Wedding Recap and Withdrawal

How to be a great wedding guest...based on my experience as a bride

After our wedding just a few weeks ago, I've been reflecting a lot on many of the things I really valued in our guests. A lot of them are things I never would have guessed before the wedding. And I'm glad I've had this experience, so now I know how to be a really great guest in the future!

  • Yes, the bride (and possibly her betrothed as well) wants help with all those arts & crafts projects. Even if she doesn't ask, she wants help. She will love you forever and ever if you tell her you want to come over and help fold seating cards or stuff envelopes. I personally will be making a point to offer an afternoon of help to every one of my friends who gets married in the future. The one friend who did this for me (and did it several times, in fact) is now one of my favorite people in the world. Seriously.
  • If the RSVP card says "initial your choice of entree", that means you should actually write your initials. Not just "1" next to one entree for you, and "1" next to another entree for your date.  Which is which??? What do I tell the caterer???
  • And other tip on RSVP cards...send it back, even if you're a close family member. Even if you're in the wedding party. Somebody is probably using those cards as the sole way to track the RSVPs (and the dinner choices). Even if you're the mother of the bride...pretty please send back the card.
  • Speaking of arts & crafts projects, chances are extremely good that the engaged couple spent hours and hours on at least one project. Probably it's something that you won't even notice as a those cut-paper doilies under every plate. Little do you know that those were made from a Martha Stewart Weddings magazine project idea, and each doily took 45 minutes, and the scissors gave them blisters on their fingers. Ask around (quietly) to find out what they slaved over, and then make a point of complimenting it. (We spent probably two hours on each program when all was said and done. By the end of it, I was saying "I don't give a shit about the dress anymore. I just want compliments on these frakking programs." Guess how many compliments we got on the programs? None. If just one person had said how nice the programs were, I swear I would have kissed them and given them my bouquet. Compliment the arts & crafts...for real.)
  • Ok, one more thing about arts & crafts. Even if you don't actually like the program (and I can live with that), pleeeease don't toss it on the ground or in a trashcan. Pretend you like it. Put it gently on a table somewhere and then quietly abandon it. Seeing a torn program on the ground with a footprint across it just about broke my heart.
  • Come watch the cake cutting. Yes, it's boring. Yes, nobody actually cares about the cake cutting. We know you're bored. Come watch it anyway because it will mean so much to us to have you be part of the moment.
  • Even if you don't watch the cake cutting, at least stay until it's over. Unless you have an actually serious reason you need to leave. But otherwise please try to stay...we paid so much darn money to have this party. Please stay for as long as you possibly can. We want to enjoy every minute with you.
  • After the ceremony, ask (when there's a moment) to see the new wedding band. I was so excited about my new band and not one person asked to see it at the reception. I wasn't going to shove it in people's faces but I would have loved to have been asked to show it off, just a little.
  • Be a good sport and come dance with the new couple if they specifically ask you to join them on the dance floor. We had a lot of friends who refused to get up and join us for even one song. It was a real bummer. We were so happy they were at the wedding, and we wanted to party and be happy with them...but they refused to dance with us, even when we went over and begged them one-on-one. I know I might get some flak for this from people who will say "Some folks just don't like to dance...why should they force themselves?" But it's not about the dancing. It's about spending time together as friends. So truly, just get up and dance. Or if you absolutely refuse to dance, say "Let's take a moment instead to share a glass of wine together", or "Let's take some photos together", or something else that will communicate that you want to spend a moment with them. We were so saddened by our friends who just sat and wouldn't come dance or hang out with us.I'm sure they didn't mean to be hurtful, but that's how it ended up.  I'm now determined not to do this to any of my friends in the future at their weddings, even unwittingly. 
  • Say goodbye before you leave. Especially if you came far away. There were several people who left without telling me, probably because they didn't want to interrupt...but I wanted so much to give them another hug and thank them again for coming. I wish I could have. 
Those were my big "aha" moments regarding things I had never realized would make such a difference for the new couple. I wish someone had told me these things long ago, but at least now I know for all my friends' weddings in the future.

I'm sure there are tons more I missed...any others from the community?

Re: How to be a great wedding guest...based on my experience as a bride

  • I agree with you on the dancing and saying goodbye. I'm not a crafter so I never offer to help with that. As far as the programs and doilies, well nobody will ever value them as much as you. I agree with @Shrekspeare that the excessive effort you put into them is to satisfy yourself only. As far as your ring, that's a shame. I am a jewelry whore so thief first thing I look at is The Ring.
  • I'm sorry you got your feelings hurt over your programs, but really? Nobody cares about the programs. Nobody apart from maybe the bride's mother will keep theirs. They're so much garbage after the ceremony's over. Which is probably why I didn't give even half a shit about mine. We spent about five minutes picking a preprinted cover and then I let my mom type up the actual content. Because people are going to leave them, toss them, destroy them. They're just programs.
  • I also find it strange that you have been a member of the knot for a year and the only thing you bothered to post about regarding your wedding was the lack of self validation you got.
  • kmmssgkmmssg mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited May 2014

    double post

  • My experience as a bride differs from yours.  I had one craft project that I worked on a lot- goofy crepe paper roses.  In the end, they got left in the getting-ready room and never made it to the ceremony or reception but I didn't notice until days afterward.

    I had a ton of fun at my wedding and, not to sound self-centered, I didn't really notice what my guests were up to.  I loved dancing with the guests who did dance but I didn't note which guests chose to hang out together off the dance floor.  Nobody asked to see my wedding band and that was fine too.  A bunch of people "Irish goodbyed" and I didn't care.  All I could focus on was dancing, drinking, smooching my new husband and the general chaos of a fantastic time.

    As for me, being a bride has taught me to be a more conscientious guest in terms of getting RSVPs in on time and trying not to bother the bride with too many questions that I could easily solve (ex: don't ask the bride for directions to the venue when you can just Google it).  I wasn't a boorish guest before but being a bride has just reaffirmed for me the importance of being a good guest.
  • I expected my programs to be stepped on, ripped, thrown away and left on chairs in the ceremony space and I didnt really care. I worked hard on them but who is really going to want to take home a wedding program? Some ppl I am sure did so as not to be rude but frankly most guests dont give a crap about them about the ceremony ends. We just did them as a way to recognize everyone by name, remember the ones who passed and write thank yous for the Bms, Gms & parents (who also got thank you cards as well)
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • My programmes took me less than an hour to design, about an hour to print, and about 20 minutes to fold.

    I did them ONLY because people kept fretting to me about the order of a Catholic Mass.

    I got TONS of compliments on them, which surprised me. I was like, 'But they're just MS Publisher programmes...?'

    I always ask to see the bling because I like jewellery. I always send back RSVP cards because it's the right thing to do.

    I generally do not dance and don't enjoy being in the middle of s group dance. I don't watch the cake cutting up close and personal because I don't see the point. I say goodbye because it's polite.

    I generally offer to help with whatever people need for their weddings, but it depends on my friends. Super 'Zilla friends? No offer to help because I know it will be too stressful.

    I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'
    NilDap2014[Deleted User]
  • OP, I think maybe your tone isn't translating too well. It mostly sounded to me like you just felt a bit let down that some of the things you were most excited about (dancing with people) or most proud of (the effort spent on decor, etc.) went unappreciated. Or at least, less obviously appreciated than you might have hoped. 

    Look, guys, weddings are a big expense for a lot of people. They involve a ton of planning choices, many of which are deeply personal. Doesn't mean it all will be your taste or even be noticed by you. But "frills" like programs and favors and decorations are still an investment in the guests. They are there for you to enjoy and appreciate, just as much as the food or seating. So I can see why somebody might feel hurt if all that extra work goes completely unacknowledged.
  • That being said, I disagree about the arts and crafts. I'm picky enough about my OWN work, the last thing I want to do is babysit somebody else! 
    But I do appreciate sincere offers of help, which is, I guess, my interpretation of what the OP was actually getting at. If you want to volunteer to help me set up tables or hang bows or lay out tablecloths or run pick up XYZ at the store or grab the rental chairs or bring me coffee while I'm swearing around a mouthful of bobby pins, I will love you forever.
  • GiaspoGiaspo member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited June 2014
    All I wanted was to get married to the man I love and for my guests to have a good time. A genuine "I had a great time" meant more to me than a prefabricated "I love your programs". 

    Oh and the reason I DIY'd my paper stuff was because I knew it'd get thrown away, and even so, the menus took hours. The unnecessary details were for me to love and for others to know the order of the ceremony and what was for dinner. Please, it sounds like you had a wonderful wedding. Don't dwell on this stuff that you can't control.
  • I'm sure all of your diy stuff was beautiful. But unless you tell someone you made them, the probably thought you bought them. Like another pp said, unfortunately no one will appreciate any diy project you did as much as you will. I'm sure they appreciated the beauty of them though. In regards to your ring, I didn't have anyone ask to look at my ring either. I think to most people it's a ring. I think it's actually rude to ask to see the ring because it makes me feel like I'm into the materialistic part of the wedding, which I'm not. And not to be rude, if people knew you were doing these projects & didn't ask to help, it's because they didn't want to. Not everyone has the time & likes doing crafts. In regards to the RSVP and saying goodbye, I agree with you 100%
  • OP - I started a long post and had a point for each of your topics.  However, the main theme of each was that I whole-heartedly disagree with them. Be happy your guests showed up and you married your best friend.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • I enjoyed the post :)<3
  • Maybe I'm weird, but I actually do take the program home... I'll throw it away later as I'm cleaning out my purse or something, but I wouldn't ever just throw it on the ground. I can totally relate to your arts and crafts woes, it's so true that people will not volunteer to help.  I'm currently planning our wedding reception decor for the end of May, and because I know no one will volunteer to help, that's going to be what I work on all winter long.. hahah maybe one of my friends will say hey, I'm going to come help you with this today... and if so, I will as you said love them forever.
  • In regards to:
    • Yes, the bride (and possibly her betrothed as well) wants help with all those arts & crafts projects. Even if she doesn't ask, she wants help. She will love you forever and ever if you tell her you want to come over and help fold seating cards or stuff envelopes.
    We are currently in the stage of almost not having enough time to finish our centerpieces and other DIY projects, and I have had many, many people tell me that they want to help, but I haven't taken a single one of them up on the offer. I know exactly how I want everything to look, and I'm too much of a control freak to hand that off to someone else other than my FI. Luckily, he feels the same way.

    Not every bride will accept your offer to help.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Yikes, your wishlist makes me think that I came off as a totally chill bride! My only ask of people was to not complain to me about anything on the day of. (I of course never voiced that out loud, just hoping that people would refrain from doing so, but they didn't). For example, apparently there was an issue with one of our shuttles getting lost for about five minutes on the way to the ceremony and I swear, at least 15 guests felt the need to tell me about it later in the day and throughout the night...It made me feel embarrassed each time and slightly irritated that my guests would complain...especially after I went to great lengths to ensure they were taken care of for the weekend. Other than that - everyone was awesome!
  • Weddings require hundreds of man-hours & buckets of money! I do not think you are being unreasonable at all in hoping that people will show appreciation for the things you put all that time & energy into. Although you can't require your guests do any of the things you listed it certainly would make you a great wedding guest, as you said.
  • Last wedding I went to, I read over the programme before the ceremony started, and put it in my purse.

    The next day I took it out, glanced over it again, and put it in the wastecan, at my home.

    I would love to see the bride's rings, but I feel I would be intruding if I asked. Brides always seem to be kissing or dancing with their new hubbies, drinking with their friends or hugging their relatives.

    Usually I am already on the dance floor! I'm the one requesting songs of the DJ that the bride probably doesn't want played!

  • OP it depends on how well people know you or how you convey things to them. my cousin never showed her ring once (posts online included) so we never did see what her ring looked like and never asked because we all loved her dress or we didnt feel comfortable asking to see it. 

    as for programs i honestly dont remember what happened to my cousins from november. they're something that may get tossed in front of you or in private but dont get hissy about it. 

    i am terrible at dancing so i avoided the dance floor at my cousins wedding. but for mine ill probably be out there having a good time. 
  • When people ask me for advice when planning a wedding I say don't spend so much time on the crafts... no one notices. I loved how everything turned out, but if I were to do it again, I would gain back hours of my life and avoid the projects that no one even noticed!

    I had plenty of people dancing through out the night that I didn't go and ask anyone. I did enjoy my table visits to at least get a quick hello and hug with every single person. Some people left without saying good bye and it bummed me out if I knew I wasn't going to see them again for awhile!

    I think when a dance floor is packed it adds so much fun to the night. H and I are usually on the dance floor for 90% of the night! Partly for us because we love dancing with each other, and partly for the B&G, we like to show how much fun we are having on their big day.

  • AlePeezy2013AlePeezy2013 member
    10 Comments Second Anniversary
    edited January 2015
    Made my table numbers, decorations and favors by hand. We literally made coasters as our favors, with our engagement pics on them. Made 42, came home with 20. It's cool, my new coworkers have them on their desks and our parents wanted entire sets. And I have super cute coasters at home. 

    Did a chalkboard sign for the "program". Seriously that would have been a waste of paper.

    I feel you about the compliments. But at the end of the day, my husband and I rode off into the sunset after spending the best day with our family and friends. <3 
  • I get the sentiment you are trying to give OP, but unfortunately, a lot of it I think you have to let go and cannot expect. 

    My advice to brides is also not to spend time worrying about the small stuff, because honestly no one cares. I do keep programs, because I'm sentimental and like reminders of events and people. But decor during the reception, I notice it myself, and think "Oh, that's nice" but it is not what's important, so it's easy to gloss over. I'm also not a crafter, so I wouldn't offer to help with these things, nor as a bride did I expect anyone to help me with anything. Granted, when I had a snafu with my wedding dress, my MOH stepped up big time and helped me out with stuff I didn't even know to ask for. I was so overwhelmed I didn't know what to do, she was the one who said we are doing X,Y,Z and I appreciated that. 

    I always ask my friends to see their rings, but I would do this at some time other than the wedding, the wedding itself is usually busy with other things.

    I agree with you about the RSVPs 100%. We also had people put one chicken, one beef. We did a lot of asking "hey, which one of you wanted what?". 

    I always try to watch the cake cutting, but the problem I find is guests don't want to get too close because of photos, so people tend to stay in their chairs- that doesn't mean they aren't watching.

    Saying good bye I can agree with. You can't enforce it of course, but I always like to say good bye to people, no matter what the event is. 

  • I don't dance. I didn't dance at my first wedding, I will not dance on my next wedding, and I will certainly not dance at other people's.
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