Welcome back to Thoughts & Musings!!
If you’re from the Midwest like we are, you know just how long Winter seemed to stick around, so now that the sun is shining more often than it isn’t, the birds are singing their tunes, and the days are getting longer (and warmer), we could not be more excited! All things Spring symbolize one major thing to us… THE START OF WEDDING SEASON!!
With the upcoming wedding season, we thought it would be appropriate to post a blog not about the Bride, or the Groom, or planning a wedding even, but about how to follow the proper etiquette as a wedding GUEST. It is an honor to be invited to be apart of arguably the most special day of someone’s life, and it’s only right to treat it as such.
If you have never been to a wedding before, or you need a refresher for the ones you have coming up this season, we put together a list of DO’s and DON’Ts when you are attending a wedding! Check them out below:
DO RSVP on time! Wedding invitations are typically sent out 6 to 8 weeks prior to the wedding, and it’s pretty standard that the Bride and Groom as that you RSVP 4 weeks before the wedding date. Why are timely RSVPs such a big deal? Vendors require a final head count a few weeks ahead of time to make sure there's enough seating and food available.
DON’T wait to RSVP or sneak in your response past the deadline,. If you do so, you are adding unnecessary stress to the Bride, the wedding planners, and the vendor by making several people scramble last-minute to accommodate you.
DON’T assume that you can bring a “plus one”. I’m sure you know that every penny counts when it comes to weddings, and trust us when we say that every couple goes through a painstaking process of deciding how many people they can (afford to) have at their wedding. If the invitation you receive does not say, "Ms. Jane Doe and Guest”, then it is intended that you are the only one invited to this celebration.
DON’T assume that kids are welcome. Since we are discussing proper etiquette here, let me give you a little insight: it is considered BAD etiquette for a Bride and Groom to send an invite that flat-out says “Adults Only Please”. Instead, the Bride and Groom will leave it up to (pretty clear) interpretation by the wording on the envelope. If the invitation is addressed to "The Doe Family" on the outside, or if the names of you and your children are listed individually on the inner envelope, you are free to roll with an entourage. If not, hire a babysitter and leave the little ones at home; let’s be honest, you love them, but you wanted a nice night out without them anyway ;)
DO make dietary restrictions known early! It is not uncommon, especially in this day and age, for people to have specific dietary needs/avoidance. Sometimes an RSVP card, in addition to listing meal options, will include a space for you to write in any allergies or food restrictions you might have. If the one you received doesn't, don’t fret! Just simply contact the Bride or Groom, and remind them of your severe nut allergy or gluten intolerance. With enough notice, it’s not a big deal for a caterer to arrange an alternative for you. So, what is a big deal? Demanding on the day of that your Alfredo be prepared sans cream and cheese.
DO respect the Bridal suite and the Groom’s room. The room where the Bride (and Groom) gets ready before the ceremony is often off-limits. Most of the time, there is a sign on the door requesting privacy or an usher nearby to keep the area clear, but even if there isn't, resist the urge to pop in for a quick hello. The newlyweds will be busy prepping for their aisle debut, and this is a moment that they will remember for a lifetime; don’t disturb it. Plus, you'll have their full attention after the ceremony to offer your congratulations.
DO arrive on time, and by on time, we mean EARLY. Making an entrance after the Bride is unacceptable behavior, so plan to be on the premises at least 30 minutes before the ceremony start time. We do, however, understand that sometimes life just gets in the way of your plans - heavy traffic, late babysitter, wardrobe malfunction (they do happen!) - and if that is the case, wait until the “I dos” are finished and the guests have left their seats to join the celebration.
DON’T ever interrupt a ceremony! This one is self-explanatory, I’d say.
DO NOT (this one is SO important that I had to separate the words) play paparazzi!!! Especially during the ceremony!! Just as your phone can be a major distraction to you throughout the day, it’s going to be doubly so for a Bride and Groom at their ceremony. The couple wants to look out and see your smiling faces—not the back of your phone or, even worse, your iPad—beaming back at them. Plus, they spend LOTS of money on a photographer (or three) to capture their candid, lovey-dovey, last-a-lifetime moments! Those moments DO NOT include your black and gold glittery phone case and cracked screens, I promise. Unless otherwise instructed, keep phones and all cameras out of sight until the reception.
DO look the part! This is a celebration and it is important to treat it like one, which not only includes your behavior, but your appearance too. Most often, guests know where the wedding ceremony and reception are taking place (which means that they can gauge the proper dress code): beach wedding? Flowy floral dress and strappy sandals. Catholic church ceremony? Modest, formal dresses with a low heel. If you don’t happen to know, just simply ask.
DON’T (for the ladies) wear white!! Even if the Bride chooses to wear ivory or champagne or a HOT PINK (yes, I’ve seen it) wedding dress, you are still NOT supposed to wear white to a wedding. Just respect the rule.
DO be a team player. Is there a coat check at the reception? Use it. Is everyone expected to join in on the first dance? Boogie on up (even if you really, really don’t want to). In accepting the couple's invitation, you're implying that you're down with whatever they throw your way. They've no doubt been dreaming of this day for a long time - your happiness and accommodating attitude will help make it just as wonderful as they imagined.
DO DO DO (again, this is an important one) drink responsibly!! Here's a friendly PSA: Drinking to ridiculous excess isn't just unbecoming, annoying, and distasteful, it's dangerous, especially if you haven't lined up a ride home beforehand. When the bride and groom provide an open bar, they're providing a courtesy. A great way to show gratitude: Pace yourself so you can continue to toast the happy couple well into the wee hours of the morn.
So there you have it, a list of DOs and DON’Ts as a wedding guest. Really, all you have to be is respectful, while enjoying the accommodations paid for by the Bride and Groom, to celebrate their beginning of forever. Now, put on your dancing shoes and bust a move! We’ll see you next time on Thoughts & Musings!