Frankly speaking, I don’t know about you, whereas 2015 was full of smacks and punches for me and I am glad it’s over. Don’t get me wrong, there were amazing moments and I had the pleasure of planning with some phenomenal couples. Certainly, I also had some not so easy couples, and some difficult moments while planning a few weddings. As 2015 was my busiest year to date, I can rattle off plenty of Top 6 lists. If you’re going to a wedding or weddings this year and haven’t a clue what to declare as your “New Year’s Resolution,” then let this be it: how to be a better wedding guest.
Going to a wedding should be easy, right? I mean, a wedding is a celebration of love followed by a multi-hour party with an open bar and dancing. However damn it if some people don’t make it out to be a challenge every time they go. As a planner, I can spot the difficult guests right as they walk in the door, and sometimes sooner than that. If the guest is a true pain in the ass, my couple has already told me about them, and I have yet to have a couple exaggerate about just how difficult a certain guest is being.
Hence be honest with yourself and listen up. Since every wedding has at least one guest that is sucking the soul out of the day, and if you don’t hear about this person, it just might be you.
1. Don’t Bitch About Your Seat
The seating chart is easily one of the most stressful things for any couple to complete. Believe me when I tell you that they take into account the people that don’t like each other, the ones that need to be within spitting distance of the bar, and those that refuse to sit anywhere near the entrance to the kitchen/bathroom/hallway/whatever. But there are those guests that even before they receive an invite that get all cutesy with the couple and mention… casually… where they want or do not want to sit. Usually the request is phrased in the following way, “So cannot wait to be at your wedding, don’t forget to sit me as close to the bar as possible”. Certainly, those requests are now simply text messages so the inevitable and passive “LOL” follows the sentence. You know, to cover up the fact that the request is bitchy and unnecessary. If you don’t give your seating requests in advance then do not give them at the wedding upon realizing that *gasp* you’re sitting next to someone that you just simply do not care for. I don’t care if it’s your ex that ran over your puppy with a tractor. You only sit to eat, so get up and mingle and dance the rest of the time. Sheesh. This isn’t musical chairs.
Too far? Don’t go. It’s really that easy! Odds are, you will know the location of the wedding in advance of receiving the invitation, because you’ll hear about it from another invited guest or directly from the couple at an engagement party, or shower or whatever. If, at that moment, you realize that it’s a whole 30 minutes to an hour away or even a “guests be damned” destination wedding, do not comment. Selecting a venue is not as simple as just picking one out from a wedding magazine. It takes loads of research and then visits to these venues to actually decide on one and then pray that the one you want has your date available. When you come down on a couple about the location, it makes them feel bad. Very few couples will have the attitude of “those that really want to be there, will be there,” and even those that do will get a twinge of guilt if you mention how far it is for you. What you’re basically saying is that their wedding, their once in a lifetime day, is inconvenient for you. This doesn’t mean that you can then vent about the location to the parents of the couple either in hopes that it will then get back to the couple even though you “totally didn’t mean for that to happen”. Just stop. If “too far” is really an issue, then you perhaps would be a boring guest at a wedding anyway. Hence stay home and pout. No backhanded post-wedding comments on the couple’s social media pictures either about how it “looked like so much fun” and you just “wish it could’ve been closer” so you could’ve gone. Flag. Unsportsmanlike conduct.
Friday. Sunday. Thursday. Monday. These are acceptable days to have a wedding, and you just might get an invitation utilizing one of these dates. While they all have their negative elements, there are reasons that couples pick these days. The top of the list is that the couple probably saved money by picking any of the four days listed above. Have you ever shopped a sale? Do you list things from “lowest price” to “highest price” when shopping online? Then guess what? You’re in a glass house, my friend. Put down the stones. Frankly, it doesn’t matter why the date was chosen, and you passive people that like to ask the couple “So, why’d you choose a Friday?” are the worst. You don’t care. If it is logistically too difficult to make the day work for you, then you can decline the invitation. Most couples don’t follow up on the rejections they receive because they are busy with other stuff like planning their wedding. Therefore, you don’t have to fear about having an answer. In case the couple does ask you, you can then be truthful about the date just not being convenient.
Snail mail. It’s hard. You have to write something in, put it into a provided envelope, and then get it to an actual mailbox to send it back. Frequently, you only have a month to do this. Life is unfair. How cruel is it for these people to expect you to just drop everything to send back their RSVP? Bridezilla much? I mean, you have shows to binge watch, you do not have time for this garbage. See what I’m doing here? Listen, I get it, people are busy. In fact, people love to talk about how busy they are. However, if the couple catches you playing Candy Crush on Facebook still you don’t have the time to RSVP, then you are in the wrong. It shouldn’t have to be explained, nonetheless I’m going to anyway: The caterer or venue needs a headcount by a certain date or there is the risk of not enough food or a higher bill for the couple to pay. If they are renting things like tables and chairs, then they need that headcount as well so that everyone has a place to actually sit and eat. If you RSVP late there might be no food for you, no drinks for you, no seat for you, no room on the shuttle, no hotel room for you, no nothing. I advise my couples to send out their invites even earlier than they are supposed to because we live in a world of procrastinators. I then tell them to start calling people a full week prior to the RSVP. I, personally, have walked a guest through filling out the RSVP and putting it in the mail. Seriously. I was on the phone with them to make sure they actually did it. No one has time to hold your hand like that. We’re all screwing around on Pinterest. Thus just send it out as soon as you receive it. Please…er…..s’il vous plait.
This isn’t creative writing, people. Read the envelope. How many people is it addressed to? That’s how many people get to RSVP. You and a guest doesn’t mean you and an entourage. I have seen this happen at over 50% of the weddings I have planned. That’s too much folks! Way too much! It happened at my own. What is this garbage? Another one I see is “swap-sies”. You’re invited with a certain person, but yet you respond that you and random person will be coming. Then when the couple gets your RSVP and they are like “who the hell is Gertrude?”, what are they supposed to do? They won’t call you out on it thanks to that’s considered the “wrong” thing to do. In my opinion, two wrongs make a right here and I tell my couples to find out who the person is or I will do it for them if they are not comfortable. If you are in the situation where your partner cannot come, but you don’t want to go alone, it is perfectly fine to decline the invitation. According to how close you are to the couple, this is an opportunity to then ask them if you can bring someone else. But that someone else either needs to be someone that they know or someone they don’t know but is a best and close friend of yours and isn’t an offensive wedding guest. At the end of the day, they have a minimum headcount they have to reach and if they don’t have a “B” list, you might actually help them out by RSVP’ing for 2, though it’s not the original 2. If they tell you “no”, be gracious and accept the answer. And yes, you still have to go, because you look bitter if you don’t.
Before, during and after the wedding, some guests like to focus on the negative. I tell my couples that their guests will always find something to complain about. The reason I say this is because many couples want the day to be perfect and they tend to worry about the details. You can’t please everyone and you will die trying. Worse than that, the couple will not enjoy their wedding day. As a guest, you need to understand the work that goes into planning a wedding and the pressure that couples have to make sure everyone enjoys themselves and has a great time. Frankly, you don’t know every stressful detail that went on during the planning process, so don’t pile on here. Leading up to the wedding, do not guilt the couple about how you “so hope there isn’t a blizzard” for their January wedding or that the “traffic isn’t God awful” for their Memorial Day Weekend wedding. During the wedding, the couple does not want to hear about how you “barely made it” because the line for valet was just awful. They also don’t need to hear about how “bummed out” you are because you didn’t get to try their signature drink since the bar ran out. And after the wedding, please do not whine to the couple about how packed the dance floor was and it’s “just a shame there wasn’t more room to dance, but the venue was lovely”. These are all passive statements and people that guilt trip tend to be just that: passive. Here’s your script, Before the Wedding: So excited to celebrate!, During the Wedding: Everything is amazing and gorgeous!, After the Wedding: Best Wedding Ever! You’re done.