How to be "The Perfect Wedding Guest"
Yay - you've received an invitiation in the post to attend a special friend or family members BIG DAY! So EXCITING!! Straight off the bat - you have to be pretty excited! Many couples planning their wedding in the current economic climate find themselves restricted by their budget - so consider yourself a priveledged and cherished part of their lives - and take note of the following to ensure you are THE PERFECT WEDDING GUEST!
The first thing you need to do when you receive your invitation is find out ASAP if you are able to make it. This may mean scheduling leave from work, arranging babysitters or making travel arrangements and booking accomodation - do this as soon as you possibly can and pay particular attention to the "RSVP by"date - make sure you RSVP by this date and don't be THAT guest that the Bride and/or Groom have to chase.
On that note - pay particular attention to the names on the invitation - don't assume that it's okay to bring a guest or your children and don't call up the hosts and ask if it's okay to bring an extra person or your children. Chances are they've had to make some difficult decisions about who they can and can't afford to include in their special day - don't make it awkward for them by making them say "no" to your request.
WHAT TO WEAR..... WHAT TO WEAR
So we ALL want to look our best at special occasions don't we? Especially when there's going to be photos and possibly video evidence doing the rounds for a VERY long time. PAY ATTENTION to the wedding invitation. Have the hosts stated a dress code? ie. Black Tie, Garden Party or Beach Wedding attire? If so - do your best to adhere to this dress code. If there isn't a stated dress code - just take your lead from the style and the design of the invitation itself - if the invitation is "fancy"- chances are the wedding itself will be also - so avoid jeans and sneakers and take advantage of the opportunity to pull out your fanciest frock or your smartest pants and shirt. Pay particular attention to the COLOURS on the wedding invitation. In MOST cases - these are the couples theme colours and their Bridal Party will be wearing these colours - so you should avoid doing the same. If the invitation is pink - just don't wear pink - even if it is your favourite colour. Never ever EVER wear white. Ever. Not even a "shade"of white. Guys - yes - it's okay to wear a white shirt with a tie or a suit - but girls - No. Never.
Also pay attention to WHERE the ceremony is being held. If the couple are getting married in a Church or Temple - be mindful of their culture and traditions and do your upmost to respect them. This may mean covering your arms or chest for the ceremony.
Dress modestly - bare midriffs and buttcheeks are okay to display at the beach, but not at a wedding. A good rule of thumb is - if you wouldn't wear it to visit your grandmother - don't wear it to a wedding.
THE BIG DAY
Firstly - if for ANY reason you can't make it on the day - let the hosts know. Don't just not show up. Obviously, most reasonable people will understand that sometimes things happen - a text or a quick call to let them know will save them worrying and with enough notice - may save them the cost of an uneaten meal or two.
BE ON TIME. Yes - it's a Brides perrogative to be late - but never a guests. It's good practice to plan to be there at least 20-30 minutes before the time stated on the invitation. Again - life happens and sometimes circumstances outside your control might make you late - if this does happen - QUIETLY sit yourself at the back when it is the least intrusive to do so. If you happen to arrive as the Bridal Party are walking up the aisle - wait outside or to the side out of the way and seat yourself quietly once the ceremony begins.
SWITCH OFF YOUR PHONE!!! Especially at an unplugged wedding where the hosts have specifically requested phones and cameras are not used. Watch the ceremony in person - not through a small cellphone or camera screen. This is the MOST IMPORTANT moment in your loved ones life - cherish it. On this note - if you DO take pictures - do it gracefully and unobtrusively. Don't get in the way of the photographer/videographer or block another guests view of the proceedings. DON'T stand or step into the aisle to get the best photo you can - that's what the photographer is there for. Lastly - NEVER share images on social media until the happy couple do! Best practice - leave your phone in your bag or pocket and enjoy the day!
DON'T SKIP the ceremony and just show up at the reception. The ceremony is the MOST IMPORTANT part of the day - and as previously mentioned - the happy couple have carefully selected you as being one of the people who share their special day - consider yourself priviledged to be able to attend.
AND NOW - ON TO THE RECEPTION
DON'T skip the receiving line. Yes - it can be awkward to shake hands with, or speak to people you have never met - but it only takes a few minutes to shake hands and say "Congratulations/What a beautiful Ceremony/You both look incredible/Thank you for inviting me". If there isn't a receiving line - make a point of seeking out the couple and their families and say "Hi" - just be concious of not monopolising their time. They have many guests they will wish to speak to and there are many people who wish to congratulate them. Keep your comments positive and encouraging - don't compare their wedding to yours or anyone elses and never ever complain about the time it took to drive to the ceremony, the weather, the food being cold etc etc.
SIT AT YOUR ASSIGNED SEAT. If the hosts have a table plan - this will have taken CONSIDERABLE time and effort to arrange - don't mess with it.
DO NOT GET DRUNK! Just because there is a free bar - doesn't mean you have to drink everything. Enjoy the drinks on offer, celebrate - but don't abuse it. There is NOTHING worse for a Bride and Groom than having to deal with a drunk, unruly or unconcious guest. Act responsibly and respectfully at all times.
Sign the guest book, jump in the photobooth, leave your thoughts for the Happy Couple. Their wedding day will fly by in a flash and the notes and comments you leave them will become cherished memories to look back on.
TAKE PART - even if you totally hate "The Time Warp" or "The Birdie Song" literally makes your blood run cold - get up on the dance floor and throw some shapes out! Once you get into the swing of things and join in the party - you'll enjoy every moment. There is nothing more depressing for a Bride and Groom than to look over and see a guest looking bored or unhappy.
AT THE END OF THE NIGHT - congratulate the happy couple and wish them well before you/they leave. Remember to take all your belongings home so they don't have to sift through a lost and found pile and DON'T FORGET YOUR WEDDING FAVOUR! You might not particularly like sugared almonds or have any use for a vintage spoon or key - but these mementos have cost money and time/effort for the couple and they want you to have them as a reminder of their day and a symbol of their gratitude for your support and love. Take it home with you - even if it ends up in a drawer or at the bottom of your waste paper basket - just don't leave it behind on a table.
When all is said and done - being the perfect wedding guest is about being a good and loving friend or relative. Doing what you can to make sure that someone special to you has the MOST wonderful day possible. Practice common sense, respect and show nothing but joy and happiness for them, and above all else - enjoy being a part of the most special day of their lives.