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 guest...like 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?