Okay, disclaimer: This is not a post meant to pick on our wedding guests. On the contrary, as I planned and actually experienced my own wedding, I realized just where I strayed as a guest for weddings of friends. Thus, I'd like to present this list as more of a list of admissions of my own faulty naivety from my pre-wedding days and an occasional "I'm sorry" to those friends who still included me in their big day even if I was a yutz.
With that out of the way, I present to you:
A Wedding Guest's 6 Steps to Being an Awesome Guest.
1. R.S.V.P. On time.
This is my biggest ever "I'm sorry" to any and all of my friends who invited me to their wedding. Here's the thing - the time you send out invitations is roughly the same timeframe when you realize you are officially in your downhill bum-rush to the big day. A lot of things have to come together in that time, and you as the bride / groom are responsible for making sure that all happens.
Except that roughly 95% of everything you have left to solidify in your plans depends on how many people, and who plan on coming. How much food to order, how much cake. How many people working the bar, how well the bar should be stocked, how many tables you'll need, how big the dance floor should be and how the tables are spaced. And then of course there is the very delicate procedure of crafting seating assignments. I can't folks. I can't even. That was horrible.
I hated this board. And not just hate. Like, seething hate.
It's mind blowing. And with all that swimming in your head, even if it is your dearest friend in the world or someone that is standing up in your wedding (*cough*In hindsight I'm so incredibly sorry you know who you are *cough*), it is infinitely less complicated if you have that little slip of paper in your hand that says "check! I'm coming!" than to assume someone will be there or to try and keep straight how many people would just randomly approach you in a "non-wedding planning moment" and say "Oh yeah I'm coming bringing a guest, I'd like the chicken, he'll have the fish."
I would also throw out there that if things change, that's okay - a rational couple understands that things happen and they really aren't the center of the universe. But - if it's more than a week or so before the wedding, a quick phone call is helpful to make sure there aren't big empty spaces at tables, or to correct food counts (holy expensive catering batman!).
If it's closer to the wedding than a week, you might just be adding stress to the pile as the couple suddenly believes they must reprint seating charts and rearrange tables with no time left to do such. I don't know what Ann Landers would say about that, but I can tell you from experience that by the Monday leading up to the wedding for my own mental sanity I needed to be 100% DONE with the seating and RSVP business. If you suddenly changed your mind about coming to our wedding, I didn't want to know. When the Mister suggested anything to the contrary I admittedly got rather ugly.
How were you with R.S.V.P.'s to your wedding?
Would you have rather known or not known if a guest had to change their plans last minute?
2. TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONE.
Are you a doctor or other crisis personnel on emergency call? Please sit in the back with the phone on vibrate. Otherwise I think it goes without saying that you are a giant butt-hole for being so rude as to think your phone call takes precedence over the oncce-in-a-lifetime marriage ceremony going on right in front of your face. Unplug for a second. They can leave a message, I promise. (And thank you to every one of our guests for being awesome at this.)
What you can't see in this picture is that I got the tissue I'm using from my Maid of honor in a well orchestrated move where I put my hand behind me, and she pulled a tissue out of her bra to hand to me. You can't pretend that isn't more interesting/ funny than whatever your phone or text is about.
3. Ladies - Don't Wear White.
4. Did the Bride change her name? CALL HER MRS. ____ (insert new last name here). Immediately.
I can't properly describe to you the feeling I got when we walked back up the aisle and the Mister turned to me and said "well, Mrs. McDermott, we're married." Like super-charged awesome goosebumps. And for the rest of the night every time someone called me Mrs. McDermott I got them again. We even received a few wedding gifts that were pieces to hang in our home which labeled us "The McDermotts," and I got just as giddy.
Use the bride's new name, you'll make the evening that much cooler, because what she's dreamed for a year or so becomes that much more real then.
Did you change your name? Was it awesome for you as well?
Did you keep your name? What little things made it that much more real for you?
5. Let the Bride and Groom fully experience their day.
This is kind of a two-fer. First, give them the space to have a few moments to themselves (namely, let them eat dinner, haha.), if you see them talking to each other alone, those are some of the sweetest nothings they're probably ever uttered to each other (or they're laughing at how Uncle Ernie was cutting a rug to "Love Shack" on the dance floor, but either way that's their conversation).
Second, when you talk to them, focus on the new marriage, not when they move on to their next big step. Marriage in itself is a big step! I've had friends who spent their entire wedding reception answering "So when are you having kids?" Even if they're super geeked to become parents in the future, that's not the evening for that conversation. I promise.
6. HAVE FUN!
The couple just spent their entire engagement planning an epic party. The last thing they want to imagine is that someone did not enjoy themselves. Dance, chat with other guests, check out the photo booth, sign the guest book, enjoy yourself. Please. You got all gussied up, you might as well take advantage of the evening, right?
What was the most fun you ever had at a wedding?
Are you married? Did I miss a rule? Tell me in the comments!