weddings 101

How To Be A Good Wedding Guest

If one could be a professional wedding guest, Jen Doll would be an industry expert. She has attended her share of weddings, from week-long destination celebrations to intimate city hall ceremonies, and shares her nuptial-related tales (some witty, some woeful) in her book Save the Date: The Occasional Mortifications of a Serial Wedding Guest. Here, the seasoned wedding guest offers her best tips for preventing embarrassing yourself at a wedding–while still having a bit of fun while you’re at it!

1. Check your drama at the door. Maybe you’re envious of your friend because you’re single and she’s getting married, or maybe you and your significant other had a huge blowout the night before the wedding. Whatever personal drama is getting you down, Doll advises that you talk it out with friend–or therapist–before you get to the wedding. Repressed feelings plus free alcohol are a toxic combo and before you know it, your entire table could be privy to the details of your personal life. You have the right to feel whatever you’re feeling, but don’t bring your emotional baggage as your plus-one.

2. Kiss with caution! Weddings are great places for singletons to hook up with sexy strangers, but make sure you’re not crossing any boundaries by choosing an inappropriate smooching partner. “Maybe your one true love is indeed the bride’s brother, but if you’re going to get into any sort of complicated family situation, you may not want to do that at the wedding itself,” says Doll. It’s also wise to investigate someone’s relationship status before inviting him or her to a round of tonsil hockey in the parking lot.

3. Don’t skip dinner. If you indulge in the glory of an open bar on an empty stomach, you’re guaranteed to find yourself waking up with more than just a hangover the next morning–and painkillers are powerless antidotes for regret or mortification. Avoid embarrassing yourself by knowing your drink limit (and sticking to it) and making sure that you eat throughout the evening, whether it’s a sit-down dinner or a reception with multiple food stations. “Don’t get swept away with the excitement and forget to consume food that is going to keep you from getting drunk,” says Doll. Failing to do so can lead to some ugly etiquette faux pas by the end of the night.

4. Give appropriately. Doll acknowledges that guests and couples alike can get wrapped up in the delicate issue of gift giving and risk putting too much emphasis on the “right” amount to spend. Guests might feel that they need to give more generously because the couple is serving lobster and filet mignon, and some couples adopt this quid pro quo mentality, too: We’ve all heard horror stories of Bridezillas berating their guests for giving them inadequate gifts, or no gifts all, and feel put out because they paid for that guest to have a meal and didn’t get what they were expecting in return. “I don’t think the people getting married or the guests should be so focused on the dollar amount,” says Doll. “You care about these people–and if you don’t care about them, you shouldn’t go to their wedding–so you want to give them something nice that they’re going to enjoy together. Don’t give them something for five dollars, but don’t feel you have to go over $100 if you don’t have that much money.”

Image: Mango Studios

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