If you have a loved one getting married, you may be wondering what to wear, if you should bring a gift and what you should bring, and how to have a good time without becoming “that guest.” Or you may just be thinking, “FREE BOOZE!” I encourage you to take a step back and think about how you would want your guests to act at your own wedding. Does your Grandma need to be exposed to a tell all toast? Do you need to get so drunk that you either start a fight or throw up in the punch bowl?
A wedding in typically one of the largest social parties a couple will throw in their lifetime and contrary to what some guests may think, it’s not a free food and booze free for all. At my wedding to my ex in 1998, his cousin, her husband and their kids showed up wearing jeans, tees and tennies and they weren’t event their good jeans. My ex-husband’s aunt came to the rescue and she actually sent them home and told them they couldn’t come to the reception unless they changed clothes. Many couples have horror stories about guests and their behavior.
Glamour Magazine ran a feature on their blog in November 2010 of “Jaw-Droppingly Awful Things Real Wedding Guests Have Done.” Offense number four stood out to me as I have seen this behavior more than once at a wedding: Wedding Offense #4: Making out in plain sight I have no problem with hooking up at a wedding…if you sneak away to do so. But my friend once witnessed one of the bridesmaids sucking face with a fellow wedding guest ON THE DANCE FLOOR. For real. The bride’s parents were just feet away! It’s a wedding, people, not a junior prom. Read More http://www.glamour.com/weddings/blogs/save-the-date/2010/11/jaw-droppingly-awful-things-re.html#ixzz1JFzv8dSw
Not every wedding guest rudeness goes this far. My ultimate pet peeve: failing to RSVP. Here your friends have provided you with a handy card with a stamped envelope to inform them as to whether you will be joining them and you don’t take the time to fill it out and drop it in the mail. Seriously, it’s less than five minutes out of your day and by not sending it in, you are causing undue stress to your friend and sometimes putting a damper on their relationship with their venue and caterer.
Almost equal with not sending in an RSVP is having your phone on during the ceremony. I’m sorry, but this is a time where two people are joining themselves together (hopefully for life) and hearing your “Bat Out of Hell” by Meatloaf ringtone or you angry texting your ex isn’t exactly or appropriate to your friends.
So, how can you be the best wedding guest you can be?
1. RSVP- seriously, just do it and save your friends the stress and perhaps an additional expense. If something comes up and you are unable to attends, you need to call the couple and change your RSVP as soon as possible. Many times final counts from caterers are due a week to three days prior. Can you change your RSVP to yes after you have declined. No, absolutely not.
2. If the invitation doesn’t indicate what sort of dress is appropriate, give the couple a call and show up dressed appropriately for the wedding you are attending be it black tie or jeans acceptable.
3. Take it easy at the bar. This isn’t a time to become a sloppy drunk. At weddings where there are fights and whatnot, excessive alcohol consumption usually is the case. Pace your self and know what your limit is. An appropriate amount is typically 1 -2 drinks.
4. Don’t take pictures during the ceremony unless the couple has specifically said it’s okay to do so. Excessive flash can ruin the shots the couple is paying a professional photographer for.
5. Don’t place your wedding expectations on the couple and respect their cultural and religious traditions. While watching an episode or “Four Weddings” on TLC, the wedding took place in a Greek Orthodox church. One of the other brides complained about the wedding because it was in Greek and felt that it was unfair that she wasn’t able to understand what was said. That’s a very ethnocentric approach and the best thing for you to do as a guest in this situation is to treat those traditions with respect. Why not look up such traditions ahead of time so that you are prepared for such a ceremony?
6. Do not bring a guest of your own unless your invitation (typically the inner envelope will tell you if you get a plus one) specifically says you are allowed to bring a guest.
7. Giving a gift is not a requirement for guests (Yes, my dear couples, no one is ever expected to give you a gift). However, should you choose to give a gift, give the couple or their parents a call and find out where they are registered and buy off of the registry. The couple has chosen things on their registry based on need, so get them something they will use and don’t forget to mention to the sales associate that this is on XYZ’s registry so that the couple can avoid having multiple gifts they have to return. Also, as a guest, etiquette states you have one year to give them a wedding gift if you choose to do so.
There are some basic etiquette tips to ensure that you don’t become, “that guest.” If at anytime you are unsure, just ask the couple instead of committing a wedding guest offense.