Love is in the air...and wedding season has begun!
The invitations are mailed, the single invitees start searching their contacts for the best potential plus one, and everyone wants to know if there will be an open bar.
But there's so much more to attending a wedding than getting dressed up and spending the evening partying and snapping photos with the newlyweds.
So here's what Soirée has to say about being a good wedding guest.
BEFORE THE WEDDING
Getting An Invitation
When receiving an invitation to a wedding, try not to let it end up among the many pieces of junk mail or in the stack of bills that are almost due. While many couples are now choosing to do electronic invitations, there are still a good number of couples who choose to mail invitations out their potential guests. Remember, many mailed invitations are custom made, so PLEASE open the invitation and take a moment to admire the ribbons, jewels, glitter and other lovely details that the couple spent their pretty pennies on, just for you. :-)
Now that you've admired and read the invitation, it's time to check your schedule and decide if you will be in attendance. The bottom-line is that the couple needs a final count of their expected guests well in advance in order properly plan the wedding. So here are a few tips to consider when responding to your couple's invitation:
If there is a pre-printed response card, fill in the blanks with the required information and feel free to add a small note Congratulating the couple.
If the invitation you receive does not come with a pre-printed response card and a preferred RSVP method is not indicated, feel free to contact the couple via phone or mail your response to them on a nice piece of stationary. When choosing the latter, try to mirror the formal language of the original invitation that was sent to you.
Please DO NOT assume or ask if you can bring a guest. The couple decides who is/isn't invited to their wedding and they will indicate if a guest is welcomed on the envelope addressed to you "and guest" and/or on the response card.
If you accept the invitation and then realize that you wont be able to attend, please notify the host. as soon as possible Yes, emergencies happen; However, if you know in advance that you cannot attend, again...please notify the host. Don't just not show up.
If you receive an invitation but don't RSVP with your intentions to attend, don't assume that the invitation is still open. If you forgot to respond, please call the host to see if your late reply will be accepted.
Respond regardless of whether you will be accepting or declining the invitation. Remember, the couple needs a final count prior to their wedding day.
Getting an Announcement
Don't get offended! Getting an announcement does not necessarily mean that you will not be invited to the wedding. This could be the couple's way of saying "save the date! more details are coming later!"
However, if an invitation does not follow the announcement... still, don't get offended! Receiving an announcement means that the couple still wants you to know about their big day, but they are not able to invite you to their ceremony.
** Please do not use this as your opportunity to call/text/email/DM the couple expressing your dissatisfaction with their decision. You don't know their reason for not inviting you, nor are they obligated to discuss this information with you.
While it is a nice gesture, do not feel obligated to give the couple a gift if you are not formally invited to the wedding. However, still feel free to offer the couple a sincere congratulations on their big day.
If you have accepted the wedding invitation, always plan on getting the couple a gift. It's also a nice gesture to still send a gift or token of congratulations even if you cannot be in attendance.
Now... Everyone wants to know, "Well what should I get them???"
Here's the answer folks, many couples today have set-up wedding websites and registries for your convenience and their's so.... USE THE REGISTRY!! Normally registry information can be found on an insert in the invitation or on the couple's website, so please eliminate the stress for you and the couple and peruse their registry sites for gift options instead of directly contacting them to get gift ideas. See! Gifting made easy!
**Of course, you don' t HAVE to get your gift from the registry, but this option ensures that you wont have to spend hours searching for a gift that may end up sitting in the couple's garage collecting dust.
Once you've finally decided on the perfect gift, plan to send the gift to the couple address, unless the couple requests that you bring the gift to the wedding reception. This option saves you from having to carry a gift box or bag with you to the ceremony and reception and it also relieves the host of the responsibility of managing an gift table; making sure cards stay attached to the correct gifts and nothing gets misplaced.
Monetary gifts should always be mailed to the couple...because who wants to take the risk of their check or gift card being misplaced or accidentally left at the venue??
Gifting Rule of Thumb: You generally have up to a year to get the couple a gift, but we all know how many things can transpire in 365 days. So to avoid forgetting to get the couple a gift after the wedding or encountering any other mishaps that may occur causing you to not be able to give your congratulatory token... start shopping as soon as you decide that you will be in attendance and plan to purchase the gift before the date of the wedding.
THE DAY OF THE WEDDING
What to Wear
The day has finally arrived! You've successfully RSVP'd and your gift is on it's way to the couple's humble abode. Now all that's left for you to do is decide what to wear and how many glasses of the couple's "signature drink" you're going to consume during the open bar hour!
When deciding what to wear to a wedding, always consider the season and the time of day that the wedding is being held.
Women: If the wedding you're attending is being held in the warmer months during the day, feel free to wear a nice floral or pastel colored dress or suit. Darker colored cocktail dresses are appropriate for more formal evening weddings.
Men: Your options are pretty simple; A light colored suit or shirt and tie is appropriate for a daytime wedding and a darker colored suit is appropriate for evening weddings. Tuxedos are also appropriate for super formal black-tie weddings.
Wedding Attire Tips:
DO NOT....I repeat.... DO NOT show up to a wedding trying to out dress the bride and groom. IT'S THEIR DAY! Ladies, do not show up in a white dress, no matter how simple, unless requested by the couple.
Consider the wedding venue when deciding what to wear. If you're attending a wedding in a religious building, exposing a lot of skin is not appropriate. Even if the wedding is not being held at a religious site, always remember that members of the bride's and groom's family will be in attendance.... Grandma does not want to see your cleavage or watch you pull your too short dress down all night! All in all, be classy.
If you are attending this wedding alone, do not allow your attire to reflect the fact that you may be scouting for your own potential husband or wife. Remember you are attending the wedding to celebrate the union of your friend(s) or family member.
If the wedding has a specific theme and other attire is requested by the couple, of course you are expected to participate! But keep the above tips in mind and make sure you don't become the center of attention.
The Wedding Ceremony
Punctuality is key!
Even if the ceremony starts a little late, make sure you are on time. How embarrassing would it be for you to waltz in while the couple is saying their vows?? Out of all of the thousands of family and friends, YOU were chosen to bear witness to this couple's union, so BE...ON...TIME.
If you're early, you 're on time; You're late if you're on time.
Prepare to arrive approximately 30mins before the wedding is scheduled to start. This ensures that you will successfully find parking and not end up in the back of the venue struggling to hear or see the vows being said or "the first kiss" being had.
If you're late, ya gotta wait!
If you have arrived late to the wedding and the wedding part has already begun to procession in, wait until the bride reaches the altar to go in and take a seat.
Do as the Romans do.
If the wedding is being held in a religious building, it is polite to follow the lead of the couple the wedding party and the immediate family. However, if your religious beliefs, differ, you are not obligated to participate in things like communion, kneeling, and other religious practices.
At the beginning of the reception, the couple is going to be bombarded with friends and family who want to take pictures and offer their congratulations. Don't feel pressured to be one of those people, but do make it your business to give a hug, offer your congratulations and thank them for inviting you at some point during the evening.
Many weddings have a cocktail/ social hour while the wedding party takes their "before the party gets started" pictures. Mix and mingle with other guests and try the couple's signature cocktail if they have one. You may be dressed in florals and pastels, but this does not give you permission to be the anti-social wallflower. ENJOY YOURSELF! after all, you will probably be seeing some of these guests again at future baby showers, birthday parties, and/ or anniversary celebrations...so why not get to know them now?!
Cocktail hour is winding down and it is now time to take your seat. FOLLOW THE SEATING CHART (if there is one). The couple, more than likely, spent days upon days deciding who's going to sit where, so don't just take it upon yourself to park it where you please. If dinner is being served by the plate, your specific seat placement and/ or name card is, more than likely, an indicator of what dinner option you chose when you RSVP'd; So, again, please follow the seating chart or placement cards. If you are sitting at the table with someone you aren't familiar with, introduce yourself.
Each couple's wedding reception is different. There may be traditional reception practices, cultural reception practices, or things that are unique to couple that you've never seen before. Either way, participate as much as you feel comfortable, dance, have a few cocktails if you choose, and most of all.... HAVE FUN!
THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE
When it's time for you to say your I Dos, You can do whatever you choose.
If there is something taking place during the wedding ceremony or reception that you may not like; no mater how strongly you may feel about it, KEEP YOUR COMMENTS TO YOURSELF. It is not your place to criticize and negatively comment on the couple's big day.
Soirée Says... when it comes to attending a wedding, BE THE BEST GUEST.