How to be the perfect wedding guest

Weddings are a joyous occasion. At least, they’re meant to be. After all, most people would describe a wedding as one of the happiest days of their lives! But alas, that’s seldom the case, or at least, not without quite a few bumps along the road.

The reality of weddings, besides cold feet, is that there is a great deal of energy, stress, planning and of course, expense, that’s required before the big day. So after all that hard work and money, the bride and groom really want their day to be perfect, to smile and have fun and make the most of their celebration and being with all their friends and loved ones.

What’s the expression? What’s a wedding without a bit of drama? Well, this expression shouldn’t even have to exist. Why is it that there are ALWAYS guests that manage to sour the day, to have no appreciation of how much the couple would have gone through to make sure everyone has a wonderful time and somehow seem to think that it’s ok to make it all about them.

Sadly, this is inevitable, but here we have some tips to make sure that that WON’T be you. Just a few simple suggestions to make sure that you set the example as a dream guest and help the bride and groom truly have the best day of their lives.

Appropriate Outfit

Not to skew this topic unfairly towards the ladies, but as far as choice of dress is concerned, it should go without saying – the day is about the bride. All eyes should be on her. Between painful diets, endless fittings, hair and make-up and spending a fortune on a gown she’ll only wear once – DO NOT OUTSHINE THE BRIDE. If you’re lucky enough to own a custom made Alexander McQueen, that’s fabulous – but if you’re at a wedding where you know the bride will be wearing something more humble, please resist the urge to distract from her with your finery.

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The same goes for lavish jewellery. An easy fix to this? Shoes and accessories. Keep your dress elegant and simple, like the ones found at Bombshell Dresses, but glamourise your outfit with some killer heels and a beautiful clutch. You’ll feel stylish, look incredible, while not stealing focus. 

Fancy garb isn’t the only way to draw attention from the happy couple. Do not wear white. Do not wear black. You’re not the bride and this isn’t a funeral. Unless the bride won’t be wearing white and you’ve received express permission, steer away from these colours. Also, this is a wedding – an elegant affair. Your midriff, side-boob and upper thighs belong at a club or at the beach, not your loved one’s wedding.

And gentlemen? A well-fitting, elegant suit. There’s no need to be boring – the goal is chic, but for the love of God, do not show up in some tacky number covered in animal print or sequins. Actually, that’s just a generally good rule of thumb.

Be sensible with gifts

This seems to often happen with relatives. People who love just that little bit too much and can’t help themselves. But please, resist the urge to bring gifts to the actual wedding. These days, most people register online, so everything is delivered to their home or it’s a contribution towards the honeymoon or a charity.

There’s a reason people choose these options. Not just because they’re lovely gestures, but because it minimises pfaff at the venue. The happy couple will already have a lot to deal with the day after, and probably through the haze of a hangover. Dealing with a giant pile of gifts is an extra headache they don’t need.

Often, people feel rude showing up empty-handed, but take faith in the fact that a wedding is 100% an occasion where this is acceptable. Always stick to the chosen list. And if there isn’t one and you really feel the need to buy them something extra – have it delivered to their home or place of work, either well before or after the wedding. The thought will most definitely still be felt and appreciated!

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Drink responsibly and make arrangements in advance

Weddings are all about letting loose and having fun and by all means, eat, drink and be merry! But it definitely doesn’t hurt to pace yourself and most importantly, to make sure you know how and when you’re getting safely to your accommodation afterwards. Do not get too tipsy before the main meal, line your stomach first. It’s only fine to start getting wild once everyone is on the dancefloor – nobody wants to deal with drunken antics during an elegant meal or, heaven forbid, during someone’s toast!

Pre-book a taxi. This will not only create a time limit for your drinking, but when you can barely stand upright, you’ll be in no state to google local taxi companies. It shouldn’t be the responsibility of your more sober companions, or worse still for the bride and groom to have to worry about getting your silly bum into bed.

Pre-book, pre-pay if possible. Know how you are getting home. And if you really want to be an amazing guest, if you do see someone overdoing it, maybe help make arrangements for them as well, so as not to leave it to the last minute. The couple and definitely the venue staff will love you immensely for it. On the flip side, if it’s a dry wedding – have a boozy breakfast and make sure you have a secret stash in your hotel room for afterwards!

Leave the drama at home

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that not everyone attending a wedding, friends or family, are going to be each other’s favourite people. Yes, maybe you thought you were going to be the bridesmaid, but someone else got asked. Yes, maybe your girlfriend cheated on you and you’re fragile and have to suffer a wedding solo.

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Yes, maybe Uncle Whatshisname who ruined your last birthday and hit on your wife got invited. Yes, you hate Karen, yet there she is, all smug and 10 pounds lighter. Yes, maybe you can’t stand the bride or groom. Sorry, but you’re a grown-up. Act like it. This is a very special, very expensive day. They want to celebrate their love and have a nice time, not deal with arguments and tantrums and tears. Whatever your issue is, on this day – it does not exist.

There’s another famous expression – if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. This should be put up at every wedding – in every bathroom stall and with the emergency exits. You have the rest of your lives to cause a scene and have fallings out with someone. But darn it, NOT TODAY. Exercise some self-control and keep it zipped.

No one’s asking you to hold hands and sing kumbaya, so if someone is present that you really have a problem with, just keep your distance. Do not talk to them. Be polite, acknowledge their presence, then move on. There will be plenty of other people to chat to. And if they start antagonising you, be the bigger person and simply don’t engage.

Take it somewhere else

If things start to escalate, then the most important thing is – take it somewhere far away from the wedding party. Toilet, parking lot, back at the hotel, under a bridge, doesn’t matter – but do not involve the bride and groom. If you can help mediate other people’s drama, that’ll be extra helpful! 

So there you have it, sweet and simple – dress elegant, but not flashy; don’t bring gifts with you; don’t drink without forward planning and don’t cause a scene! Follow these rules and the bride will love you forever and will look forward to inviting you to her next wedding!

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