Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Don't Throw Up On Your Entree & Other Wedding Guest Etiquette

Photo by Benj Haisch
I'm not sure what it is about weddings that brings out the crazy in people, but believe you me, it can get really weird really fast.  Now every bride will have a temporary moment of insanity, typically in those last two weeks before the wedding, and rightfully so.  I not only tolerate but encourage a little bridal hysteria right before the big day and have doled out quite a few hugs and "I promise you it will be okay"'s to weeping brides, because, barring major catastrophes (like my bride who planned and paid for a wedding in Egypt that she then had to cancel due to the recent political turmoil there), everything will actually be okay.  But emotions run high, and sometimes you just have to get the crazy out before you walk down the aisle.  (One of these days I might actually share my until-now-never-shared-with-anyone-but-my-friend-Beth psychotic hot dog story from the few weeks before my wedding). 

But back to the guests.  There's no excuse for some of the behavior I have witnessed.  Maybe it's the free booze or the pigs in a blanket, all I know is weddings bring out some really wild colors in people, and I'm here to keep those colors from clashing with the decor.

Photo from aisledash.com
Rule One - (speaking of colors) do not wear white
or ivory or ecru or beige or champagne or anything that even comes close to white.  It happens all the time, sometimes unwittingly, sometimes wittingly, and it's distracting.  Here's an article reinforcing the point. 

Rule Two - don't throw up on your entree
Something about an open bar encourages people to drink like it's the end of the world.  We all saw May 21st, the purported day of rapture, come and go with not so much as a clap of thunder, so take this as a sign that you don't need to drink at weddings as though it's your last night on earth.  Please don't be the guest that drinks so much that you either throw up at the dinner table or you pee in the corner of the reception room.  Yes, I've seen both, and yes, they happened at the same wedding, and yes, it was the same person who committed both offenses, and yes, they were not only close with but also related to the bride.  Remember to pace yourself lest you want to go down in wedding infamy.  My husband's cousin (who we all adore, mind you) still gets occasional ribbing about how many beer bottles he dropped on the dance floor at our wedding.  And brides (and grooms), you're not off the hook here either - you've spent a lot of time and money on this wedding, so please don't drink so much you can't remember it.

After the jump...
it's not your party, therefore you don't get to invite people
don't behave so poorly that the bride suspects you stole her credit card - a.k.a. don't do drugs
don't make any assumptions about your attendance

Rule Three - it's not your party, therefore you don't get to invite people
If you've ever made a guest list for an event, you know it's not easy to include some and not others.  When invited to a wedding, trust and understand that a lot of thought and potentially a few hurt feelings went into narrowing the guest list down to its present state.  Therefore, please do not contact the bride, the groom, their parents, their sister or anyone else involved in the wedding to ask if you can bring any of the following if not previously indicated on your invitation:
- your new boyfriend who you want to hook up with
- your ex-boyfriend who you want to hook up with
- your friend from college who is going to be in town that day who you want to hook up with
- your children
Yes, the last one is hard to swallow for some parents, but every bride has the right to decide if she wants her event to be adults only.  We had our first overnight away from the duckling recently for my cousin's wedding, and I couldn't have been happier to have a night out with my husband, an open bar (responsibly enjoyed, of course) and a room full of people we love to hang out with.  As hard as it was to be away from my favorite fat baby, it was well worth being able to enjoy the wedding to the fullest, including dancing to Jackie Wilson with my mother-in-law and singing along to 80's songs with my sister-in-law. 

Rule Four - don't behave so poorly that the bride suspects you stole her credit card, a.k.a. - don't do drugs
I once had a bride email me the day after her wedding.  Her credit cards had been stolen from her purse at her reception.  To paraphrase, the email went something like this:

"hey, thanks again for everything.  uh, listen.  i wanted to let you know that my credit cards were missing from my clutch last night.  i'm not saying it was the staff but i wanted to let you know.  i actually suspect matt's friend might be the culprit...his friend was so high that he left his date at the party in New Jersey and hailed a cab into Manhattan to hit up the strip clubs.  So my bets are on him."

This has hot mess written all over it, as does some of the other drug-induced behavior I've seen at weddings.  This category of bad behavior includes but is not limited to taking off your shoes because you can't stand up (let's be honest, when you're this gone, taking off your shoes is not going to help), passing out in the coat check or, worse, passing out in your chair at dinner.  Yep, seen 'em all.  Never flattering.  Plus it makes for extra (not to mention messy) work for the event staff and sometimes even the bride and groom. 

Rule Five - don't make any assumptions about your attendance
This isn't as acute an offense as the ones above, but I see it happen a lot so it's worth a mention.  This comes in two parts - the first is don't assume the bride and groom know that you're coming.  Even if you've had thirty conversations with the bride about her dress, send in your Rsvp card.  She can't be sure until the card says yes, and oftentimes the parents of the bride are the ones receiving your reply, so send in that card.  If you don't, you will be the unfavorable recipient of the awkward, "so are you coming or not?" call.  Ew. 

Secondly, when replying yes or no, be sure to include your name.  That's what the line is for, the one that says "M______________".  No matter how well the bride knows you, she cannot identify you by the "x" you wrote next to yes or no.  Unless you're a pirate and you mark your "x" with one of those big red crosses I always see on hidden treasure maps, in which case this rule doesn't apply to you, and you can move on.

So that just about wraps it up for today.  Don't worry, wedding guests, I've got an etiquette post in the works for my fair brides, too.

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