I consider myself to be a great, almost professional wedding guest. I dress appropriately, am never late, don’t have too much to drink (ok – maybe that one is a little stretch) and work to keep the conversation upbeat at my table and the dancing going on the dance floor.
However, while planning my own wedding, I found myself discussing with my fiancé about what makes a good guest and what makes a bad one – and this is what we determined – don’t make these mistakes (especially if you are invited to our wedding).
Leave the Little Ones At Home
How many couples complain they do not have enough time alone, but yet insist on bringing their children to a wedding. This mystifies me – get a sitter and enjoy yourselves – then you don’t have to worry about removing your child for acting up during the ceremony or the couple’s first dance. If you receive a wedding invite and it happens to mention your children by name on the envelope, they are officially invited, however, that does not mean the bride and groom want them there. Most couples feel obligated to invite them, but secretly, they really just want the adults there. Unless the child is an immediate family member of the bride and groom (like nieces and nephews – which I could not imagine my wedding without) or the bride and groom see them on a regular basis (my neighbors come to mind) leave them at home. Not only do the bride and groom have to pay for a meal for the child, but then there are additional tables (which mean additional centerpieces, place-settings, etc.) which drives the cost way up. I mean seriously – would you go take your kid to a restaurant where a meal for your child was going to cost a minimum of $50 - $100 – I doubt it – so don’t do it to the bride and groom)
I can tell how formal a wedding is and what to wear with one glance of an invitation - my fiance insists that most people do not have this gift - so here are some dressing tips: Of course you know not to wear white or jeans to a wedding – but make sure you dress appropriately – the key to what to wear to a wedding is in the invitation and location. If the invitation is a classic invite or one that looks like it required a good bit of assembly – cocktail attire is required – if it is at a church or a country club – cocktail attire is required. If it is black tie – then formal attire is required. If you had to RSVP on a website or were printed at home -a basic black dress will work, guys should always be in at least a suit – no exceptions.
Don’t Drink Too Much
This should be self-explanatory but worth repeating. You don’t want to be known as “that-girl” or “that-guy” at the after wedding brunch. This is especially true if there are co-workers present that will never let you live this down.
Grab the Bride’s Grandmother or the Groom’s Nephew and go to town – no one makes fun of someone dancing at weddings so it is the perfect time to let loose. You can even break out the robot or the sprinkler – people will get a kick out of it.
Don’t Be Late
Again – this is a no brainer – but seriously, it is disrespectful and annoying. If you are late because you got lost - don't make a spectacle of yourself. If you arrive at the ceremony and the men are standing up front - stand off to the side in the back until you can gracefully find a seat in the back.
Attend the Ceremony
I equate people that do not attend the ceremony but attend the reception to those that show up at the last minute of an event just to attend the after party. The ceremony when the couple is joined is the important and beautiful part – the reception is just a bonus.
Sure – people will register, and 99% of those people that register wish that they can return your gift for cash. I always think of my dear friend and her husband living in a 1 bedroom apartment trying to save for a house with a full set of fine china that cost thousands of dollars. Besides, gifts are a pain to get from the reception to the house – do yourself and the happy couple a favor - break out the checkbook. If you must buy a gift – get them something from their registry, not something you picked because you insist they will love it. There is a reason they did not register for that rooster cookie jar.