Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourselves. Wedding season is officially upon us. With the beginning of spring comes an explosion of taffeta, baby’s breath and lace. Invitations to your friends’ weddings have been filling up the mailbox, and now the big day is just around the corner. So what does that mean for you, a guest at the wedding? Here are just a few tips to help you survive the season.
Respond. Planning a wedding takes a lot of effort. Help out your friends and reply promptly to any RSVPs. Food has to be ordered, chairs have to be set at tables and favors have to be prepared, so an accurate guest count is necessary. No matter if your friend invites you through a Facebook message, asks you to come over text or mails you a save-the-date and invitation with a plus one, be sure to tell the couple if you will or will not be in attendance. It can be easy to forget to send in that reply card, so check your availability immediately and respond as quickly as possible.
Dress appropriately. Be mindful of any themes or location-specific attire, such as a beach wedding or a laid-back country wedding to which you can wear jeans. Most of the time, any specific attire preferences will be noted on the invitation. For spring and early summer weddings, pay attention to the weather. If you are attending a wedding that will last into the evening, you may want to bring a sweater. White and ivory are colors generally reserved for the bride, and while black may be appropriate for a night wedding, choose colorful clothes for morning or afternoon weddings. Bright colors will also show up well in photos and will celebrate the season.
Consider whether or not you want to bring a present. Presents are a traditional part of weddings, but for college students, “tradition” does not always apply. A college student might have four or five weddings to go to over a period of three months, so $30 or more per present adds up. If you are worried about costs, consider going in with a couple friends to buy those medium-priced items that the couple registered for, or consider putting together a thoughtful, yet inexpensive gift, such as a photo album filled with nostalgic pictures.
Find out if the bride and groom have special desires for technology and social media use during the ceremony or reception. A growing trend among young couples is to ask guests to use individualized hashtags when they post wedding photos to media such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram so that the couple can easily locate these pictures later. #jillandmitchgethitched is much simpler to find than one picture out of 100 on your Instagram feed. Conversely, many couples are beginning to request that you either turn off or turn in your phones during the ceremony.
“The hottest topic in wedding circles this year seems to be whether to request, remind or even require that guests go cold turkey on technology during the event,” said Bruce Feiler of the New York Times. If technology and social media usage are important to the bride and groom, try to humor them.
Finally, unless you are 99.9 percent sure you are in a real-life romance movie and need to be with the man/woman you love at all costs, do not object. Whomever you oh-so-desperately love did not plan an entire wedding just so you could wreck it. In the movies, objecting is sweet. In real life, you are going to get punched, and I am betting it will be the bride whose fist hits your face.
Kiesha Ellis, a senior communication studies major, had this to say about the subject: “You know they ask if anyone has any objections to the couple being wed? Please speak now or forever hold your peace? It is un-American to object,” she said. “It is simply tradition.”
Bottom line, you should keep in mind that this is the bride and groom’s special day. You should do everything within your power as a guest to help make it special. After all, they invited you for a reason.