Following up my earlier notes on advice for the engaged couple planning a wedding, here are some tips for those attending another’s wedding.
The Day Is All About The Newlyweds. When you’re at a wedding, it’s not about you; it’s about the couple getting married. Yes, you are supposed to have fun, but it’s not your day to announce or initiate a proposal. It’s not the time to reveal a pregnancy or other major life change that will diminish the celebration already in progress.
Bring Some Kind Of Gift. Even if money is tight, you can still get a card or write a heartfelt poem. You do not have to be extravagant, but leave some kind of keepsake for the newlyweds.
Don’t Interfere With The Photographers. Everyone wants to get pictures and videos of the first kiss and the first dance, etc. Odds are, so does the couple and they hired people to record them. Stay out of the way of the hired professionals and get your shots another way. Be wary of where you are.
Don’t Complain To The Newlyweds. If something isn’t right with the food or whatever, tell the wait staff. Don’t bother the couple with those details on the day of the wedding. If it’s a real mess-up, tell the Best Man or Maid/Matron of Honor who man influence any tips that may be paid that night.
Don’t Get Plastered. Many weddings have an open bar and some people take full advantage of it. You may think you’re hilarious whipping your tie around and hooting and hollering, but save that for hanging out at a bar or club. Don’t become the spectacle of the night. All the focus is supposed to be on the newlyweds.
Approach The Couple. It’s okay to walk over to the newlyweds to offer your congratulations. They may make the effort to work the room and come to you, but even still, you can usually pop over to have a quick moment.
Don’t Hog The Couple. At the same point, be wary of how much of the couple’s time you’re taking. They may have a lot of guests they’re looking to spend time with. At a wedding with 100 guests, if the couple spends two minutes with each person, that’s 200 minutes, which is nearly three-and-a-half hours. It doesn’t leave a lot of time for other things, like speeches and cake cutting, etc.
Make Appropriate Speeches/Toasts Only. If you’re an honored guest asked to give a speech or if you’re at a wedding where you’re allowed to make an impromptu toast, be respectful. This is never the time to make reference to any past romantic relationships of either newlywed. Tell a funny story, sure, but not the most embarrassing ones. Be honest but don’t make it your goal to expose the flaws of either person. This is the day to offer positive well-wishes and guidance to a healthy and happy marriage.
If The Newlyweds Ask You To Join Them, Do It. You may not like to dance, but if you’re asked to join the dance floor, you can sway back and forth for a few minutes. Make it look like you’re enjoying it, too. This isn’t the time to say you’re busy, head to the bar, and walk back double-fisted. It’s an insult to the couple. Dance first, then go finish what you were doing.
Dress Appropriately. Some weddings are casual beach weddings and there is a certain dress code for that. Other weddings are held in churches or catering halls or mansions. Whatever you’re wearing, it should be nice. Jeans and polos are typically not the attire for the wedding. If you’re not up for a suit, then go for khakis and a button-down shirt, even if it’s short sleeve.
Posting Photos Online. Most people now have phones with decent cameras. At a wedding, people are dressed up nicely and they take pictures of themselves looking fabulous. They post them on social media, often with the wedded couple’s hashtag. But more and more people seem to be posting only pictures of themselves at the wedding and not the newlyweds. You’re at the wedding to honor them, so post pictures of yourself, sure, but make sure you’re including some snaps of the newlyweds.
Send Your Photos To The Couple. Similarly, if you’ve taken some photos at a wedding, be sure to go that extra step and share them with the newlyweds. They may have professional photographers taking shots too, but every added photo of the day really means a lot. It fills in the moments the photographers miss and it allows the newlyweds to experience a little bit of the day through your eyes. It’s easy enough to dump all the photos into a folder, zip it, and email it. Or put them on a site like Dropbox in a folder and send the newlyweds a link to the folder. It’s never too late to share those photos, either.
Have Fun. The newlyweds are hoping you’re there to celebrate them and to have a good time, so go ahead and dance, tell jokes, be social, and have a good time. Don’t be too boisterous. Don’t drag people to the dance floor if they’ve declined your invitation. But otherwise, feel the joy and celebrate.