Have you been to a wedding where everyone's calm and getting along, the music is just right and the romantic setting is right out of a Bridgerton episode? You think to yourself how grateful you were to be invited and to celebrate with your dear friends in their new love. And then, almost out of the blue, THAT guest appears.
Whether they've had an embarrassingly large number of vodka crans and start a yelling match with the valet service, or their sporting head to toe the color commonly forbidden on a wedding day, it's cringey to say the least. A wash of second hand embarrassment mixed with empathy may wash over you as you observe them—but before the night get's carried away, here's how to not become the very same sort of unruly guest.
1. Arrive on time
One time my friend and I pulled up to a wedding in a uhual, and snuck into our pew 10 minutes into the ceremony. Yeah, not my shining moment.
I get it, I’m chronically late and want to break that habit at every turn. But especially on a wedding day, one should make every effort to swtich it up.
In my case, the bride was cool as a cucumber about it, and swore she didn't even notice. However, not every couple will be as chill about such a potential disruption.
As a good rule of thumb, aim to arrive 15min prior to the ceremony start time to ensure you get a seat and are out of the way from the vendors and family. Too early and you might see the bride before she intends to be seen, too late you might disrupt the ceremony or worse, get stuck without a seat and miss the main event (I've been there too, not a fun way to celebrate!).
2. Respect the couple’s photography wishes
Unpopular opinion from a photographer, but I genuinely don't mind when other guests or family snap photos on their iPhone. Heck, I do that all the time! But when it does bother me, is when the cell phone shots are disrupting my shots. Especially if the couple has requested a phone-free event.
Just because they say "unplugged" that still includes wireless cameras ;)
If they don’t make a statement or have an unplugged sign, you are free to snap away! But even so, be sure flash is off, shutter sounds and your ringer are on silent, or better yet, your phone is on airplane mode the entire time.
P.S. Can we ditch the iPads?? The photos stink on there anyway. Sincerely, all photographers.
3. Avoid wearing white (unless that’s the vibe)
Or white with a tiny pattern
I kid you not, I attended a wedding in 2023 where the grandmother was in full cream suit from head to toe! Now, maybe the couple communicated that would be okay ahead of time, but by judging the look on the bride's face when she saw her relative walk through the reception hall in the same color as her gown, I seriously doubt it.
A trend on the rise this year has been bridesmaids or guests in all cream or all white. Personally, I love mixing things up in such a unqiue way, but nevertheless, some traditions are in place for a reason. So if wearing white/cream/beige if it is the expectation of the bride, you will know long ahead of time and can dress accordingly. Otherwise, save it for Summer.
4. GET UP AND DANCE!!
Have you ever met a couple who plans their wedding day, thoughtfully hires their dream DJ, enjoys a wonderful dinner, and then looks out to an empty dance floor—and is HAPPY!?!?
Dancing can feel a little awkward at times, but it is a centuries old sign of celebration. And for the couple that is bursting at the seams with joy, a celebration is exactly what they are hoping for.
Grab your date, or hop in on a group dance and join in on the fun. Odds are, you’ll have wayyy more fun than you were planning on and make the couple beam at the memory of sharing the dance floor with you.
5. Don’t leave yet!
I get it, things happen and sometimes, you just have to leave the party early.
But if the only thing you’ve got to rush home to is a pint of Ben & Jerry's and reruns of Friends, I promise you, it can wait a bit longer. Keep in mind the whole day is about this couple, and you were invited because your presence on this day, and in their life holds a very special place for them. Don’t be quick to rush out and dampen their spirits when likely all they were looking forward to, is one beautiful evening together.
6. Have a departure plan ahead of time
Let's say you did have one too many vodka crans, your dateless this time, and now the night is coming to a close. What are you going to do?
DD’s are a must! Have Uber and Lyft downloaded before the event, consider having a taxi number on hand just in case. Don't forget to checkout the couple’s wedding website to see if they have transportation or a shuttle already booked for guests. Nothing would be more foolish than to attempt leaving by yourself and putting your life and other's in harms way. An escape plan ahead of time is the best way to celebrate safely.
Whether you find yourself reading this list before you attend your next wedding, or after recognizing yourself as having experienced one or two of these scenarios (guilty!) here's to hoping this guides your next wedding in the most joyful way.