It’s wedding season and venues up and down the country are decked out and ready to host all manner of memorable days.
Whether you’ve scored the guest sweet spot (you’re invited to the full shebang with plenty of friends but you don’t have duties e.g. bridesmaid or guest book guardian) or you’re going to a different wedding every other weekend this summer, be the perfect guest with these essential dos and don’ts.
Let the happy couple know you’ll be attending (or not) as soon as you can so that they can include you in their plans. This will also save the embarrassment of forgetting to reply and turning up anyway only to find your name’s nowhere on the seating plan.
Check whether your invitation includes a plus one (bringing a guest isn’t a given), and make a note of when the wedding starts so that you can turn up on time or, better still, a little early. You don’t want to be squeezing past the bride as she walks down the aisle.
The cost of attending a wedding can soon spiral but giving a gift, no matter how small, is the right thing to do. If there’s a gift list, take a look at it sooner rather than later or you’ll be buying tea towels and any other lone items left lagging after the rush.
If you can’t spare much, putting extra thought into it (like picking something that references the year they met) counts for a lot. Or you could make them some homemade jam? Yeah, probably best not.
What to wear
Check the dress code (black tie, smart caj, fancy dress…) then pick something suitable. No dress code? Then opt for fairly formal and appropriate to the venue. White’s a no-no – you don’t want to be mistaken for the bride – and avoid anything that’s going to dominate in the photos.
Whatever you choose, make sure it’s looking sharp with a quick steam beforehand.
Fool proof small talk
‘Great day for it’, ‘doesn’t she look lovely’, ‘didn’t we meet at the hen/stag do?’ – by all means start with tried and tested openers, but have a few new ones to hand for when the conversation stalls.
Pay a compliment (‘nice shoes!’), tell a cute story about the bride or groom (keep it short and clean), or whip out a fun fact that’s apt for the day. Steer clear of politics, divorce statistics and the nightmare that was your journey getting there and you’ll be grand.
It can feel like forever before you’re eating anything substantial at a wedding. The so-called wedding breakfast can be served late into the afternoon and if the speeches come first (as is often the case) you’re in danger of feeling more than a little woozy.
Have a hearty breakfast or lunch before you leave for the event, be strategic about where you stand once the canapés start to circulate and consider taking a discreet snack to tide you over on the journey between ceremony and reception.
Shake it like a polaroid picture
Dance like a dad, conga with the kids, sashay like you’re on Strictly, just be sure to get on the dance floor at least once. The happy couple wants to see everyone enjoying themselves; they’ve shelled out for a swing band and DJ so oblige.
Weddings are a perfect opportunity to bust out some new moves, but know your limits and try not to hurt anyone. Whether you opt for a safe shuffle or some rehearsed shapes, be confident, don’t stress about people sniggering and, above all, enjoy.