Hello Friends 🙂
Emily here. I had the rare honour of being a wedding guest recently. As a part of the Honey and Dear team, I have attended hundreds of weddings, sometimes upwards of 40 each year, but always for “work”. Attending a wedding as a filmmaker, rather than a guest, has a whole different set of rules. My job is to hustle, work hard, be incognito to guests, make the day better for our couples, and make a short film at the same time. We effectively compete in 12 hour film contests every weekend.
Filming a wedding, I get to observe through a different lens than most. Literally and figuratively.
So back to my friend’s wedding that I just attended. I felt a whole other sense of responsibility fall onto me. All of the sudden, my job was to participate in everything, chat with everyone, dance, have the funniest line to write in her guest book, make the best poses for the photographer, compliment everything, smile constantly, and above all: make the day better for everyone.
Now don’t get me wrong, if I make it sound like being a wedding guest is work, it’s not, it is as I said earlier “an honour”. But I did realize standing on the other side of the camera for once, that there are certain roles and rules of being a wedding guest.
So what are the rules of being a wedding guest?
A little googling later, I found most wedding etiquette articles go over RSVPs, attire, gifts, plus ones, children etc. (Here is a good one from one of my favourite blogs Apartment Therapy) but not many talk about what to do when you are finally at the wedding (apart from the obvious: don’t get drunk.)
So I have put my own rules together, gleamed from my observations of over 7 years in the wedding industry. Things I’ve noticed go wrong and go right, inspired by the weddings I have been to professionally and personally as a guest.
1. Go to the ceremony.
Yes, even if it is on the other side of town, starts at 10am, and has no parking. The reception, the dinner, the open bar, all of that is to celebrate what you were invited to witness: the joining of two people into a covenant for life. Be there to cheer your lungs out when they have that first kiss. Your presence shows them how much they are loved.
2. Put your phone away.
Yes. Put it away. Unless the couple asked you before the wedding day to be their photographer or videographer, trust me when I say, they have it covered. They have spent thousands of dollars for professionals to capture their day. You’ve all seen horror shows of giant iPads and so many guests crowding the aisle to “get a shot” the groom can’t even watch his fiancee walk down the aisle. Your job is to witness the marriage vows. To listen to the speeches the fathers have worked on for months, to watch the first dance and take it all in. You are there in person. Be present. Your photos are likely going to be too dark or grainy anyway, I’m talking to you Blackberry offender (no offence, well, not much anyway).
3. Take your phone out!
Yes. There are many many times you should have your phone away and completely turned off. But during other more relaxed times, like the photoshoot, cocktail hour, the dance party, its fair game! Especially if the couple has a wedding hashtag or instagram account they have asked everyone to post to. Post away! Make everyone who is not at that wedding jealous they couldn’t be there. Just don’t post anything lewd (no nip slips), or any photos that make your hosts look less amazingly good looking than they are (again no nip slips). And just be mindful, unless there is specific instruction otherwise: don’t post any wedding photos before the couple does.
4. Enjoy the food.
Chances are, the couple paid a lot for you to eat and drink at their wedding. They would have gone to multiple tastings and picked the menu they thought you would love. If everything on your plate isn’t amazing, don’t comment. If there is a serious food allergy or requirement not met, quietly take it up with the event coordinator (look for a professional looking person with a clipboard, usually by the kitchen door) and they will do their best to accommodate you. Otherwise, eat up, smile, and be thankful.
If the kissing game requires your table to stand up and sing a love song: go for it, look goofy, and enjoy it! Sign the guestbook, participate in the games, cheer for the speeches, and above all DANCE. Yes you might not like to dance, or feel uncomfortable, but you are there to celebrate your friends wedding. Get on that dance floor and show us your sweet moves – even if that is only clapping and tapping your foot.
All that to say, your “job” as a guest is an awesome one! Show up with a positive attitude and your best dancing shoes, and it will be truly a day to remember.
Happy Valentines/Family Day/Snowy Day everyone!
If you know of someone who just got engaged – tell them about your friends at Honey & Dear (who talk occasionally about Nip slips).