If you follow me on social media (@shannythegranny on Instagram + Twitter…but I’m really bad at Twitter), you probably noticed that I spent three weekends in a row last month attending weddings. Oddly enough, I don’t have another one until October…unless someone is as crazy as I am and decides to plan a wedding in 3-4 months. But I think I’m the top of the Crazy List among my friends, so I don’t see that happening.
Also, kudos to me (similar to my favorite cheers, which is “cheers to ME”…don’t worry, it’s a joke) for singing Ave Maria in a Catholic church without messing up the Latin or knocking over the statue of the Virgin Mary. #nailedit
Being a good wedding guest is an art. Coming from someone who has been a bridesmaid in 6 weddings, singer in too many to count (an honor every time, though!), and guest at 1.576 million (also an honor every time), I have gained some solid experience as a wedding attendee. And getting married, myself, only opened my eyes even more to the responsibilities that come with being invited to a wedding.
Here’s what you need to know if you want to be a really good wedding guest:
1. RSVP quickly
I was a terrible RSVPer until recent years, and shudder at how rude and terrible that was towards all of the brides who had to follow up with me. It takes two seconds to choose chicken or steak, seal an envelope, and put it in the mailbox. The 30 seconds it takes you to do that saves the bride and groom roughly 5 years of their lives from the side effects of stress. The sooner they can get a final headcount, the sooner they can start making a seating chart and stop worrying about maxing out their venue.
While we’re on the subject of RSVPs, do not invite whoever you want to come with you. The invitation is addressed to the people who are invited…and that’s the end of that. Remember– each and every person costs the bride/groom lots of $$$$.
2. Take the ceremony seriously
This may come as a shock, but the main point of a wedding is not to get drunk for free. When two people tie the knot, they’re inviting you to be a witness to this lifelong promise. The bridal party isn’t the only group of people “in” the wedding. All guests are part of the wedding, because witnesses are a literal requirement for a marriage to be legitimate. You have a job, and that is to listen carefully to their vows, and be the kind of friend who reminds them of those promises when they’re having a tough time loving their spouse after kids, money issues, and inevitable difficulties of life bog them down. Besides, do you really want to be the person who gets caught texting during the ceremony on the wedding video?
Speaking of texting, don’t be lame and sit on your phones during the reception. You are here to CELEBRATE the bride and groom! So celebrate! Your energy is crucial in making this the best day of the couple’s life.
4. Do not complain
I don’t care how cold you are, how much you dislike the bridesmaid dresses, how awkward the DJ is, how dry the chicken is, or how badly you wished it was an open bar. This day is not about you. The bride and groom have worked hard (and spent hard) to make this day as perfect as they could manage, and I promise you that they’ll be incredibly hurt or upset if you make even the smallest negative comment. I learned that the stress of being a bride really comes from wanting your guests to be happy, so keep any and all complaints to yourself!
5. Thank the parents
I always attempt to introduce myself to the parents to congratulate them, and thank them for putting together such a fun evening. Even if they didn’t pay for things, parents are having an extremely emotional (usually good-emotional) evening as they watch their child start a new family. If the parents didn’t exist, neither would the couple, and neither would your free dinner. So introduce yourself (briefly), thank them, and tell them how thrilled you are for their child. Trust me, parents will never get tired of hearing how happy other people are for their little grown-up bundles!
Now you’re all set for wedding season! Hope you’ve been saving up for all those wedding gifts! And congrats to all the happy couples tying the knot over the next few months!