You may not know it, but you are an important part of someone you know or may not knows wedding dreams. Whether your a member of a wedding party or just the date of a guest, you have attended a wedding and will more than likely attend one again. Some of you may dread this, while others anticipate the party. No matter which type of guest you are, and whether its your 1st wedding or your 15th, chances are wedding etiquette isn't your fort-ay. In-fact, until your the one getting married most do not realize the wedding fauex pa's their committing.
As a wedding planner & Bride to be the error in my wedding guest past is haunting me like an ugly bridesmaids dress. In an attempt to change my etiquette karma I have created a series of wedding guidelines for everyone from the mother of the bride to the blind date sitting at table 7.
Do you have a nightmare wedding etiquette story? Share it with us, by commenting below!
This is a special day for you, but it's NOT your special day. Whether you are footing the bills, helping with plans or just there for support here are some tips to make sure the process is smooth & the event is as special as everyone wants it to be.
How to share the Big News & Wedding Details with Friends & Family:
I know you are excited that your loved one is getting married, but that doesn't mean you should tell everyone about the engagement. Make sure you have a conversation with the couple on what information is OK to be divulged and to whom. The couple may want to tell certain people face to face. Do not steal their thunder by announcing on facebook before they had a chance to tell the other side of the family!
Even though its hard, try to keep the plans hush hush until the guest list has been hammered out between everyone involved. Some people may automatically assume that your conversation about “what the dress looks like, or where the event will be” means they are invited.
As the plans are finalized be careful not to tell guests too many details about the event. The couple has worked hard to create a unique experience for guests, so do not give the fun away or allow for your ideas to be stolen. Also by divulging information you open yourself up to the opinions of others, which might spoil the excitement if its not received well.
How to be Helpful and Not Harmful:
If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. This is not the time or the place to voice your anger towards other guests at the wedding. Chances are everyone already knows how you feel anyways. Instead politely request that you be seated on the other side of the room from those you can not be around. If you have to vent about anything or anyone related to the wedding do it far far far away from the couple and anyone else you want to enjoy the celebration. Remember letting the negatives bother you only keeps you and those around you from enjoying the positives.
Take a Step Back: If the Bride or Groom is stressed your first instincts might be to help, but what if you are the one causing the stress? Over the years I have witnessed countless Momzilla's & wedding party members giving their opinions and taking charge, oblivious to the fact that the Bride and Groom are ready to strangle them. Caught up in the moment you may make decisions based on what you think or what you would want. Before you jump the gun and do something that could cause harm, stop and think “How would they like this to be done, and what can I do to make things better for them?” Then ask! If they are smart enough to choose a partner in life they are smart enough to know how your help is needed most.
Do Not Get In Over Your Head: If you know that you do not have the time to hand write every address on envelopes do not agree to it. No matter how badly you want to make the couple happy, it will only end in disaster. Instead, come up with helpful solutions like hiring a calligrapher or printing labels. You may have to be the bad guy at first, but at least it wont blow up in your face later.
If you do decide to help with a project, RESPECT DEADLINES! Guests are going to be late responding to everything, they probably wont purchase gifts off the registry and a few will even try to bring guests that are not invited to the event. Do not be one of those annoying guests. If the couple asks something of you and you give your word, do it in a timely fashion and with respect to the guidelines you were given. If they have to ask you several times if something was taken care of, they might as well have done it themselves. You would never act like that to your co-workers or your boss so just because it's them doesn't make it OK.
How to Enjoy the Event: Having to set up a wedding and tear it down is exhausting. Keeping track of all the vendors while trying not to miss a second of the special moments is impossible. Consider hiring a wedding coordinator or find out if your location offers one. By removing the work from the wedding day you can relax and stay positive, which is how the couple will want you to be.
Dance Even If You Hate It: Guests will follow your lead and you can sit once the floor is packed!
Be the Last Guests to Leave: Make sure the bills were paid, the gifts are all packed up and the guests got home alright. It also allows you to savor the last moments of the day. I envision Steve Martin in Father of the Bride sitting alone with the last champagne, confetti in his hair, reflecting on the day and everything that made it happen, and if my memory suites me, after he recalls all the meltdowns and chaos he remembers how beautiful his wife looked and how happy his daughter was, and at the end he sheds a few tears then smiles proudly.
Series II Wedding Party Guidelines coming out Wednesday 1.19.11