong move and you’re shamed at family Thanksgivings, uninvited to Christmases, or forever known as the college friend that ruined the wedding.
There’s nothing more embarrassing than seeing the groom and groomsmen plastered at the reception with Aunt Sue dancing on the table in the corner and your old college roommate hitting on your uncle. With an open bar and champagne around every corner, it’s hard to resist a celebratory cocktail (or four). Go ahead an have a blast, but dear Lord baby Jesus keep it together.