Wedding season is upon us and that means you're probably attending a wedding or two. Here are the details you need to know before you become "that guest."
Let's just rip this band-aid right off, shall we? This section will cover all of the important people involved in a wedding and where you fall into the mix.
WHO IS INVITED
Though some might think an invitation is a clear indication of who is invited to a wedding, sometimes people need a little clarification. On your invitation envelope, it should clearly state who is invited to the wedding. Meaning, if you only see your name, you are the only one invited; so don't assume that you're getting a plus one.
WHO YOU KNOW
This only really matters for where you sit during the ceremony. Typically, the bride is on the left side of the altar and her family and friends sit on the left with her, the groom's side on the right. Per The Knot's link, in Jewish ceremonies, it is the opposite. Sometimes it's a free-for-all and you can sit wherever you'd like.
WHO TO TEXT
Questions on the big day? First, refer to any previous text conversations, Facebook messages, invites, save the dates, wedding websites and any other miscellaneous corresponding reading material that was sent before you even think about reaching out to the bridal party on the wedding day. But, everything is so mysterious and I have all the questions?! Okay, you may start to reach out to non-family or closer friends of the bride or groom who may have these answers. Then you can start reaching out to members of the bridal party. DO NOT under any circumstances [other than an emergency directly impacting the bride or groom] contact the bride or groom.
WHAT ARE YOU CELEBRATING
I'm going to take this time to remind you that this is a wedding. This is not a: frat party, sorority mixer, your house, your big day, a place to take your clothes off, the time to get sloppy, and the list goes on...
WHAT TO GIVE
Two words: Registries (or) Cash. This isn't the time to showcase your gift giving abilities. The couple has most likely registered for items that they actually want and if they didn't or if everything affordable has been purchased, just give them cash. "But it's not personal, blah, blah." No, stop that! No one has a problem with receiving cash as a gift and if they do, give me the cash, I don't have a problem receiving cash as a gift.
The mother freaking dress code. Most times the dress code will be called out on the couple's wedding website or invitation. If not, here are some guidelines you can follow.
DON'T WEAR WHITE. DON'T WEAR WHITE. DON'T WEAR WHITE. DON'T WEAR WHITE.
I'm not even going to explain this one. Maybe you have a pale pink dress or light yellow dress that in dark lighting looks white. If it were me, I wouldn't even risk it. Every single wedding I have ever been to (except my own, thank the lawwddd) had someone wearing a white dress other than the bride. There should be one white dress- and if the bride decided not to wear a white dress? There should be 0 white dresses, capiche? On that note, maybe avoid things like: blush, cream, off-white, champagne, ivory, eggshell. I would google "types of white," and avoid all colors under that category. You're welcome.
I won't sit here and outline all of the dress code types there are for weddings, there are plenty of helpful links out there that break those down. I will, however, tell you what not to wear to weddings (see above). Dress codes are important to weddings, if they weren't the bride and groom wouldn't waste the time or paper to print it on their invitations. If you're unsure of how to dress there are a few things you can always count on:
- Time of Day: The time can change the formality of an event or at least how warm or cold you're going to be while you wear your outfit. If you're worried about being warm or cold, bring appropriate layers knowing there may or may not be a coat check to place your belongings.
- Overdress: It's better to be "too dressed up," than "too casual."
- You should never wear: jeans, a baseball hat, polos (some disagree).
- Showing skin: You're not a WWE Diva so don't dress like one. Seriously, if we can tell you're not wearing underwear because of how high or low your dress is, it's not appropriate for a wedding... or most social situations for that matter. If you must flaunt what you have, choose one of your assets appropriately and ask yourself if you'd want your boss to see you in this dress and decide if you're in the market for a new career, know what I mean?
In life, timing is key. In weddings, timing is (dramatic pause) also key.
WHEN TO HAVE YOUR PHONE OUT
I realize that its 2017 and its just so difficult to pull your head out of technology's ass and enjoy the moment, but you should make a diligent effort to be physically and mentally present at any wedding you attend. Even if the couple doesn't have an adorable "put your GD cellphone away" sign at their ceremony, you shouldn't be so ignorant as to have yours out. Don't worry about your followers, they're going to be okay not knowing what the bride looked like on her way down the aisle. They can wait 4-6 weeks for the professional photographer's photos.
WHEN TO ARRIVE
For my wedding, I made the time on the invites (4:30) before the actual time of the wedding (5), to ensure guests would arrive on time and people were still late (after 5). So, I would recommend planning to arrive at least 30 minutes before the time on the invitation.
WHEN TO GIVE YOUR GIFT
If you are giving cash, just bring the envelope with you and put it in the card box or gift table once you get into the reception space. If your gift is large, you could bring it (and run the risk of having to sit with it and walk it around the venue) or you could always mail it before or after the wedding. You technically have 1 year to send a gift after the date of the nuptials.
HOW NOT TO ACT IN A PHOTO BOOTH
Photo booths are supposed to be a fun alternative to a guest book. The couple will be keeping this treasured memory for a very long time, if not the duration of the rest of their lives. This book may sit on their coffee table for everyone to see; grandmother-in-laws, bosses, fathers, nieces, and nephews.... Not only will people be seeing the debauchery that is this guest book, but some of them had to endure these photo sessions in person. Keeping in mind that children and elderly may see your partial nudity, you may also want to limit the number of times you visit the booth. Again, I'm not here to be a buzz kill, I'm just letting you know that you aren't the only one enjoying (or not enjoying) these photos.
HOW NOT TO ACT WHEN ITS AN OPEN BAR
Everyone's favorite part about weddings, the open bar. Most of you are adults or have been drinking illegally for many years and should know how to pace yourself. The time for you to shotgun beers and bong champagne is at the bachelor and bachelorette parties- meaning, this is not the time to engage in over-drinking. Should you throw some back so you can show off your dance moves? Absolutely. Should you grab the champagne glasses from the table that will clearly go to waste when a guest doesn't show up? Bottoms up. Should you order a 5th of alcohol from an app to be delivered at the wedding? Probably not. The bride and groom have made alcohol selections (not only based on budget) because they don't want their guests to get belligerent. This may come as a shock to some, but most people want to have happy memories from their wedding day and don't want to remember their guests to making fools of themselves or offending any other guests.
While this might just be a party for you, this is the most important day of someone's life and you should be respectful of that. You were invited to this wedding to celebrate the couple, their love, and their happiness. They have probably spent thousands of dollars to make this day as perfect as possible... And if none of that makes you want to reconsider binge drinking or your outfit choice, just remember they most likely hired a professional photographer to capture all the blackmail content, too.