Tips for Wedding Guests
Weddings are awesome and getting invited to one is a huge honor. You get to eat amazing food, enjoy a few drinks, dance and have fun, catch up with old friends and meet some new ones. Everybody is dressed up and looking good and it’s a celebration of two people special in your life.
While weddings are fun, you have to remember though that it’s a gathering of a bunch of people from different backgrounds and ages and that you are a representation of the bride and groom. You were hand selected and made the cut because rarely does a couple invite everybody they know, budgets, seating capacity of the venue and various other things dictate how many can come and if you are lucky enough to be one of the chosen few… don’t make the bride and groom regret it, try to keep it classy.
As somebody that gets to go to weddings most every weekend, I am going to give you some suggestions as a wedding guests that should help you out.
First some suggestions for the Ceremony
Make sure you RSVP!
Hopefully the Bride and Groom used a service like Stress Free RSVP (shameless plug… but it’s true… stressfreersvp.com) Regardless of how they are handling RSVP’s… make sure you do. The amount of money being spent on food is the majority of the expense and if you RSVP yes and then don’t show… you should send them a check for the food they wasted… or even worse… don’t RSVP and then show up anyways and they didn’t plan for you. If you aren’t sure you can attend… have a conversation with the Bride and Groom and tell them the circumstances and come up with a plan of how you will let them know but give them as much notice as possible. And only RSVP for what they send you … if you aren’t offered a plus one… don’t add one… if they say no kids… then don’t ask if you can bring yours… (A whole blog about that Here). RSVP’s are super important… just remember if you say yes… you better show up because they could have given your seat to somebody else that would have showed up and not wasted that money.
Be on Time!
For the ceremony a general rule is be there at least a half an hour early to find your seat and be ready for things to happen. FAR too often I see a wedding ceremony delayed because the bride is waiting for so and so to show up and doesn’t want to start without them. I get it stuff happens but do your best to be on time, the last person to enter the ceremony has to be the bride… so if you are late… you missed it…don’t try to sneak in the back because unless you are a magician that can make yourself just appear in your seat… your ninja skills to sneak in aren’t nearly what you think they are and you are going to be a disruption.
Put your phone away!
During the ceremony especially…. The bride and groom have spent a small fortune for somebody to be dedicated to capturing pictures of the ceremony… The bride walking down the aisle… the grooms reaction…them standing at the alter… saying I do… all of it… they have it covered… while it’s a nice gesture for you to try to capture that moment for them… and I know your IPhone 32 takes amazing pictures… they aren’t going to be as nice as the one the professional photographer takes… unless your head is the middle of it when you get in their way…. Enjoy the ceremony in “High Def” by watching it live… not through your screen… just make sure your ringer is off before put it away.
Once the Reception starts that’s another story but still be mindful of the professional trying to get pictures and don’t get in their way.
Suggestions for the Reception
Keep it Classy
Just because there is an open bar… doesn’t mean you have a green light to get drunk… loosen up, have a good time… but stay in control. Like I said above… you are a representative of the bride and groom… don’t be the person that others say… “Why in the world did they invite them”? It’s a long night of partying, pace yourself and make sure you can get home safely at the end of the night.
There are activities that are planned either by the Bride and Groom or the DJ… or sometimes in coordination with each other that need your participation and by RSVP’ing yes… you are saying that you will play along… Check your “pride” or “embarrassment” at the door… get on the dance floor and shake your hips a little bit… trust me when I say… you are far LESS the center of attention when you join in then if you sit there with your arms folded in defiance saying “no”. They’ve been dreaming of this day for a long time, and your accommodating attitude will help make it just as awesome as they hoped it would be.
If the bride and groom wanted you to give a speech, they would have asked you. When the best man is done … that is not your cue to say a few words too… the middle of the night when you have had a few too many is certainly not the time either… If you think you would like to toast the bride and groom… check with them first and they will either say no… or schedule it with the other toasts but honestly, stick with the idea that if they didn’t ask, they probably don’t want it… toasts and speeches take up a fair amount of time, no need to drag it out farther. If there is something super special you want to say to them… write it in their card.
Follow the schedule
You might not know what the schedule is… but coming up to the DJ before dinner and telling him to “kick it up” or “get this party started”… isn’t going to work… There is plenty of time for dancing… it just typically starts after the first dance… (Get it? Nobody dances before them… it’s their first dance as husband and wife… but it’s also the first dance of the night) usually the wedding party knows what’s up … follow their lead.
Don’t wear white!
It should go without saying… but really… it’s the brides day… pick a different color. (probably should make sure you aren’t wearing the same color as the bridesmaids too)
Don’t feed the bride and groom shots.
You are not the only person that will be doing this, so be mindful of the bride and groom… They don’t want to offend you and in the party atmosphere it’s going to be easy for them to lose track of how much alcohol they have had and it will catch up quick. This is the best day of their life… make sure they aren’t getting sick, and/or are going to remember the night.
It’s not Karaoke
I don’t care how much you LOVE the song… or how great of a singer you are…. It’s not open mic night so leave the singing of the song to the artist performing it. Unless it’s something scheduled into the night because the couple asked to you do it ahead of time… there is a reason they didn’t. Even if you are a world class singer, the minute you sing along to a song on the microphone, that gives a green light to the William Hung’s of the world to come up too and it’s just not worth it. (if you don’t know who that is… look him up on YouTube… yes that is what you sound like)
When the night is over Leave.
A lot of venues have extra fees for extra time not to mention the DJ will charge more too… and don’t “pass the hat” to try to buy more time… often, at least in my experience, as the DJ I have talked to the bride and groom and they are ready to end things… they have been up since early that morning… after being up really late the night before and still have a lot to do before they can call it a night… you forcing their hand by begging for extra hours, or paying for it and then they feel obligated isn’t cool. Odds are good, when the DJ says it’s time to go… it’s because the bride and groom are ready to go.
Don’t Criticize things
If you have been a bride (or a husband of one) who has planned a wedding, you know how time and consideration goes into every detail… Not married yet…You’ll see… If you don’t like the decorations… who cares keep it to yourself…The bride likes them and that is all that matters. If you don’t like the food… deal with it, it was free for you… complain about it after you leave. I have DJ’ed weddings where the food was HORRIBLE…. I am talking… BAD… and the guests were right in their complaints… Didn’t taste good, was cold, small servings, ran out of food etc…. but what they were wrong about was bringing it to the attention of the bride or groom at the wedding. Tell them the next day when they might actually be able to do something about it…. The caterer can’t do much, if anything, to fix it then… and all you are doing is starting the reception off on a negative vibe because eating is normally the first order of business. The bride and groom don’t need to deal with that stuff and feel bad because their guests were unhappy with the food because all it will do is take away from the rest of the night. Telling them in the next day or two gives them ammunition to take to the caterer and ask for refunds or some sort of compensation… complaining during the reception though isn’t going to accomplish anything so just don’t.
Don’t think you know what the Bride and Groom want.
As a professional DJ… I can only speak about what I do…. But before the wedding I sit down with them and go over every detail of the reception, I know what games they want to play, I know what activities they don’t… I know what kind of music they want me to focus on and what to stay away from… So when you come up to me and say… “When are we doing the dollar dance?”… and I say we aren’t, the bride and groom don’t want to… that isn’t your cue to take over and approach them and tell them that they “just have to” do the dollar dance… or… try to organize it yourself then it becomes awkward
Hopefully this gives you a few things to think about and will make you the ideal wedding guest! Don’t forget to check out the rest of my blogs for wedding planning tips… Hope to see you at a wedding real soon.