Hello lovely reader, thank you for joining me for another long over-due insight into my thought process on all things wedding. Now, I’ll tell you up front, what I really wanted to call this blog post was “What the Bride Wants You to Know so that You Don’t Ruin/Mock/Overshadow/ What is Supposed to be Her Most Amazing Day that She and her Parents Have Spent Thousands of Precious, Hard-Earned Dollars On,” but that just seemed to long… Anyway, I digress.
If you find yourself invited to a fall wedding (or any wedding for that matter,) try to remember these tips to ensure a wonderful experience that you will provide the Bride & Groom on their wedding day.
It Ain’t All About You, Sister. My mom always told me not to say “ain’t,” but sometimes it just seems like the right kind of country word to get my point across. Now, I know you’re super excited to wear that new dress and sparkly new pumps that make your legs look a mile long, but seriously, this isn’t your day and you’re not the center of attention so don’t try to be. This is a day that the bride (who has graciously invited you might I add) gets to shine, so being loud or dressing like a hootchie so that everyone knows you’re there is just tacky. I’ve heard it 50 times if I’ve heard it once from a bride, “Did you see my first cousin? She’s dressed like a total jezebel!” Seriously, you do NOT want to be THAT girl. Or, maybe you’re dressed fine but you’re dancing like a jezebel with every single groom’s men, that’s not cool either, not only do you look bad but you make the couple look bad by association. Think about it.
Drink in Moderation. Really, please do. Not only will the couple be happy that you weren’t sloppy drunk, but I personally will be happy. I’ve had a few too many run in’s with beer being spilled on me and/or my equipment, and let me tell you that if you spill beer on my camera before I’m able to back up the pictures of the Bride & Groom from their first dance then it won’t just be me you’ll be dealing with, it’ll be the bride too and I don’t think she’ll be too stoked. If the Bride & Groom are offering an open bar, please remember two things: Drink responsibly and TIP YOUR BAR TENDERS!
Don’t Wear White. I don’t care how good you look in that little white ensemble, DON’T DO IT! It’s just ruuuuude!
Respect The Invitation. When that little white envelope came in the mail addressed only you and your spouse then the Bride and Groom probably decided for a variety of reasons that they didn’t want the company of your children at their wedding, only you. Something I often hear is that there just isn’t enough seating for everyone the bride & groom want to invite. Often a B&G will have an adult only reception to give themselves more room for other friends they’d like to invite instead of having children. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that this is THEIR day and this is they are inviting (and paying for) who they really want to share it with. Bringing your children to an adults only reception also puts the bride & groom in an awkward position to have to explain to other guests why your children could come but theirs could not… So remember, before you get offended that your children were not invited (and this includes your adult children too), someone else may have been cut so that YOU could be invited, don’t be those people that RSVPs the invited two but then shows up with five…
Respect the Invitation: PART TWO, She’s just not that into you. I have the distinct pleasure to arrive with the B&G to the wedding reception. I take their photographs as they enter the hall to the cheering and screaming of their friends and family, and then I typically make my way over to the head table as they are situating themselves and finding their seats. During these quick moments, I’ve several times heard, “There’s so-in-so, I thought we didn’t invite him?!” Turns out that Mr. So-in-So heard about the wedding from another friend and decided to come along anyway. This my friend is called a wedding crasher, and unlike the movie, there is nothing funny about it. Sometimes the person is there at the encouraging of an invited guest who says, “You can just squeeze in at our table,” OR, and this is pretty common, “My wife isn’t coming so you can take her place.” Can I tell you that while most brides and grooms are going to smile and welcome you, secretly they are NOT happy about you being there?! This is not my opinion; this is my EXPIERENCE from behind the scenes talking! Sometimes a bride and groom don’t invite someone NOT because there isn’t enough room but simply because they don’t know them well enough, or, and no, I’m NOT making this up, they just don’t like the person! If you are the invited person to a wedding, don’t show up with someone who you know that the bride and groom know but didn’t invite, it’s awkward for the couple and just plain tacky. Now, if your invite said, Mr. You and Guest, then it’s ok to bring a guest, but please, avoid the awkwardness and respect exactly what the invitation says.
Be on Time! Picture this… Beautiful bride on the arm of her adoring father, walking down the aisle in a moment she has envisioned her entire life…. And there you are, in the background of her picture, walking in not only late, but right behind her. If you’re going to be late, let the bride get down the aisle before you come struttin’ in and ruining her moment.
If You RSVP, Show Up, If You Can’t, Let The Couple Know. True story. Things happen, and sometimes long after you’ve RSVP’d you realize you can’t make it. If this happens to you just call the Bride & Groom and let them know, most Brides & Grooms have a list of “backups” (Hey, I don’t make the rules, I just report them…) that they can invite last minute. Don’t not show, and don’t give your invitation to someone that wasn’t invited as the Bride & Groom hand selected you and may have someone in mind to take your place if you cannot make it.
Don’t Monopolize the Couple’s Time at The Reception. You’ve traveled a long way, brought a gift, and didn’t wear white, that deserves something, right?! Your reward will be being remembered by the couple as a wedding guest with wonderful wedding manners. Go ahead, take a few minutes to mingle with the newlyweds, tell her how gorgeous she looks and tell him what a lucky guy he is, but keep it simple. If the couple has 200 guests at the wedding and they spend just five minutes with each person that equals the average length of FOUR WEDDING RECEPTIONS! Oy! Remember that the couple needs to enjoy their reception as much as anyone else but most couples average no more than two dances together because they want to have face time with everyone who has been kind enough to give up their Saturday night to come celebrate!
Shake That Money Maker! Yeah, that’s right, I said it, when you hear Sir-Mix-A lot, get out on that floor and shake that booty baby! The bride and groom what to see their guests having a spectacular time so get out there and dance the night away! DJ’s average (in our area) around $700 per reception so don’t leave that dance floor empty, go make the DJ earn his money!
Photography isn’t cheap. Well, depending on the experience of the photographer it can be, but that is a different post altogether. Anyway, as the photographer I am there to document the day of the couple, including but not limited to the details, the families, the decorations and details. What I’m not there to do try to work around people who have a need to be in every photo. Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE you party animals out there, you ALWAYS make for AWESOME pictures that I get to give back to the bride and groom, but keep it real man! Case in point: I was once shooting a couple during their first dance when out of no-where another couple who were guests, come waltzing up on the dance floor. Now, the B&G hardly even noticed, but I, the one with the camera totally noticed! There I was, trying to capture something I had been paid a lot of money to photograph and here’s this crazy couple dancing in my view! I re-positioned myself to get shots of just the b&g when again, out of nowhere, this couple is not only in my view but literally blocking my view of the couple all together! After moving one last time I realized that this couple was following me, trying to get their picture taken! The lady kept throwing her head back laughing with her husband as if she wanted me to capture a beautiful “candid” moment of the two of them. I just couldn’t believe that they would be so inconsiderate to not only dance during the couple’s first dance, but try to monopolize the camera time when it was clearly a special part of the day that I was hired to document! At almost every wedding I have someone following me around trying to get in as many pictures as possible and (maybe I’m crazy but) I have no problem with that at all! That person is there because they are special to the couple so I don’t mind a bit. What I do mind are guests who try to take my attention away from the happy couple when they’re having a special moment. Photography isn’t cheap and I only get one shot at it…
Father Said What?! Have you ever wondered why photographers rarely use flash during the ceremony? Aside from most of us preferring not to unless we absolutely have to, many churches ban it all together. If you’re planning on photographing the ceremony please respect the rules of the church, and for Pete’s sake, don’t step out in the isle for great “close up” for the bride when she’s walking down with her dad, that’s what she paid her photographer for and you may end up ruining her professional shots!
This Isn’t Your Party, When It Is, You Can Request All the I.C.P You Want!
Really people, Insane Clown Posse isn’t appropriate for most weddings so please don’t request the entire I.C.P catalog to the DJ. Not only that but typically speaking, the reception play list has been planned out for weeks so you’re requesting 40 of your favorite songs probably isn’t realistic.
Don’t Show Up Empty Handed. Really, I know, bad economy, you’re broke, you had to spend a million dollars in gas to get here, your new outfit cost you your whole paycheck, yada yada yada. Now, just because a B&G shells out $50 for you to eat at their reception doesn’t mean that you should skip paying your gas bill in the dead of winter in order to buy them a gift, but it does mean that at the very least you should bring a heartfelt card, even if it’s empty. A bride would much rather know that you took five minutes to think of her then to go through her cards and realize that you were too cheap to spend $3 to say “Congrats!” Just do it, don’t be “that guy.”
Last But Certainly Not Least: Don’t take the centerpieces unless they’re offered, and seriously, don’t ask for one. Many brides actually rent their centerpieces from halls or decorators, so when you take one off the table they end up having to pay for it. Other brides pre-plan who they will be giving the centerpieces to as parting gifts. Many brides that give them away select parents, grandparents, siblings, and bridal party attendants to receive the centerpieces as a “
thank you.” Just keep that in mind when you’re eyeing that amazing vase of peacock feathers and rhinestones that you just KNOW would look amazing in your boudoir!
Well folks, that’s it, all the things the bride wants you to know but is too polite to tell you. I hope you weren’t offended, but if you were just remember that these are words direct from the mouths of my brides over the years so take this as a lesson on how to be a fantastic guest!