wedding etiquette

it’s wedding season. seems like every weekend there’s a wedding. people can be really, really sensitive about weddings. one minute you think you’re going to celebrate a partnership, the next minute you’re the most unpopular person in the room and you don’t know why. suddenly you’re that person - the one no one wants to talk to after dessert, the recipient of dirty looks from the bridesmaids in the bathroom, the one they snipe about over facebook the next day, the one who gets dis-invited to the next major event.


sometimes, sure, it’s unavoidable. weddings do make people weird. but the cold hard truth is that oftentimes you are that person at a wedding because you’ve forgotten the one golden wedding rule when you’re a guest at one:


the wedding is NOT about YOU.


it sucks to be that person. i don’t want you to be that person. this summer then, minimize your risk of being that person. here are 5 simple ways to check yourself:


1. read the envelope

there is no drama like wedding guest list drama. and i’m amazed it happens as often as it does. do you or don’t you bring a guest to the wedding? it’s not actually up to you. the problem is that you’re focusing on the reply card. the reply card is standard for everyone: there’s a line for your name and a line for a guest’s name. but it’s not the reply card that indicates whether or not you’re allowed a guest - that’s what the envelope is for. did the invitation come addressed to you? just “joe johnson”? or did it read “joe johnson & guest”? if it did not read “joe johnson & guest”, you don’t get to RSVP with a +1. but, but, but! you’d love to take your girlfriend of 6 months to the wedding; it’ll be a fun night out! really? the wedding is NOT about YOU. did you forget?


2. don’t wear white

i know you love that dress you just bought for half price online that no one else will have. i know it flatters your arms, and you’ve been working so hard on them all year. i totally believe you about how beautifully your hair will fall around your shoulders, accentuating your tan. but here’s the problem: it’s white and you’re not the one getting married. it’s true that some brides don’t care. and you may have even asked your friend, the bride, and she encouraged you to do it, to wear it, whatever you want. but even if the bride doesn’t care, her mother might. or her sister. or her best friend. or some random other guest who was upstaged at her own wedding by a girl who decided to wear white and still isn’t over it. that’s the girl who’ll be talking about it from the minute you step into the church to the very end of the night, AND on twitter the next day. maybe you’re strong enough not to care about what other people are saying. but they’re still saying it about you on a day when it’s NOT about YOU. can’t you find somewhere else to wear that dress?


3. it’s not open mic night

unless you’ve been asked to make a speech, which means you’re either a parent of the bride and groom, or the best man or maid of honour, that microphone is off-limits. there’s a reason why late night comedy shows write sketches about people who hijack the stage at weddings. people keep hijacking the stage at weddings. like fools.  a wedding is not where you conquer your fear of public speaking. a wedding is not where you try out that comedy routine. i promise you - you are actually LESS funny at a wedding than you are in your head. please also don’t gift the couple with a song and then sing it like a scene from glee, even if you have a beautiful voice. first of all because that’s a really arrogant gift and the gravy boat would have been better, and second because, let’s be honest, when you’re singing, you’re asking people to listen to you and compliment you, and then it becomes about YOU, and, again, you’re not the one getting married. sing yourself down the aisle on your wedding day if you have to, but until then, if other people are getting married, stay away from the mic.


4. it’s not a high school dance

weddings are undeniably romantic. it’s hard not to get carried away. people at weddings often get carried away on the dance floor with their tongues down someone else’s mouth, or straddling a stranger on the couch outside the ballroom. great aunt elsie has to walk by that couch on the way to the ladies’ room. it’s just…not very classy, you know? and if you’re old enough to be invited as a guest to someone’s wedding, you should be old enough to control your hormones. or at least, if you have to, jam yourself in the back of someone’s car far away from great aunt elsie. either way, you are behaving like an adolescent. and the thing about adolescents is that they are selfish. great aunt elsie is tutting about you with the other relatives because you selfishly wanted some of the bride and groom’s love, any way you could get it.


5. don’t re-gift the cake tray that was already re-gifted

or whatever it is that you received at your wedding/birthday/housewarming that you don’t want. re-gifting often comes with a mantra: “they’ll never know”. wrong. they know. they always know. because they don’t like it either. just because you got a re-gifted gift doesn’t mean you have to exact re-gifting revenge on someone else. unless of course you want to be known as the re-gifter at the gift opening party the next morning. re-gifted gifts don’t have to be paid forward. ironically though, a re-gifted gift, like an act of kindness, does eventually come back to you in one way, shape, or form. and that feeling will never go away. when you re-gift a gift it’s a little like telling a lie, isn’t it? it’s certainly not something you’re proud of. you feel dirty even thinking about it. and didn’t it make you feel kinda cheap too? kinda like the gift that keeps getting re-gifted? you can stop the cycle of re-gifting. everyone wins when you do.