This Post is For Everyone . . . Not Just Brides!!This is for YOU and yours, regardless of age, sex, race, . . . and all that other stuff. Each and every one of us puts on a wedding guest hat at some time or other. Whether you have never attended a wedding or have attended dozens, you probably never thought about your responsibilities as a a guest at this sacred, dreamed-about, once-in-a-lifetime event that the bride, groom and their parents more than likely have been planning for a long time.
Just ask yourself how considerate you have been in the past and try to step up your manners at the next one with the following:
- Return that response card (this is a very important detail) indicating that you will or will not attend this special event. Note: some couples today opt to ask for your response via their website. This is just as important as a response card would be.
- If you cannot attend, perhaps the families will understand, but a gift IS in order. And, this gift needs to be ordered, sent, or taken as soon as possible. We hear the rule of thumb is within a year, but hey, who remembers to do it after a week or so? With online registries these days, it is as simple as going to one of the couple's chosen registries, selecting something that they need or want within your price range, providing a credit card, clicking and it's done.
- If there is any way possible you can attend, DO! These families did not send you an invitation out of courtesy, they really do want you there. And, from personal experience, I know how much it means for so many friends and family members to be present at this time. I tell my brides and their moms and dads, "this probably is the only time so many of your friends and family members will be in one place at one time because you have invited them." Perhaps their funerals, but who cares about that?? It really IS a special time for them, and should be for you too. This being said, Mark your calendar so you don't forget the time and date.
- Make any necessary travel and hotel accommodations soon. This is your responsibility as well as any expenses incurred. The family will probably provide this if you are a member of the wedding party, but is not responsible otherwise.
- Plan to be at the ceremony about 30 minutes before the time stated on the invitation! That time shown is the time the processional should be starting, and you don't want to interrupt the processional or have to wait until after the processional to make your entry. This is quite distracting.
- Don't bring gifts to the wedding if you can avoid it. This responsibility should have already been taken care of. If you haven't done it before the wedding, wait until the next week and take care of it. That works out much better for the moms and dads who always have tons of bags, left-over cake, , guest book, flowers and any props used during the reception to load into their cars. All this with gifts makes it very difficult for families at the end of the reception. And, gifts at the ceremony or reception can get lost sometimes, or cards can get separated from their respective gifts.
- If the line is backed up at the entrance because of guests signing the guest book, try to go ahead and get seated. You can always sign the guest book at the reception. Don't knock anyone down or step on toes, just be seated as quickly as possible.
- Either leave infants at home with a sitter or sit in a provided area for guests with small children. If a nursery is being provided for the ceremony, that is usually stated in the invitation. The reception is different. Children are usually a refreshing and fun addition.
- After the ceremony, leave and get to the reception as quickly as possible if the invitation states that the reception follows the ceremony. Don't wait for the wedding party and don't stick around and socialize. You can do this at the reception. Don't try to run any errands or stop for a quick cup of coffee in between.
- Have a fun evening. This is the purpose of the reception, and that's what your host wants more than anything. Remember that the bride and groom are the guests of honor and the entire event revolves around them. Don't rush or crowd them, but at some point during the event, try to speak to them, thanking them for their invitation and wishing them well in their new lives. It's nice also to find the host and hostess as listed on your invitation and thank them for such a fun evening before departing.