As the East Coast gears up for our annual two weeks of Spring before the scalding Summer temperatures begin, our thoughts turn to weddings. Specifically, the 10 invites sitting on our desk, waiting to be dealt with. Since most of us will be a wedding guest at least once this season, here are some tips on being the kind of friend who’s invited back for the first anniversary party too.
Nothing ticks a bride off more than having to hunt down potential invites to find out whether she needs prime rib or chicken for 30 or 300. As soon as you get the invite, fill out the enclosed card and mail it back. Mark it down in all of your calendars and plan accordingly.
Whether clueless or pushy, brides frown on guests who add-on plus-ones unbidden. The average wedding costs about $100 or so per guest, so if everyone did it, the budget would skyrocket. Unless your invite specifically says “and guest,” plan on flying solo. If attending alone is too daunting for you, just send your regrets. But do not tell the couple that’s why you can’t make it, because that’s kind of manipulative. And if you’re single, please rethink. Weddings are a great place to meet men. After all, you’re wearing a beautiful red carpet dress—why waste the pretty?
Is it a formal event, where you’ll need to buy (or borrow) an evening gown? Or will a sassy cocktail dress do the trick? If you’re unsure which it is, ask some of the other guests what they’ll be wearing. Despite what the fashion mags can lead you to believe, it is possible to wear the same formal dress more than once. Just whatever you do, don’t try to out-do the bride and do not wear white!
Stick to the registry
While it may seem kind of perfunctory to shop a couple’s Wedding Channel registry, they’ve gone through the trouble of picking out things they really want and need. Unless you’re seriously close to the couple—like sister-level close—the nicest thing you could do is help them start their new life together the way they’d planned. In other words, resist the giant crystal owl!
Whether you’re there with a date or on your own, talk to everyone. Introduce yourself to the groom’s parents, ask his 9-year-old nephew to dance, share makeup tips with the bride’s awkward cousin (if she asks) and do your best to make everyone else comfortable. Even if you’re shy by nature, try to shed your wallflower image for one day. The couple will be grateful to have one less guest to worry about and it’ll free up some time for them to separate the warring great uncles at table seven.
Moderation is your friend
An open bar can be tempting and that champagne punch goes down so easy! But unless you want to gasp in cross-eyed horror when the wedding photos are posted, practice some moderation.
If you can’t say anything nice. . .
. . . zip your lip. So what if the chicken is dry or the best man just told an offensive joke. Tell the best man to shut it and eat the sides instead of the main course. Whatever you do, though, don’t take your complaints to the bride or groom. This is a day they’ve been planning for possibly more than a year and they have a lot invested in the whole thing being perfect. Do what you can to help them keep that positive frame of mind. It may be the best wedding gift of all.
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