How to be the best offbeat wedding guest ever

Posted by
Merlyn & Matt40

We're in the midst of wedding season! We're guessing that more than a few of you aren't just planning weddings, you're ATTENDING weddings. From invitation to after-party, here's our guide on how to be the best offbeat wedding guest evar…

OMG you got a wedding invitation

  • Feel special. Someone cared enough about you to want you to share a special moment with them… and also possibly pay for your dinner.
  • RSVP ALL THE THINGS! Make sure you RSVP either yes or no to anything they invite you to — engagement parties, showers, rehearsal dinners, bar mitzvah, etc.
  • And if you want to make sure they got it, text them or email them and say, “Hey, just making sure you got my RSVP. I can't wait to party with you!”
  • Make sure your name is on the RSVP.

  • If you're unsure if you get to bring a guest, check in with the couple. If that feels awkward then follow this: when in doubt, don't bring a date. Odds are you'll know a lot of people at the wedding anyway. Time to bust out your mingling skills.

Between receiving the invitation and the wedding day

  • If the couple has a wedsite, study it. Most questions you have will more than likely be addressed there.
  • Ask if there's anything you can help with, and then follow through on your offers.
  • If you still have questions, reach out to the couple.

  • Purchase, make, or arrange a gift for the couple, unless they've requested “no gifts, please.” Remember, some offbeat couples love it when guests volunteer their services instead of goods. But if you're buying or making them something, make sure you include your name with said gift.
  • If you see the person getting married, don't let your first question out of you mouth be, “How's the wedding planning going!?” Odds are, they're sick of hearing that, and they probably would love an excuse to talk about anything but.

On the wedding day

  • Show up on time.
  • Wear the proper attire: check the weather and dress accordingly, don your costumes, or wear flats if it's outdoors.

  • Do not text or call the couple with any questions or concerns — direct all of those to a family or wedding party member. Hopefully you studied the wedsite enough not to be confused come wedding day.
  • Put away your cell phone, and iPad, and video camera, and zoom lenses, and aerial drones during the ceremony — unless the couple has requested that you snap away.
  • Stay in your seats, or on your hay bales, or keep your hands and arms inside the hot air ballon during the ceremony. Basically, just chill out and take in the beautiful moment.
  • If you see or hear something you don't understand (…what's a TARDIS?), compliment it and ask what it means. Chances are the couple would LOVE to tell you all about it.
  • Keep all complaints to yourself, and then use them for good.

  • Don't dominate the couple's time — they probably have a metric butt-load of people to greet and party with; let them circulate.
  • If there is a problem at any point during the day (emergencies ranging from “they're out of empanadas!” to “Grandpa Horatio had a stroke”) tell anyone but the couple.
  • Better yet, keep eyes open for a wedding planner. If you see one make a mental note to bring all problems to that person.
  • If there's music: dance. If there's a photo booth: take pictures. If there are games: play them. Couples LOVE it when their guests enjoy the entertainment provided.
  • Don't take the centerpieces home with you unless you were asked to — they might be rentals, or part of the couple's special collection.

Don't mess with the photographer

  • Again, I repeat: Stay in your seat, and put your cameras down during the ceremony.

  • Stay away from the portrait session, unless you're family or wedding party.
  • If you're involved in the portrait session: Stay nearby, do not bust out your own camera, smile and look at the photographer the entire time you're having your photo taken.
  • If you see the photographer taking a photo, don't think “oh, that would make a good photo” and then step in front of them to snag that same shot.
  • Don't start talking to the photographer about their camera equipment. I'm sure they'd love to talk shop, but not while they're at work — it distracts them from doing their job.
  • If the photographer looks like they've been super busy, ask them if they'd like you to get them a snack or a drink. Odds are they're both starving and thirsty and may have not had a chance to hydrate or feed themselves.

After the wedding

  • Make sure to tell the couple what a gawd-damn-amazing time you had at their wedding. Seriously, you've never been to a better event, right?

  • If you have photos from the wedding, makes sure the newlyweds get them — everyone loves extra photos! But make sure not to upload them on social media without checking in first. Some couples like their privacy.
  • If you sent a gift and didn't receive a thank you note, or received a thank you that didn't specifically mention a gift, it's okay to reach out to see if they got your gift. Shit happens.

Wedding go-ers, what are your tips for being an awesome wedding guest? Wedding throwers, what would make someone your best wedding guest ever?

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Comments on How to be the best offbeat wedding guest ever

  1. “If you see or hear something you don’t understand, compliment it and ask what it means.”

    Seriously! We have so much nerdy stuff going on ceremony wise that not everyone will get everything they hear. And we know that. All we could ever hope for is that it becomes a conversation point rather than make the person feel alienated.

    All of these are great to remember for any wedding really.

  2. Stay late!! We completely understood that some people had child-care concerns, long drives, or were simply tired, but I cannot emphasize enough how happy it made me that lots of people stayed to party with us until they shut the room down. It was SO GREAT to stagger out with all those folks and all that love, before I went back to the hotel with my new husband. Beyond the practical–we spent lots of time and $$ planning that party and it was a thrill to see people enjoy it–I was just happy to be surrounded my folks I don’t see that often, and was delighted to make the most of our time together.

  3. Don’t complain about stuff you don’t like. That’s huge. Luckily no one said a peep at my wedding (well my brother ranted about how he didn’t like the food a week later but he hates everything) BUT some close friends of mine experienced complainers on their wedding day and it was heartbreaking for them. I totally get what the guests had to say. In fact I agreed but I kept my mouth shut because that’s what you do. These people cut a lot of things out of their wedding just to be able to afford to have it at a particular venue. So the really terrible unmanned “ipod dj”, over crowded tables, shortage of time….it was because they made a choice because they loved a venue. In the end our group of friends embraced the night and had a blast. But the bride was in tears at one point because an aunt was complaining directly at her about some of these things. That’s just wrong.

  4. I know this is kind of old, but the bit about photography struck a chord with me, namely a contrarian one. I actually was really cool with everyone breaking out their cameras at my wedding, but then again I come from a family of photographers and am an amateur myself. Hell, I even brought my camera and snagged at least a dozen photos of my own wedding. One thing I did was communicate to my photographer was that there were a number of enthusiasts/former pros in attendance, and as a result everyone had an opportunity to take pictures. I’d say if you’re an enthusiastic shutterbug and aren’t super close to the couple (e.g. family or super close friends) do a little research through the couple’s family and find out how they feel about photos being taken at various points (especially the ceremony). Sometimes couples may be okay with guests photographing the ceremony and not think to overtly state that with the 18 million other wedding-related concerns they’re trying to juggle. (Admittedly, I broke a few of these rules at the last wedding I attended, but thankfully my cousins were cool with it and asked for copies of my photos.) So I think that there might be some wiggle room on the photography angle if you take the time to put out feelers.

  5. This is so spot on. I hope my big mouth aunt reads this since I shared it on Facebook. What ever happened to keeping your mouth shut if you have nothing nice to say?!

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