Bridal Rant #3: Wedding Etiquette for Guests – or – Putting the d___ in D-list.

From Cris: Raise your hand if you LOVED real bride-to-be Liz Lewis's first bridal rant? How about her second? Well, brace yourself, y'all – She's baaack!

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From Liz: Given that I've already ranted about the newlyweds and the family members, there's really one group left (Ok, two, if you count vendors. Why is it so hard to get them to call you back when you're trying to GIVE THEM MONEY? But, I digress.): guests.

Someone in your life has asked you to graciously be a part of their special day. Now what? Naturally, I have the answers for you! And now, how to avoid a guest faux pas:

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Image Courtesy of: Dang Orange

R. S. V. Freaking P. I've read old-school etiquette guidelines that say you'd better have a damn good reason to skip a wedding - and that you'd better let the couple know exactly what that reason is. Personally, I don't think you have to give anyone a reason why you can't go (though if it's a close friend or family member, it might be nice to do). People have conflicts. No biggie. However, do the couple the courtesy of letting them know ASAP.

No joke, I sent out our first batch of 20-some invitations and, within a few days of the "reply by" date, had received four responses. FOUR.

Return postage was paid for and you could RSVP online. Could. not. be. easier. So, we had to recruit someone to hunt down everyone and ask for a response. Only two of the non-responders were even considering coming.

Again, whether or not you're coming isn't the issue. Either way, let the couple know in a timely manner if you've already made your decision. Not responding to an invitation to a wedding you have no intention of attending is just plain rude. Ditto for showing up without an RSVP.

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Image Courtesy of: My Tucson Wedding

No, the couple did not forget to invite your kids/boyfriend of two weeks/random guest. If they're not on the invitation, they're not invited. End of story.

Excluding +1s/kids is an argument that will likely never be settled, but that's not the issue at hand. If they didn't invite them, there's a reason, and it's not your place to insist otherwise. If it makes you that mad, don't come (just send that RSVP, please).

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Image Courtesy of: Joesan Photo

Keep photographs during the ceremony to the ABSOLUTE minimum unless the couple requests otherwise. Weddings I've been to lately end up looking like the couple is being assaulted by paparazzi, not to mention there's a whole subset of digital camera users who cannot seem to figure out how to shut off the happy little noises their camera makes every. single. time. they take a picture. Don't even get me started on the guests who jump into the aisle to get a close-up of the newlyweds as they're trying to walk down the aisle or the guy who spent five minutes loudly rewinding his old-school 35mm camera so he could reload IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CEREMONY. I can't make this stuff up.

I get it, you're happy and want to document the moment and share it with all your besties. Regardless, when a bunch of  attendees are snapping away, it's really disruptive. If you're busy messing with your camera, you're not paying any attention to the reason for the whole gathering – two people are joining together as a family. It's a big moment and shouldn't be ruined by 100+ cameras.

Wait for the couple to share the professional digitals, and save your camera for the reception.

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Image Courtesy of: Zazzle

If the couple wants you to hang out at their house, they'll invite you. During the week of their wedding, it's likely the one place where they can relax and regroup, not to mention it probably will look like Michael's threw up tulle and DIYed crafts all over the place (just me?). We've had people invite themselves for house tours, a place to get ready, even STAY with us the weekend of our wedding - when the last thing this frantic bride wants to deal with is entertaining house guests and cleaning bathrooms right before the big day. Unless you're offering to help, don't assume it's "no big deal" for you to drop by, and just because it's too stressful for them to have you over at that time doesn't mean they hate seeing you. It's not about you.

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Image Courtesy of: Sarawak Report

Weddings are not the time for you to spend lots of quality time with the bride and/or the groom. They're going to be running around like chickens with their heads cut off, so if you're going to the wedding expecting an awesome reunion with lots of time to hang out and visit - you're probably going to be disappointed. Work on scheduling another visit if it's that important to see them for any significant length of time. Asking them to visit with you at the expense of their other guests is unfair to everyone, especially the bride and groom.

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Image Courtesy of: She Knows

If you're anti-registry, don't buy off it. Heck, don't even look at it. Just because someone registered doesn't mean they're a selfish rube. Many couples just don't need the basics anymore and are actually getting the chance to upgrade the junk they've hung onto since their first apartment. And, with completion discounts, chances are the couple has a few big-ticket items on there that they do not expect anyone to actually buy them. This does not make them deserving of the wrath of the anti-registry contingent that seems to crab often and loudly. Having a registry does not mean they're even expecting a gift at all. If it makes you that mad, don't come. (RSVP!)

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Image Courtesy of: MD Turner Photography

Just because you *heart* dollar dances/garter tossing/the electric slide/cake smashing/(insert other "tradition" here) doesn't mean the couple wants it at THEIR wedding. Again, the whole point is that two people are getting married. This bride is about to post a list of traditional wedding things we're NOT doing on our website so everyone can get pissed at once. Frankly, if you're the type where not witnessing some random and, in the end, basically meaningless wedding-esque occurrence will ruin the whole event for you, stay home. (Say it all together now! R! S! V! P!)

Unless you are a) the bride or b) the groom, the day's not about you.

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Image Courtesy of: Wedinator

Don't be *that* guy. Unless otherwise specified by the bride and groom, this includes but is not limited to: no goldfish swallowing, no grinding on grandma, no obvious drunken groping, and NO JEANS.

Questions? You know where to find me. 🙂