It’s the season of weddings and couples you have known for years are planning theirs. If you are anything like me, a romantic, you would be overwhelmed with all this love flowing through the air. It’s an excellent time for both the couples and the wedding guests to celebrate and cherish these weddings even more. The new year is going by just so fast and this seems like the perfect time to ramp up the mood for everyone.
However, being a guest is not as simple as one would like to assume. Understand that the couple respects you and wants you to be a part of their big celebration. It takes much more than just an excellent gift to become an ideal guest at a wedding of loved ones.
Here are 9 pointers on how to be the best guest at a wedding:
- RSVP promptly:
One of the biggest concerns of the couple is not getting RSVPs on time. This can be extremely frustrating for them as they need to plan for the seating and food etc. accordingly. It’s wise to inform the couple as soon as you are confirmed about your decision. You can choose to get a plus one if it’s specified in your invite. Make sure you mention your plus one’s name too.
- Don’t bring partners and children whose names aren’t mentioned in the invite:
There could be a particular reason why the couple hasn’t invited your new girlfriend or boyfriend. Nothing ruins a wedding as terribly as the shriek of an irritated toddler or the awkwardness of a guest. You can choose to politely call up the couple to ask if you could bring along your guest. However, understand that the couple is extremely busy and overwhelmed with a thousand tasks. And also be mentally prepared to be answered with a polite no.
- Be on time:
If the couple has arranged for a shuffle ride for their guests, it means they have gone an extra mile. As a guest, it’s your duty to do your bit now. Be on time for the ride, in fact be there before time. You don’t want a group of guests to be late because of you. Chances are the ride would leave you if you are late for it. Most weddings run on tight schedules. Unlike in previous days when family and friends would arrange the whole wedding, now couples plan the entire ceremony by themselves. It actually makes sense to stick to certain areas and outsource the rest. As a guest, you don’t want to be responsible for delaying the couple’s ceremony. My experience as a civil celebrant has taught me that time is extremely crucial in weddings today.
- Choose a gift wisely:
Check the couple’s registry first. You can also look at their wedding websites for these details. This will give you a better idea about their likes and dislikes. You may or may not be able to buy from what’s in the registry, but you can always stick to the type in the registry. For example, a vintage Chinese teacup set is something in the registry, then you can opt for a vintage flowerpot or a Japanese bowl set instead. And if it’s a large gift, send it via mail before or after the wedding. Remember, you are trying to lessen the couple’s burden as a good guest.
- Stick to the theme:
The couple have spent days planning their wedding day and the details around it. They must have chosen a unique wedding theme that tells their story and planned the rest of the settings like cake and flower accordingly. This is why it’s just wise to stick to the theme. Even if you don’t want to spend a fortune on buying new clothes, you can always rent or wear something that isn’t a complete contrast. Imagine wearing a Hawaiian shirt to an all-white wedding at an old church!
- Pick a side and stick to it:
It’s possible that you are friends with both sides. In situations like these decide on the side that looks scantier. Be willing to sit on either side to even out the sitting. Do not ask people to exchange seats with you, even at the dining area.
- Don’t be a spoilsport and participate:
You may or may not like the traditions the couple follows. It could be the bouquet toss or anything else, just go with the flow. Imagine if all the guests think the same, the bride would be standing all alone there with no one to catch the bouquet.
- Do not hoard or steal from the wedding:
This might seem a little embarrassing to be reading this but it’s the reality. It could be the cute centrepiece or even the flowers from the wedding, just don’t take them. You might just think that no one would notice, but believe us, it is noticed. The event company has a proper count of all the items and will charge for the missing items. The couple might have decided to do something special with the expensive flowers afterwards. You can also do your bit by stopping others from stealing things from the ceremony. If the hosts give you a centrepiece, make sure you take it only after the tables have been cleared.
- Try not to get overly drunk and be sure to apologize if you do:
The couple wants you to have fun at their wedding but not overdo the fun part where you lose your senses. Nobody has the time to attend to your drunken fantasies at a wedding. There’s already a lot of drama and the couple would appreciate it if you do not add to it. The couple has a lot to do even on the day of their wedding, don’t add more. And even if you do, make sure you convey your apologies in person along with a small gift or some flowers.
Bronte Price is Australia’s First Certified Civil Celebrant in Melbourne.
He stands strongly for marriage equality and takes immense pleasure in marrying any couples in love.
He has also co-founded The Equality Network to help wedding suppliers create a better wedding experience for LGBTI couples. He is a regular volunteer newsreader at Joy 94.9, and a member of GLOBE (Gay and Lesbian Organization for Business and Enterprise). Beyond this you will find him either in his organic backyard vegetable garden or taking walks with his fiancée Clint and their four-legged fur baby – Bingo.