With proposal season in full swing, wedding season isn’t far behind. Here’s some do’s and don’ts of wedding season that you MUST know, and if you already know them it’s good to refresh the mind.
Wedding Summers are a rite of passage — an endurance test that requires swift mobility between collegiate regression and adulthood. They’re at once the final exams that prove you passed the absolute youngest portion of your life and the entry exams that predict whether or not you’ll succeed in the future.
Yes, a Wedding Summer is that serious.
They assume, for one, that your finances are at least well enough in order to pay for flights without having won a radio contest or snagging a deal on JetBlue for twenty dollar flights to Show Low, Arizona (“I’ve never been to Arizona before!”). They assume that you know how to save up for registry gifts, structure a plan that allows you to send one to every couple (including those friends whose weddings you still can’t make) in accordance with the two-year grace period, that you keep track of addresses and are in consistent possession of stamps. Wedding Summers force you into civility with former enemies, strain introverted tendencies and demand excellent manners all while expecting you to operate as though your alcohol tolerance is that of a seventeenth century pirate. Oh, and be in your seat on time and ready for that meeting at work on Monday.
But friends, I know you can do it. Together, we can pass. Below, the do’s and don’ts to guide you through the awkward pews of Wedding Summer without bumping anyone in the face or accidentally sitting down on a great aunt’s lap.
Do: RSVP in a timely manner
You would be surprised at how many people forget to RSVP. More surprised are the bride and groom when you show up, unaccounted for, with your equally-assumed-to-not-be-attending boyfriend who has dietary restrictions.
It is supremely uncomfortable to surprise a bride. I have done it twice and have since made a promise to myself that going forward, 1) I’ll send my response (whether “yes” or “no”) within a day of the RSVP card arriving in the mail and 2) I’ll never jump out of a cake again. Solemnly swear.
Don’t: Be weird about the plus one situation
It is possible that you will be invited to at least one wedding without a plus one. It is possible that you will be asked to be a member of the wedding party, but not offered a plus one. This is frustrating whether you’re dating someone seriously, someone new or no one — but you would at least like the idea considered that you might meet someone.
Still: you have to remember that your lack of a +uno is, like most things in life, not a direct attack. Can you ask the bride if you feel really, really strongly that your girlfriend of two months be invited because you hate dancing alone? Sure. But if she says no, that’s the end of it. Don’t invite her husband to your wedding or something. (JK!)
More importantly, if you’re the denied-plus-one of a new *friend*, try hard to not take it personally. Remember the average cost of one plate per person (approximately 8 billion dollars) and that all they’re doing is sticking to a budget. Actually, if you’re not invited, you should thank them. Now you don’t have to split a gift with your new human half.
Don’t: Ask the two people getting married, “Where’s the parking lot?” or any other annoying questions that you could google or are answered on their website
They are busy writing last-minute vows. They are literally scribing eternal dedication to one another while on critical deadline, panicking about whether or not they’re making The Right Decision and do not have time to answer your text about, “Wait, is this black tie or just cocktail?”
Do: Pretend you like your bridesmaid dress
Yup, it was expensive. Yup, you hate it. Nope, not your wedding. It is especially not your wedding when you’re not even the one wearing the bridesmaid dress, so as a civilian guest, don’t tell the bridesmaids you hate their dresses, either.
Don’t: Order out of character
If the wedding dinner isn’t served buffet-style, the food will almost always be just a few steps above first class airplane meals, no matter how great the couple claims the testing was. Even wedding salads suck. This is fine. Weddings are really expensive parties, not really expensive restaurants to cross off your culinary to-eat-at list.
Because of that, however, it’s important that you order smart: the least-healthy sounding thing will always taste the best. Get the pasta or the steak. Don’t get the steak if you’re a vegetarian, though. You’ll be mad at me later. Definitely never order the “fish with veggies.” Position the bread bowl near you. Let the waiter know you’ll be needing a back up roll. Take advantage of the apps and just in case, bring snacks. Always bring wedding snacks.
Don’t: Hold your phone the whole time
Especially not during the ceremony. Get your one Instagram shot and then put the cell down. The couple hired wedding photographers for a reason: so that you don’t break your phone on the dance floor or ruin their vows with your flash.
Do: Use the hashtag
I know it’s cheesy, but strangers want to stalk this wedding (so will the couple and you, after the fact) so do your due diligence and add the #.
It’s more awkward to sit at a wedding reception than it is to dance badly. This is because at each post-vow-party, there is one person who has appointed herself Chief President Officer of the Fun Committee and has made it her mission to “get the party poopers off the dance floor!” She loves to steal the deejay’s mic and announce this, by the way.
What’s worse? Someone saying, “Wow, [your name here] sure can’t dab but she looks like she’s really having a swell time,” or a sweaty, holier-than-though party-attender pulling you off your chair and into the middle of a dance circle because you’re being “so lame!!”? The latter, guys. The latter.
Don’t: Take your shoes off
Ever. Not even if your feet feel like they’re going to fall off. Let them fall off. (At least then you’ll have an excuse to sit — see above.) But you will never get your shoes back on if you remove them for a moment of relief.
Don’t: Bring drama
Weddings trigger a lot of weird, deep-rooted shit — especially when various pasts come back together for the first time in a while under the same venue. Hold it in until you’re in a vent-safe-space, which is not the bathroom, by the way, because the person you’re talking shit about is definitely in there peeing. Avoid awkward sink confrontations, tears and doing anything that takes attention off the CEREMONY OF LOVE.
And if you see The Worst Person Ever? Be cordial, then carry on.
Do: Stick around for the cake cutting*
*If it’s a good friend. I have snuck out before and it was not well-received.
However, if you’re tired at the wedding of a colleague or not-even-sure-why-I-was-invited-but-so-sweet!-friend, you’re off the hook.
Do: Take advantage of this party you paid for
Open bar, open hearts, can’t lose.
If you follow these rules, you’ll be the best wedding guest ever!