It's officially wedding season and not just for the professionals. If you look at your calendar, you too will realize most of your traveling for the year will be for friend’s weddings. We know you don't want to add to the couples stress and be the subject of a public rant about their rude wedding guest so we've eliminated any confusion by giving you all the insight, knowledge and sometimes tough love to be the best guest this season. This is your "HOW TO BE THE BEST WEDDING GUEST" guide. Study it, and don't let us catch you going rogue.
1. Répondez s'il vous plaît, no, like really, RSVP
Do not pull the "I opened the invite so long ago and forgot where I placed it" routine. If you are asked to RSVP you are likely over the age of 18 and therefore you know how to use a calendar and your common sense. Don't make the couple chase you. I assure you they have more important matters to focus on. The date a couple provides to you is not some made up fairytale date, their catering, bar, and rental costs are all affected by the number of guests they have, as is their entire seating plan, therefore, they can't finalize any of that without your help. And by your help, I mean doing something that takes the least amount of effort, by clicking yes on the internet or mailing a prepaid envelope.
2. Me +2 will be attending
The "can I bring a guest?" question or the bold action of a returned RSVP with added names written in makes me laugh and cringe at the same time. Assume the answer is no ALWAYS. Weddings are exclusive invites. Whether it's a wedding of 20 or 250. Each name on that guest list was curated. I'm sure you're innocently thinking that you started dating someone 5 months ago and just can't imagine experiencing anything without this person. I'd say you're being a little dramatic but I too have been struck by the honeymoon phase of relationships. It's not like you have no choices. You can either attend the wedding of your friend because selflessly you want to be there for them and witness this special occasion or continue pretending someone else's wedding revolves around you and don't attend because your partner can't join you. The couple might want to look into the crowd when they recite their vows and see familiar faces. Also, you're completely erasing cost from this thought process when it is likely the deciding factor. The cost per guest is not just the cost per their meal and their beverages, it's also their rentals and the venue they're being hosted in and the entertainment they are listening to and the staff serving them and the decor they're admiring and the cake they're devouring and the photo booth they're enjoying, and the welcome bag of goodies they graciously received. So for a $50,000 100 person wedding, every guest would cost approximately $500. So when you're saying, hey I'm coming but only if so and so can join me, you're asking the couple to miraculously add $500 to their budget. Rude! This rule doesn't necessarily apply if you're married. If you're married, it is a standard courtesy that a couple invites your partner, unless you're a work colleague and have been invited with a number of other work colleagues, in that scenario you are not guaranteed a +1 for your Spouse. That was a costly mouthful, Get it?
3. But I look so good in white
Dress codes exist for a reason. They exist to help a couple create their vision and to help you feel empowered in your attire, but also not stick out like a sore thumb. Don't wear white/ivory/off white unless told otherwise. There is no circumstance in which that is acceptable unless it's part of the Dress Code or the couple specifically said it was allowed. If it's a Summer Botanical Barbecue wedding and you show up in black, it'll be pretty obvious you DID NOT READ THE DRESS CODE. Weddings are a special occasion no matter the formality so also assume no denim is allowed. No matter what the dress code remember tasteful is the name of the game.
4. How dare you ask me to unplug
Relax, your 10s of followers can wait. While this wasn't always the trend, we certainly believe this is how it should remain. Even if there is no unplugged signage at the wedding ceremony, we urge you to UNPLUG. Do not look through the lens of your phones or cameras. Be present. Let the professionals do their jobs capturing the moment and you just sit there and experience it. If there was a way for people to use their phones during wedding ceremonies that didn't ruin every professional photo then maybe we'd allow it from time to time but seeing as that's proven impossible and you can't be trusted, we must ban the phones.
5. I'd like to hear "Culo" by Pitbull
I assure you the couple spent time and money curating what vibe and in essence what music they wanted and that took you into account. Please, do not make music requests. This isn't your favorite local bar in college that had the best dancing and would take your requests all night long. When you make a request for something, you're either making a statement that you're unhappy with the entertainment or making a judgment that everyone in the room has the same taste in music as you do. The couple has had to take all guests into account when planning their celebration. Trust in them and their efforts. And if you really need to hear Pitbull, wait till your wedding day, your guests can't say boo about it.
6. Adults Only
I know it's not the most convenient for all the Parents out there, but it is the couple's wishes. Don't you remember ever so vaguely before you had your littles, that special day when you yourself might've requested a child-free wedding? I know it seems like another person experienced that but in fact, it was you. Some couples might be generous and spring for childcare and others leave that up to you. You have every right to decline a wedding invitation because it doesn't conveniently suit your needs but you don't have the right to ask a couple to move mountains to accommodate you. They've communicated that no kids are allowed for a reason. Don't try the "but they're very docile and well behaved and can sit on our laps" tactic to try and get your kids invited. You know very well your kids can be monsters at the drop of a hat and they'll want to sit everywhere, but that was a valiant effort and we applaud you for it.
7. This is not the Upright Citizens Brigade theater
This is not a time for improv and impromptu speeches. Do not grab the mic and begin a toast or worst a roast for the couple. If they wanted to offer you valuable air time they would've communicated that to you before the wedding day. If you suddenly feel inspired to gift the couple a performance of you jamming with the band for a song or two, stop yourself. Not all ideas are winners. The truth is if you're really moved by the moment and you'd like to say or do something TASTEFUL and MEMORABLE for the couple than you ask the Planner and the couple. If the answer is NO, you respect their response, and you perform your number in private at a later date or not at all.
8. Seating is not up for debate
I know it's tempting to move your place card to somewhere else on the table or even move tables entirely to be with your friends, but refrain. The seating chart took time to perfect and where you've been placed is where the couple feel is best for you and the entirety of the vibe. Is it that torturous to have to meet new people? It's highly probable you and the guests to your left and right have something in common and end up hitting it off. At the very least you both know the couple and were both invited to the wedding so chat about that.
9. Unlimited Open Bar doesn’t mean Unlimited Drinking
Drink Responsibly. This is not a Don't drink and drive PSA because that should already be understood. I'm merely advising you to know your limit and drink accordingly. Manage your beverage intake, such as hydrating with water and making sure you eat throughout the day and night. You don't want to be the friend that your other friends need to apologize for. You want to be coherent enough to be able to apologize for your actions yourself. Or here's an idea don't get inebriated enough to do anything worth apologizing for.
Okay, class is finished. You've survived! Don't be frightened or overwhelmed by the amount of rules to consider when attending a wedding, they should mostly be common sense. It's a wedding, a time for blending of two lives and celebrating that commitment with a positive and energetic environment. Go ENJOY, and when the couple recognize what an amazing guest you were you can say you had a little help.