You’re invited to your best friend’s/college roommate’s/coworker’s/second cousin’s wedding. Congratulations! Now that you’ve formally been invited, let’s get real. With our extensive experience in the wedding industry, we have seen our share of amazing wedding guests, as well as the not-so amazing. Here are a few tips and tricks to enjoy your time and be on your best behavior.
#1 LEAVE THE PHOTOS & VIDEOS TO THE PRO’S
Transforming yourself into the perfect wedding guest is easy. Just eliminate all technology (cameras, ipads, headphones etc.) and unless you’re using an electric tissue dispenser – just put them away. Why you might ask? Because the bride and groom paid for their photographer. Simply, let the professional do their job. Couples typically put out thousands of dollars for this person and their team to capture their day. Nothing spoils a picture of a couple, more than 37 phones and cameras in the aisle taking their picture. If you really really REALLY want a picture, I have a solution for you! Wait about a month after the wedding, and the couple will certainly post an album from their wedding on at least one social media platform. The photos will be professionally shot and edited to make every key player look fabulous. Can’t wait that long? Snap a picture with the newlyweds at the reception!
#2 DON’T COMPLAIN ABOUT THE BAR/ FOOD
I used to work in catering and I can tell you that one of the most frustrating things at a wedding was when guests would complain about the kinds of alcohol being served. The bartenders don’t choose what will be served – the clients do! A couple might give the bartenders a broad idea or price range, such as a “beer and wine” bar, or having a margarita as a signature drink with no other bar options. Usually, these choices and options depend on the couple’s budget. So even if you are used to drinking 16 year-old Glennfidich scotch, I would recommend to suck it up buttercup! At most weddings, such luxuries are simply too expensive for the couple to offer at an open bar. If it’s a cash bar, typically you have more options, such as a few different types of each spirit, however, the same rules still apply – no whining!
The same rules still apply to the food being served. Let’s say you have recently become vegan – good for you! However, if that was not communicated on your rsvp (and not 2 days before the wedding) then please understand that the caterer may not be able to accommodate your dietary restrictions. Also, if you are not a fan of what the couple has decided to serve (maybe the menu is steak and fish and you are allergic to fish and only eat chicken) you will have to make do with whatever else is being served. More than half of wedding caterers are preparing food from an offsite location – meaning that they travel to wherever the wedding may be, and serve from there. A chef can’t just whip together a chicken dish for you at the reception. Therefore, be sure to make any dietary restrictions known to the couple on the formal rsvp card.
Shots… we love them and we hate them. But let me be the first and last to tell you that they are not welcome at weddings. Almost all respectable wedding & event bartenders will refuse to serve them, as they should! Therefore, from a professional, please don’t yell at the bartender when he/she won’t pour them. The major reason is for liability. One danger is alcohol poisoning, also, usually guests transport themselves to and from the wedding, and a lot of the time, bartenders don’t have the ability to remove keys from drunk drivers. Your hosts want you to have fun and celebrate the occasion, but they also want you to be safe!
#3 RESPECT THE TOASTS
Fun fact, more than any other part of the day (except for the ceremony of course), couples request to have the toasts included in the wedding video. However, it’s nearly impossible for videographers to capture these incredibly emotional moments when everyone in the back half of the room won’t stop talking. Yes, we understand that a groomsman, who might have pregamed a little too much before the ceremony, can seem as if he is going on and on. But the toast is only a small part of the event. Keep in mind that the wedding party usually has the best stories about the newlyweds – so, listen carefully to those toasts. You might actually enjoy them!
#4 SEND ANY GIFTS BEFORE THE WEDDING
This is a game changer. Sending wedding gifts prior to the wedding is so important, and also proper etiquette. The reason being that, if 10 guests decide to bring semi-large gifts to the couple at the wedding, it could happen that those responsible for collecting the items run out of room! Keep in mind that they also have to collect and load up all personal decorations and memorabilia, extra food and leftover cake, as well as the couples personal belongings. It might not sound like a lot. But believe it or not, we once had a bride’s father park his RV at the venue just so that they would have enough room to easily load everything up at the end of the reception.
#5 ENJOY THE CELEBRATION!
No matter what your relation is to the newlyweds, you were invited so that you could be a part of the celebration of the joining of two people in marriage. It’s a party for a reason, so celebrate! Don’t just sit at table 14 all night on your phone. You can do that when you get home. Dance, mingle with other guests, sign the guest book, take part in the Photo Booth, hell – dance on the bar (if permitted)! Just don’t forget the whole reason for the occasion.
Each and every couple wants their guests to enjoy their wedding. That’s the reason they invest so much time and expense into the planning – to make it unforgettable! Just remember these simple tips and you’ll be dancing the night away in no time.