This weekend I will attending my fifth wedding this year, including my own. There’s comes a period in everybody’s life where you begin to identify heavily with Four Weddings and a Funeral. Never with noxious Andie MacDowell (‘Is it raining? I hadn’t noticed.’ Aargh).
Obviously if I had to choose it would be Scarlett 🙂 Barely have you shaken the confetti out of your best frock when you’re off to another church/hotel/country house/barn/marquee/yurt wedding (delete as appropriate. So far I have never been to a wedding in a yurt but I am ready!) This week I’ve been thinking about what makes the perfect wedding guest. It seems like everybody knows the basics, don’t wear white, but beyond that wedding etiquette gets a little murky. I’ve made so many mistakes that I’m barely qualified to write this blog post. But I’m hoping that by confessing my shortcomings I’ll save other people from following in my footsteps as the worst wedding guest ever.
RSVP, in writing
I’m sure I RSVP’ed in person to the many weddings I have been invited to in the past. I mean I think I did. I really hope I didn’t just assume that the bride would know via telepathy I was coming. But I am not certain, a fact that now makes me cringe in mortification. I’m not a stickler, I don’t think you have to necessarily write a letter of acceptance or decline, text or email are fine. But you do and should reply in writing not just verbally so the bride can double-check acceptances. Don’t be a dick like me.
Don’t ask for one little favour
When my best friend was deep in wedding hell, she said the worst thing was how many people would ask for a favour. You see the thing they fail to realise, she said, is that if I accommodated all the favours I would have to tweak things for 80 different people. I listened, sympathised and then at the next wedding I went to proceeded to do exactly what she had warned me about. I asked the bride if she do me a little favour and move me to a different table a day or two before the wedding (I told you, I’m the worst.) So sit where you are put and don’t ask for favours.
Weddings are long, particularly church weddings. And the likelihood is even if everything does run on time with a 2pm start you won’t sit down to eat til after 4.30pm. Which is a long ass time between breakfast and the wedding breakfast. Don’t get me started on the term wedding breakfast. If it doesn’t include breakfast food it’s not breakfast. If like me you get hangry (angry when hungry), carry snacks in your handbag. Because I become a total grouch bag if I’m uncomfortable in any way I even have a mini wedding kit which includes snacks, painkillers, a plaster and some flip-flops if I am wearing heels. If this makes me sound ancient, it’s because inside the nubile (heh), 30-year old form is a ninety year old woman struggling to get out.
Arrive on time
You know that time it says on the invite? That’s when the bride arrives. Even though it took me four weddings to work this out, due to my pathological deep-seated fear of being late I always arrived ‘early’ and then was surprised to see everybody else there. A surprising number of people don’t know this. At one wedding I went to the bride had to pause for a friend to sheepishly slink down the aisle, clamber over people to his seat before the wedding could start.
Check your invite
At our wedding not one but two people didn’t check their invites and arrived for the day when they were only invited to the evening. The first was extremely mortified and lovely, helping out my mother-in-law and guarding the sweetie table from toddlers high on E numbers. The other, despite having the right invite (evening), and HWSNBN confirming with him by email and by text that he should come at 7pm showed up to the day. ‘What so and so doing here?’ I thought worriedly as I saw him after the ceremony but was soon distracted by other guests. It wasn’t until everybody was being seated for dinner and my new brother in law emerged in flap. ‘There wasn’t a space for X.’ Sadly uninvited guest happened to share the same name as one of my cousins. I started to freak out, how could I have forgotten to include my cousin on the table plan? WORST RELATIVE EVER. Then the uninvited guest walked out: ‘You forget to set a seat for me.’ At which point I had to tell him that the reason there was no place for him was because he wasn’t invited to the day. He checked his invite, realised he had got it wrong. AWKWARD. And a whole lot of stress I didn’t need. Don’t be That Guy, check your invite.
Send a card
Look here’s the thing, weddings are expensive: for the bride and groom, their families and also their guests. As a guest not only do you have to pay for accommodation, if it’s out of town; drinks; possibly a new outfit and then there’s the present. So presents are optional, dependent on what you can afford, but cards are not. At most a card costs a pound. You can afford a pound. The day after our wedding it was wonderful to open all the cards and read all the lovely messages people had written. They are still sitting on our sideboard a visible reminder of everybody we love. I know that in the years to come I will read through our cards over and over again. Words matter. Use them.
Before I planned my own wedding, I didn’t quite understand what a huge timesuck all those major and minor details are. That as a bride, you are expected to have an opinion on everything from the dress to the napkins. Even more of a surprise was how ridiculously expensive everything was – like sell a kidney expensive. I’ve overheard friends who have been really hurt when they’ve ‘only’ been invited to the evening do. Get this: a wedding invite or lack thereof is not a referendum on how much you are loved or your relationship it might just reflect the capacity of the venue capacity and couples budget and/or preferences. Now when I am invited I know what it means: that my name survived twenty rounds of guest list wrangling because the couple wanted me there to witness one of the biggest moments of their life. I look at all the little details and know how much thought when in to everything I see. I understand.
There’s been a lot of posts recently on wedding blogs about brides freaking out about unflattering photos of their wedding on facebook. Although always check before sharing on social media sites as some people might for a variety of reasons limit the information they share online. Getting married is a really odd experience: you spent the whole day being photographed and then you have to wait almost a month, sometimes more, to see the results. I loved it the next morning when my cousin showed me a picture of our wedding that had been posted to facebook on her phone because I knew for sure that there was one photo of me not gurning with spinach in my teeth. I love all the photos of our wedding even the ones of me gurning with spinach in my teeth:) In fact, some of my favourite shots of the day are the ones taken by friends on camera phones as they show a different side to our wedding. Less polished, more real. Maybe, I just have really talented friends. But if you get a chance take photos.
Have fun, but not too much fun
At one wedding HWSNBN and I were on a table of very lovely designated drivers, pregnant ladies and one other drinker. Which is how at 6pm I ended up swigging from a bottle while drunk-crying to the speeches. Oh the shame. ‘Why are you crying?’ HWSNBN asked warily. ‘Be-cause… it’s just so moo-ving.’ I sobbed. I told you guys I am the worst wedding guest ever.
This is not the most shameful drunk wedding story I have. One of my closest friends who shall rename nameless got incredibly drunk at a mutual friend’s wedding. He called everybody lesbians including the bride and her very staid mother-in-law, had to be physically restrained from joining in the first dance, then passed out in reception where he was carried to a room we had to rent for him, where he threw up over himself. Legendary. But for your own sake, maybe alternate wine and glasses of water. Your head will thank you the next day.
Any bad wedding guest confessions please leave them in the comment box. Til next time reprobates x
P.S: Liked this post? Fancy sponsoring me to plummet to my doom? I’ll love you forever… if forever means til the end of the next month where I die horribly 🙂