25 Dos and Don’ts for Surving Wedding Season and Being a Great Guest

If you’re around, oh, 28 or so (22, if you’re from the South), you may even have 5-7 wedding invites you’re wading through this summer (10 or more if you’re Mormon). And with tight budgets, limited vacation time, and issues with fellow guests, to say nothing of the state of your own personal relationship (or lack thereof), other people’s weddings may be your own private battleground. So after the jump, 25 tips for surviving the season with your sanity, heart, wallet and pride still intact.



1. Do say no (but do so graciously). Whether it’s to a request to be a bridesmaid or to an invitation to a destination wedding you can’t afford, it’s ok to say no. But be gracious and timely and definitive. “Your wedding in Tuscany sounds amazing and I’m honored to have been invited, but, sadly, I won’t be able to attend. I’ll be thinking of you on your special day, and I can’t wait to see the photos!”

2. Do send an RSVP ASAP. Those RSVP cards were sent for a reason, and, as soon as you know whether you’ll be attending the wedding or not (and if you’ll bring a plus one), send the card back so the couple can have a head count for the caterer.

3. Don’t change your RSVP once it’s been given. Seriously, unless there are extenuating circumstances, it’s a total dick move to change your status of attendance once you have already been accounted – and likely paid – for. If you gave a Yes and, due to circumstances beyond your control, can no longer go, send a hand-written note of apology as well as a nice gift.

4. Do set a budget and stick to it. Decide what you can afford on travel costs, attire, and gifts, and don’t go over! No one who truly cares about you wants you breaking your budget to attend her wedding, and, if she doesn’t care for you, why would you want to overspend on her anyway?

5. Do introduce yourself to your tablemates (if you don’t already know them) and ask how they know the bride and groom (or bride and bride or groom and groom).

6. Do connect with other guests you know before the wedding and discuss carpooling.

7. Don’t wear brand new shoes.

8. Don’t be the drunkest person at the wedding. If you can’t figure out who the drunkest person is, then it’s probably you and you need to quit drinking.

9. Do flirt with other single people if you’re single too. One of the best things about being single is flirting with people at a wedding. Everyone is socially lubricated, high on love, looking their best, and feeling friendly, so live it up!

10. Don’t bring someone you don’t know very well. Avoid the temptation of having a date, any date, and go alone if your only other option is to invite a near stranger. Weddings make awkward first (or second) dates. Plus, it’s more fun to flirt with other single guests than to have the pressure of ensuring a decent time for someone you’ve dragged with you just so you don’t have to be alone.

11. Do ask a member of the wedding party if you can help with anything (monitoring the gift table, taking photos, passing around the guest book) if you are sans date or want to avoid your tablemates for whatever reason and want an instant ice breaker with other guests.

12. Don’t get your feelings hurt if the bride and groom don’t spend time with you. They may have about five minutes they can spend with each of their guests, some of whom they haven’t seen in ages. Connect with them after the honeymoon when their focus isn’t so scattered.

13. Do introduce yourself to the parents of the couple and tell them how you know their kids. Parents love that shit and it makes you look classy.

14. Don’t make an unplanned toast, especially if you’re drunk.

15. If you plan to make a toast, write it down and practice it beforehand. Make sure it’s about the couple and not just the half of the couple you know best.

16. Don’t wear anything that’s too small or shows too much cleavage. If in doubt, err on the side of being too conservative.

17. Don’t post unflattering wedding photos on Facebook. Better still, make sure the bride and groom are ok with people sharing pictures of their wedding on social media before you post away.

18. Don’t live-tweet the event.

19. Do wear Spanx if it makes you feel more confident.

20. Don’t trim your own bangs less than a week before the wedding. In fact, don’t trim them yourself at all.

21. Do remember the golden rules (of an open bar): one glass of water for every serving of alcohol; and tip the bartender.

22. Don’t gossip about other guests with people at the wedding. They may be within earshot, or word may get back to them.

23. Do wear a favorite dress to more than one wedding if there aren’t overlaps in the guests.

24. Don’t make a scene if you see an ex or someone you are estranged from. Be a mature person, smile, say “How do you do?” and go on your merry way. (Do look like a million bucks, though).

25. Don’t measure yourself against someone else’s wedding or marital status. Just because you are (fill-in-the-blank) years old and still single doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you or that you’re doomed to a lifetime of loneliness. Focus instead on the positive feelings and memories you have of the bride and groom and on the delicious anticipation to be had in a life unfolding.


  1. I gotta admit, I kind of cringed at the idea of a wedding-related Dos and Don’ts, just because discussions regarding wedding etiquette usually make me want to elope and skip the whole ordeal. But this was very lovely, solid advice that you could probably apply to a lot of big events. I especially liked this:

    “Focus instead on the positive feelings and memories you have of the bride and groom and on the delicious anticipation to be had in a life unfolding.”

    Life is so short, and trying to have a good attitude will get you far in any situation! Bravo Wendy.

  2. iseeshiny says:

    #8 is actually really good advice to follow all the time, everywhere.

    1. #8 was my favorite, an excellent “how to know”.

    1. Haha I just watched this! I like how the bride was giving her the stink eye as she worked her way up to a full straddle of the pole. It’s like the bride just KNEW what was coming- plus she’s the one that ended up bloodied! Classic.

  3. Also is that photo from the The Graduate?! Haha, classic wedding Don’t!

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      I love the Graduate.

      1. ME TOOO

  4. I thought this entire list was great, however #1 is really worth repeating. People need to be reminded that it’s ok to say no sometimes! Sometimes no matter how much you want to be at/in a wedding, you just can’t handle it, and that’s ok.

    If someone is *really* your friend, they’re going to understand…. And if they can’t unedrstand, then fuck ’em… They were probably a sucky friend anyway.

    1. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

      Yes! And don’t leave it to the last minute to RSVP no. They aren’t going to get mad, they just want an answer!

  5. kerrycontrary says:

    -Don’t call the bride 30 minutes before the wedding ceremony asking about transportation to said ceremony. This happened this weekend at a wedding I was attending. Who does that!?

    1. SpaceySteph says:

      Actually, don’t call the bride, period. Ask someone in the wedding party. That’s what they’re there for.

      1. Yup. When I was a MOH, the bride told me at 5 p.m. the night before the wedding that I was in charge and she didn’t really care how the hell I handled things as long as she didn’t have to deal with it. And it’s a good thing because I was given notice the morning of the wedding about several people who could no longer come and several who suddenly could. I think she would have murdered them all.

  6. All of my friends’ weddings were pretty spread out, so I never had this busy “wedding season” problem. And now, that’s it! Everyone’s married (except me). If I want my wedding fix, I’ve gotta watch me some Four Weddings, or my new favorite: My Fair Wedding. (THANKS for getting me hooked on that one, lbh!)

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Ahh! I knew you’d love it. I wish David could be my best friend.

      1. He’s actually really a jerk when he’s not in front of the camera…

  7. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

    8. Don’t be the drunkest person at the wedding. If you can’t figure out who the drunkest person is, then it’s probably you and you need to quit drinking.

    This one totally cracked me up. I try to be very socially conscious of my drinking at weddings. Like some weddings you can’t have more than 2 glasses of wine – and other weddings you could have 6 and fit in perfectly. I think the moral of the story is to just make sure that your drinking matches what everyone else is doing – you don’t want to stick out.

    1. YES!!! This can also be applied to work happy hours too 🙂

    2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      Yes, I thought No. 8 was great – and really appropriate for all functions! It’s one I need to tattoo on the inside of my eyelids so I can remember.

    3. Yeah I have a friend, we will call him Addie, has to be the drunkest person at every single event we go too. Two years ago at a good friends wedding he was so hammered that he would not stop following this one girl around all night, and kept punching (what he thought was in a playful way) girls in the stomach, including my fiance, and the brides sister who was pregnant at the time, but he did not know about, and then didn’t remember anything the next day. He is one of my best friends so he will be at my bachelor party, and my wedding, and it is going to be interesting to see what happens. Do you guys think he will be less likely to get hammered if we let him have a guest? He seems to get emotional that he hasn’t had a girlfriend in a long time, even though none of us care or pressure him.

      1. Avatar photo theattack says:

        He may be more upset (and thus more drunk) about it if he’s allowed a date but then can’t find one. I would weigh out the likelihood that he’ll find a date before offering a +1.

      2. Yeah this definitely might be true. It’s funny though, because he was one of those people that always thought that you got a date to a wedding, because the same wedding I referenced above, he was talking about getting a date for it, and we had to explain to him that unless you’re invited with a guest or +1 you can’t just bring a date to a wedding, because it isn’t planned out like that. So maybe that is why he was upste too haha.

      3. Avatar photo theattack says:

        yikes, that’s really awkward. Maybe you could secretly assign another friend to make sure he doesn’t get too drunk?

      4. Sunshine Brite says:

        I’m surprised he didn’t get knocked out for hitting a pregnant lady regardless if he meant to do it playfully. I feel that wouldn’t have flown in my crowd. I like the funny drunks like Wyatt’s friend who was practically dirty dancing with the bride, his sister, at one of the weddings I went to during the all out wedding season that happened 2 summers ago.

  8. 27. Don´t push over the person in front of you that is about to catch the bouquet (this happened to me)
    28. At an outdoor wedding don´t let your stiletto sink into the ground right at the entrance to the tent, causing you to fall down (with most of the guests seeing you on the ground) – this also happened to me.

    I guess I should be grateful that I haven´t been to any weddings for years 🙂

    1. Haha #27 – There was a wrestling match at my wedding over the bouquet! There are some awesome pictures of it.

      1. That might be funny, in my case the bride threw the bouquet straight at me , and the girl behind me shoved me in the back so Ipd get out of the way so she could catch it… not so funny.

      2. SpaceySteph says:

        Why do people want to catch the bouquet anyways? Then you have to get felt up by some drunk skeezy guy who catches the garter and then sticks his whole sweaty head up your skirt. No thank you.

      3. Ha, it´s not like that here (when the garter thing gets done the groom takes them off the bride and on the leg of the women… I´ve never really seen the point). I just wish this girl had gone to the front if she was so desperate for it!!!

      4. And that’s one of the many reason that I REFUSE to go up during the bouquet toss!

        Can someone please explain to me what the F*in point is besides public display of singledom and instilling in women that they must tackle each other in order to achieve the only goal that could ever possibly be important to a woman: marriage. /sarcasm

        Lol. I’m know I’m making it all personal, but I’ve been in an LTR for years and people ALWAYS try to force me out there as if catching the bouquet is gonna magically make me engaged. Plus I have a wedding next weekend, so I’m batting down my bouquet toss exit strategy now.

      5. My female cousins and I were dancing in a group to Single Ladies at our cousin’s wedding in March. OF COURSE they had the bouquet toss right afterward, so we managed to shimmy our way as a group off the dance floor. We managed to time it very well. Then after we were “safe” our (male) cousins asked us why we weren’t waiting to catch the bouquet…

      6. CrazyZumbaCatLady says:

        Yes, down with the bouquet tosses!! They’re for tweens anyway. 😀 At my stepsister’s wedding last summer, I figured I’d stay where I was and no one would notice. (I’m divorced and felt a little funny about participating.) But then my mom loudly started pestering me to do it, saying “Come on, you’re single!” Ugh… worst wedding memory ever!

      7. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        I forgot to throw my bouquet! *facepalm

      8. I deliberately didn’t throw mine. I think my friends would have killed me.

      9. We skipped the garter belt toss. I don’t regret this.

      1. I know, right? I think I´ve mentioned on here before that I can be a klutz.

      2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Maybe the person pushed you to save you from catching it – like, she didn’t *want* you to catch it and get married next. I’d do that to you for the same reason, out of love of course.

      3. Could be, I didn´t even know her, but I guess anything is possible. 🙂
        The funny part is that that was back when my husband wasnpt sure about getting married (already living together), and my friend getting married told me to stand there and made a big thing about throwing it for me to catch. Oh well… luckily I managed to hook him by getting pregnant. (and that was a joke, for anyone that doesnpt know my stupid sense of humour yet). 😀

      4. Ugh bloody typos

    2. I’m in my thirties, as are most of my friends, and I’m getting hitched in a couple of weeks. I decided to skip the bouquet toss and the garter thing, mostly cuz I never really enjoyed participating in them myself. I told my girlfriends, and all the married ones think I’m being a spoiled sport, whereas the single ones are happy about it. Do married people have more nostalgia for that kind of thing?

      1. If and when I get married, I will not be throwing the bouquet and future hypothetical fiance will not be throwing a garter belt. Mostly, because I never enjoyed it and I don’t want to take time away from visting with people and others from dancing. I plan on having a killer band or dj.

      2. We didnt’ do it at my wedding, and no one missed it!

      3. We did the bouquet and the garter, but we also did a “teddy bear toss” for all of the kids. We had somewhere around 35 kids at our wedding and didn’t want them to feel left out, so we gathered the boys on one side and the girls on another and my husband and I each threw a teddy bear. That was a lot of fun.

      4. That´s cute. 🙂

        What I´ve seen at a couple of weddings is that for the guys there´s a whisky toss, where the groom throws (the box, not bottle!) of whisky, whoever catches it gets the bottle.

      5. That’s a really original, fun way to include the kids! What a lovely idea 🙂

      6. I didn’t do it – I don’t know one girl who would want to stand there and catch it – I know I never got up when I was single – and I know FOR SURE my husband wasn’t going up my dress with my mother right there for a garter. And quite frankly my bouquet was nice and I wanted to keep it.

      7. maybe its one of those i had to endure the torture so you need to endure it to kind of mentality? like hazing has? as in, the married people dont have to go up there to catch things anymore, but damnit they had to when they were single so the other single people should to!!

      8. I can see that. Or a little “haha, that’s not us?”

  9. I’m so happy that I don’t have any real “weddings” to go to this year as far as I know. I have one that the couple eloped last year and they’re having a small, informal gathering this year but that’s it. Right now it’s all baby showers for me.

  10. For the the love of god, send back your RSVP card BEFORE THE RSVP DATE!!! Seriously, this is the easiest and most considerate thing you can do as a wedding guest. You might not think it’s a big deal to not respond by the RSVP date, but chances are you’re one of sixty people who didn’t respond. It’s a big deal for the bride and groom because they have call all of those people to get a response. Do you really want to cause more inconvenience to a couple who are kind enough to invite you to their wedding? I sure hope not.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      I get mad when birthday party RSVPs aren’t sent back in a timely manner. Can’t imagine for a wedding.

    2. evanscr05 says:

      The RSVPs not being sent back in a timely fashion after I had provided the stamps and the specific date I needed them by was the single most frustrating thing when I was planning my wedding. I never realized until I threw my own wedding just how important those little things are. I’m the most prompt RSVPer ever now.

      1. Avatar photo Guy Friday says:

        Amen to that. And as a corollary, if you’re one of the people who fails to send it back in a timely fashion, you lose every ounce of your right to be indignant or huff and puff about having to be called about it. It’s not like we’re asking you to solve particle physics here; tell me how many people are coming and what food they’re getting.

      2. Yes!! ITA. I used to be a horrible RSVP’er, but planning a wedding has made me see the light on my past bad behaviour. I ended up calling several old friends and apologizing for my sucky late RSVPing. The single most annoying RSVP situation for me was when my groom’s cousin (who is a douche canoe in general, the kind of class act who is late to funerals) called the groom’s mother to rsvp and included a date, even though the invite was just for him. Really?! What, the card is too complicated? How about asking if you can bring another guest?!

      3. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I’m not at all suggesting it was like this for you guys, because the guy sounds totally douchey. But this is a nice place for me to just say that couples should make their invitations and RSVP cards VERY clear about who they’re inviting because, yeah, sometimes it’s confusing about who’s invited.

        For an example, I was invited to a wedding a few years ago, and the invitation was sent to my parents’ house, so my mom and I discussed the invitation over the phone and she sent in the RSVP for me. She said I was allowed to have a guest at the wedding, and asked if I would bring one or not so she could mark it down. I RSVP’d for 2, and when I got there, I was the ONLY person there with a date. I felt so awkward because I thought I had invited someone when I wasn’t supposed to. So I pulled out the invitation later and looked at it, and although the envelope was only addressed to me, the RSVP card had a place for me and another place that said “Number of Guests.” I still have no idea if I was supposed to bring a date or not because it just didn’t seem very clear.

        So to engaged couples – make it very clear on the invitation, or don’t get mad about it.

      4. The people invited to the wedding have their names written on the invitation envelope. It’s really that simple. See SpaceySteph’s comment below.

      5. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Then why have a separate place that says “Number of Guests?” I found it confusing, and so did my mother. I also consulted all three of my etiquette books, which did not help me at all, so I think it’s just a bad way to make out invitations.

      6. bostonpupgal says:

        The response card has a separate line that says “number of guests” because everyone gets the same response card, whether the invitation is sent to a single person or a family of 14. It would be a lot of time and effort for the bride and groom to tally exactly how many people they’re inviting as singles and print up separate response cards without the “number of guests” line just for those cards, match them up, and send them.

        Also, it is just as simple as whose listed on the invitation. If your name SO’s name is on the envelope, or there is “and guest” written on it, you’re invited with a plus one. If not, you aren’t

        Not trying t pick on you theattach! I’m going through this myself right now with our invitaitons and it’s sort of infuriating. If someone honestly doesn’t know the ettiquette of wedding invitations, they should look it up. It’s something most of us will need for all of our adult lives, so it’s worth a little research

      7. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I really can understand the frustration. I’m new to wedding planning, and all of my future-guests are already driving me crazy too.

        But I really don’t think matching up response cards to the proper guest is that much trouble compared to the cost of someone showing up that you weren’t prepared for. Not everyone even knows that there are such rules. Some people are so unbelievably obtuse to things like this that they wouldn’t ever even consider it as a problem for them to bring someone else along. (I’m specifically thinking of a lot of my white-trash type extended family that would probably not think twice about bringing along guests, wearing camo pants and baseball caps, or lighting up cigarettes during our ceremony. There’s no way I can expect them to even know that wedding etiquette even exists, and I’m sure most couples have at least one similarly embarrassing guest.) I really liked evan’s suggestion below of explicitly stating how many seats are reserved for a party because it just eliminates the likelihood that someone will overlook those etiquette rules.

      8. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Also, you can’t expect your guests to know those rules as well as someone who’s been through the wedding planning process themselves. If someone is confused about it, it’s probably not because they’re stupid. It’s probably because something is confusing. Why not eliminate the need to look up rules and just be clear about it?

      9. Avatar photo Guy Friday says:

        No, I agree. You have to make it explicitly clear. What I did was address the outer envelope label to, say, friend X, and then on the inner envelope label (which was facing the outer envelope opening, so you really couldn’t miss it), I’d say “Friend X and Guest” or “Mr. and Mrs. Friend X” or “Mr. and Mrs. Friend X and Family”, etc. And, luckily, only one person failed to recognize the allotted number of people invited, and it was the other way around; one of my close friends pre-invites asked permission to invite his long-term girlfriend (who I know and think is awesome and totally wanted to have come anyway).

        Funny story/advice though: Make sure you’re not vague on how you want people to respond to the food breakdown. We did “number of entrees”, which would have been fine if we’re talking about inviting a couple and they each picked a different entree; worst-case scenario, they laughed and switched dishes. But some of the family we invited didn’t respond clearly (i.e., the aunt and uncle and 2 cousins put 2 beef and 2 chicken), and so we were going to have a lot of trouble telling the wait staff what entrees went where when they weren’t all at the same table. My mother-in-law brilliantly solved this by making little colored mini-place cards with beef/chicken/fish logos on them, put the name cards for groups of people in envelopes with the appropriate cards, and put a sticker on the envelope that said “Please put this out for the wait staff to see” 🙂

      10. im pretty sure after reading all these horror stories about RSVPing im just gonna put a little note in each invite- “hey amy, im so excited! bring your man friend. id like to see him. your kid too!”

        im just gonna go totally non formal with it. maybe that will help.

      11. Hee, I was writing my comment at the same time. I’m entertained at the “Friend” vs. “Person” based invite explanations =)

      12. Makes sense!

        I’m still a little unsure of the etiquette. I read that whoever is invited should be addressed on the invitation (e.g. person, person+guest, Dr. and Mr. Person, The People Family, etc.). We did that on ours, and didn’t have any # of guests or anything on the RSVP card, so I thought it was clear. Then, the future SIL tells me it’s rude (unheard of!) to not let people bring a date? WTF? I have been to (and in) weddings where I wasn’t allowed to bring a plus one because of size constraints. I get it, it’s not personal. We invited all the spouses, fiance(e)s and live-in SOs of the guests, but apparently that’s not enough? Our total number of people (120) was chosen based on venue size, which was chosen based on what we could afford.

        On the flip side of that, I had a good friend call and ask (very nicely) if she could bring a guest, and I said if she didn’t mind waiting a bit for an answer, we’d see how the rsvps worked out. We got a few more nays, so I said sure. However, if every person we invited had a guest, there wouldn’t be enough room. At the end of the day, I think if people go with:
        – Ask nicely, and ask for clarification
        – Answer nicely
        – People have constraints to how many people can be invited that are impersonal

        things would be less stressful!
        Also (I know I’m ranting, but I just need to vent. Thank you internets and DW), our parents were the worst offenders with the guest list. We gave them a set number of guests to invite, and all three of them exceeded it. They sneak in couples by emailing them here and there, and then get all bent out of shape when we’re all “Hey, it’s a month before the wedding, seriously?!”

      13. evanscr05 says:

        My invites didn’t have inner envelopes, so I put the invitees on the outer envelope and included either “and guest” for my single guests or for the name of our guests significant others if they had one. Ambiguity can definitely run rampant with invitations, and not everyone understands that the only people invited are the people that are addressed on the envelope, so, like I mentioned a little ways down, I made sure the response card also included the number of people included in the party so there would be no question.

      14. That’s the way to do it!

      15. We had a problem with RSVPs and we used postcards. We printed the RSVP cards on postcards, addressed them to ourselves and put a stamp on them so there shouldn’t have been any issues, but we still had to call quite a few people.

      16. That’s what we did! My favorite – when people hand deliver the RSVP to my fellas Mom. Filled out. Then she hands them to us a week or two later. Really? There’s a stamp on it. If you put it in the magical box it will get to us!

    3. SpaceySteph says:

      I had my RSVP card lost in the mail once. I swear I sent it, but the bride called me asking if I was coming. I felt so badly that she had to call me. And worse, it was one where you had to pick the meal and I didn’t remember which ones we had picked. I didn’t want to trouble her so I just randomly picked.

    4. I agree with this times a million. Our RSVP date for our wedding is in less than a month and I am really hoping that our guests will RSVP on time. I received a RSVP ‘cannot attend’ yesterday and although I am saddened that they can’t come, I am so grateful that they sent the RSVP promtply.

      1. Seriously, I really appreciate the people who’ve RSVP’ed right away. Our RSVP date is nine days, and we’re still waiting on about seventy response. I’ll be so pissed if I have to call all those people.

    5. The only time I failed to RSVP for a wedding was when I was invited to one for people I literally didn’t know. There was no return card, so I would have had to call a person that seemed to be the mother of one of the people getting married. I just didn’t want to have to explain I didn’t know her kid and their intended and I thought this was the most obvious gift-grab ever.

  11. Auntie Allie says:

    To go along with number 1, if you’re the bride or groom and you’re inviting people who have a limited income, please know that they may say no. Last week, I was invited to a September 9 wedding in another state, and the bride knows that I have been out of work for several months and, since my money is limited, she asked if she could send me an “honorary” save the date. I thought it was really sweet of her to make me feel included, and I appreciated her understanding that I won’t be able to make it.

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      So, will you send her an honorary gift? I don’t send gifts if I don’t go to the wedding…. is that bad? (And I’ve never had the situation where a good friend got married but I couldn’t make the wedding; so all the weddings I couldn’t go to were of just “regular” friends. Still, is that bad?)

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Hope not. I only sent a gift wihtout attending once, and only because she was a very close friend.

      2. Avatar photo Guy Friday says:

        I don’t think it’s bad. Personally, I kind of applied the rule of “if you said you can’t come, I’m not expecting a gift” (not that I ever expected gifts, but you know what I mean.) When I’ve had to RSVP no to weddings, I usually tried to pick something small and inexpensive to get the couple as a “thanks for thinking of inviting me” gift — the last time it happened, I got them $25 worth of kitchen towels off of their registry — because I know I was thrilled when I got “surprise presents” from people who couldn’t come.

      3. How do you all feel about expensive destination weddings? Our gifts warranted if you go?

        I acutally didn’t buy a gift for my bff. Her destination wedding was in Jamaica. She didn’t have bridesmaids, but I threw her a shower anyway. Bought a gift for that. And spend the money to go there. It wasn’t cheap.

        Anyway, curious on the whole destination wedding and gift etiquette thing.

      4. i think the rule should be that gifts are never warranted. if you want to give one, great. but if you dont want to/cant, then you dont. no hard feelings either way.

        in a perfect world, maybe.

        but, case in point: my boyfriends brothers wedding was last november. as our “present” we bought all the food and cooked their rehersal dinner and their wedding cake (it was an intense 3 month long process). but, i still made them a gift (a scrapbook with a bunch of paper, stickers and custom stuff i made with my cricut). my boyfriend kept saying that we didnt “need” to get them a gift because their gift was our time cooking. but i still did just cuz i wanted to!

      5. Avatar photo Guy Friday says:

        Well, just because I said “if you said you can’t come, I’m not expecting a gift” doesn’t mean that I was implying that “if you said you CAN come, I AM expecting a gift” (though I’ll admit being a little annoyed when someone dicked me around on the RSVP, came last-minute, and then didn’t bring a gift at all). There’s no social obligation to get someone a wedding gift either way.

        As for destination weddings, my gut says you treat them the same way you’d treat someone traveling a great distance for a “non-destination” wedding: be glad they’re there, and anything more is a bonus. But at the same time, I don’t think there’s any reason you have to come COMPLETELY empty-handed; finding a “Congratulations” card template online, printing it out, folding it, and signing your name to it takes you maybe 15 minutes, tops. If I was going to that Jamaica wedding, I think a lot of my call would depend on how close I was to the wedding couple (though obviously you’d think you were pretty close if you were traveling to Jamaica for them!). If we were talking one of the guys who was a groomsman in my wedding, I’d probably try to get them something small, because that’s just how I happen to be. But I wouldn’t look down on someone who just brought them a card. Does that make sense?

      6. Oh, I wasn’t implying anything about you expecting gifts. I wasn’t saying anything bad about you at all. And yes, what you’re saying makes complete sense.

      7. Avatar photo Guy Friday says:

        No, no. I didn’t think you were saying anything bad or judgy about me. I was just saying 🙂

  12. #2 and #3 for sure! I just had my wedding reception and people were still calling the day before trying to get a seat… or asking if their kids could come even though we said no children… or not showing up at all after making us add seats for their children x_x it was seriously the worst part about planning the wedding!

    Also, calling someone about their missing RSVP is super awkward, which I learned the hard way.

  13. “16. Don’t wear anything that’s too small or shows too much cleavage. If in doubt, err on the side of being too conservative.”- yes, yes, yes!!

    At my wedding, one of my husband’s friends brought a girl whose outfit can only be described as “hooker wear” (plastic see-through platform heels with sparkles and a tube top dress that didn’t cover anything). I didn’t notice her and really wouldn’t have care if I did, but when we got our pictures she was in ALL of our dance floor pictures with her ass cheeks and strapless bra hanging out. My photographer had to photoshop every single picture with her in it. lol I actually felt kind of bad for her, but I mean cover your goodies up!

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      OMG, I have that same exact outfit! Thanks a lot mandalee!

      1. LOL Well maybe yours contains your “bits and pieces” better! The sad part is, I can’t even remember what her actual name was at this point because everyone called her “tits and ass” girl after seeing our proofs.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        I’m totally kidding. I have neither bits, nor pieces to show off unfortunately.

      3. lol that’s what I figured, but I didn’t want to offend anyone who may own such colorful wedding attire.

    2. kerrycontrary says:

      Yeh the wedding I was at this weekend had 1 girl dressed inappropriately, and because she was the only one it was really noticeable. Every time she danced I thought I was going to see her hoohah.

  14. As someone getting married in 25 days, can I say an absolute AMEN to #2 and #3? It’s very frustrating to have to track down people after you give them a month to respond. I have other stuff to take care of then managing your shit too. Also, I’d like to add “Don’t ask if your kids can come to the wedding if they are not explicitly invited.” At least 2 people have tried to bring this up to us, which I don’t understand at all.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      I can sort of understand that, even though I never would ask myself. Sometimes the invitations aren’t clear. I assume if its not clear, then they aren’t, but I wouldn’t be offended if someone asked just because they weren’t sure. Better that than just showing up with the kids.

      Actually, I got a save the date and the actual invite and still didn’t realize the kiddo was invited til the groom said she would have so much fun at some of the events.

      1. It’s not “oh, is Billy invited too?” It’s, “would you mind if we bring our child?” I don’t mind asking for clarification, but when you realize that your child isn’t invited yet think that you should be able to bring him or her anyway.

        We are having kids, but only out of town family. The invites to those families included the children by name. I wanted to be as clear as possible.

        RSVPS are the bane of my existence right now, so I might be a little more uptight about it then a normal person.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        🙂 yea, I said above that when its put that way, its so obnoxious. I was thinking of actual confusion.

        Even if my friends (who all know I have a kid and usually am the only in the group with one) invite me for a BBQ, I ask if its kid friendly. I’ve found that just saying kid friendly is better than Can Susie Come. They can then easily say of course bring her, or you can bring her if you want her to see a drunken debacle. So anyway, I was just defending the genuinely unsure parents. Apparently there are way more blatently obnoxious ones out there.
        Good luck with your RSVPs.

      3. I’m with you! We’re 18 days out and I’m still tracking down 7 people. Who to invite was the hardest part, and I still have some snarky feelings about the whole thing.

      4. SpaceySteph says:

        Sometimes its genuine confusion, but more often its a guilt trip. “Can I bring Billy and Susie too?” rarely means “Did you mean to invite them?” but instead “Surely you meant to invite my perfect little angels to your black tie affair because they are precious and I never go anywhere without them.” Hard to tell which, and therefore you assume the latter and prepare for the yelling in advance.

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        Very good call. Wasn’t thinking of it like that. Terribly obnoxious.

      6. I think it’s funny that we both used Billy as our fake male child nearly simultaneously.

      7. SpaceySteph says:

        Yes. That’s why you can’t ever name a real child Billy. Sounds fake.

    2. evanscr05 says:

      I put on my response cards, just to make it absolutely clear who was included, “___ of seats have been reserved for your party” and then hand wrote in the number. I got zero questions about bring an extra person. I didn’t want people bugging me, so that seemed to work out well. I really don’t get how presumptuous people can be!

    3. SpaceySteph says:

      If I could teach the world anything, it would be to understand this thing about invitations where the only people invited are the ones who are explicitly named on the envelope. That would solve half of the wedding world’s ills right then.

      Ok maybe I would teach something world peace-related, but this is a close second!

      1. This is the one thing I’ve stressed over and over, not only to my friends getting married but also to my fiance when we sent ours out. We’re fortunate that only two of our friends had +1 questions and that both were incredibly gracious about it, and more fortunate that things worked out so we can include their dates. If anything makes me glad to be almost there (24 more days!), it’s that the responses are done.

  15. 7a) If you insist on wearing new shoes, coat your feet with liquid band-aid or NuSkin anywhere the straps touch your feet, take flipflops or flats with you in the car and DO NOT whine about your feet hurting to your tablemates, and DEFINITELY do not pick at your new blisters at the table.
    -have a designated driver, and plan for where you are going to sleep that night (with reservations!), and how you are going to get to said place, and don’t assume that just because your friend is pregnant she wants to be the dd driving you and your 8 best friends to the hotel 20 miles away

    1. moonflowers says:

      A roll of transparent bandage tape (like the kind doctors use to tape splints onto fingers) is a total lifesaver when it comes to blisters from shoes. Just put the tape on your feet wherever straps are rubbing a little too closely. And it’s easy to discreetly add more if you find an unanticipated blister developing at the event itself.

  16. SpaceySteph says:

    Love the list except…
    “23. Do wear a favorite dress to more than one wedding if there aren’t overlaps in the guests.”

    Who cares if there are overlaps in guests? I wouldn’t wear the dress to 2 sisters weddings (because that’s like half the guest list overlapping) but honestly… if a bunch of your friends are getting married, you shouldn’t buy a dress for every one. Just buy a dress that you look damn good in and wear it to them all.
    Exceptions are: your relatives or if you’re in the bridal party.

    1. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

      Wedding are my excuse to buy new dresses! I probably wouldn’t otherwise.

      1. SpaceySteph says:

        All the dresses I have bought for weddings now just sit alone in my closet. Aside from weddings, I have nowhere to wear them to. I’d be plenty happy not to buy anymore.
        I now have a summer dress and a winter dress and a dressy dress. So the way I see it, no new dresses required unless I’m in a wedding party. Or if I get fat.

      2. I don’t buy dresses for weddings anymore either. Rent the Runway is my new addiction. It’s amazing if you have a slew of weddings in one year!

      3. I used RTR for my work’s Holiday Party last year and loved it!! I’m also going to be using it for some upcoming weddings!

      4. It really is amazing! I was skeptical at first, but now I love it!

      5. Avatar photo MaterialsGirl says:

        i use RTR and a local place in chicago for the Green Tie Ball that i’ve gone to every year for work. it’s so great! New look, cheap, and they take care of dry cleaning and shipping

    2. I had a favorite dress that I wore to a few different weddings/parties where none of the people overlapped- it was great! Then people started posting pics on FB, and I’m wearing the same freaking dress in every picture!! That dress got retired for a few years 🙂

      1. A friend of mine is really good at crafts and stuff, she has a classic black dress that she decorates differently for any formal occasions (adding embroidery, beading, a sash, etc), it ends up looking like a whole new dress.

    3. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      I’ve got 2 go-to wedding dresses – I wear them over and over again – and no shame. I mix things up by ordering the chicken dish sometimes and the vegetarian dish other times. (I know, I get cuh-razy!)

    4. last year i wore the same dress to my sisters graduation and then to my “little sisters” graduation the next day. i felt dumb. i thought it was a great idea at the time, but then that next day i was like this is dumb. i need to look into that rent the runway place.

      1. I think you need to be invited to join– You did when I joined at least… let me know if you need an invite and I’ll send one to you!

    5. THANK YOU! I was just scrolling down to say the same thing. I don’t give a flying flip whether people see me in the same dress twice. I’ve always thought that was THE most bizarre rule of womanhood ever, right up there with caring if someone else is wearing the same dress.

      I do like shopping for new dresses for weddings, although dress shopping can be frustrating because I’m not the same size on top as I am on bottom. But I feel absolutely no obligation to care about guest overlap. If someone is going to be offended that I wore the same thing to two events, whatever, that is SO not my problem and not going to affect my clothing choices.

  17. Speaking of “don’ts” for weddings… does anyone watch My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding? Last night the aunt of the groom and the cousin of the bride got into an all-out brawl outside of the courthouse. Blood and scrapes and cuts and cops everywhere. I think that’s probably a don’t.

    1. iseeshiny says:

      I did not know this show existed but I feel like I need it in my life as soon as possible! Gypsies!

      1. It is, as SpaceySteph said, a trainwreck and you just can’t look away. The dresses are so beautiful though. You wouldn’t catch me dead in any of them, but they’re still nice to look at.

      2. iseeshiny says:

        I’m so excited! I find Gypsy culture so fascinating. Did anyone see the Riches? I was so bummed when it got cancelled. (Ohhh writers’ strike. I get why you were necessary but your art that year suffered for it.)

      3. iseeshiny says:

        Oh. Oh. More bling! More bling! And the tiaras!!!

      4. iseeshiny says:

        “Somebody told me once, ‘The eyes are the nipples of the face.'”

    2. Avatar photo theattack says:

      Omg I saw that, and it was my first time watching that show! That was so nuts. I loved how both of them kept talking about how they tottttally won.

    3. bah i totally meant to watch that last night!! dang it. with cable, now i have too many options and it overwhelms me.

    4. SpaceySteph says:

      That show is the most ridiculous trainwreck and I absolutely cannot look away. Nothing on that show has ever been a “Do.”

    5. I watch that show all the time. And the weddings are always so….sad. They’re like, “YAY! Super big fantastic celebration where all the Gypies will show up from everywhere!!” but then they explain that they go way overboard because it’s basically the only day in a girl’s life she has to look forward to (after First Communion, I guess). After that it’s all housework and babies and submitting to your man. And they’re all so young… *sigh.

      Did you see the one where the girl hadn’t even kissed her groom until they were at the altar? Not just that, but they had only met a few times, AND! the girl supposedly was not allowed to know anything about sex or how sex worked. Her husband had to “teach” her on their wedding night. That would freaking TERRIFY me. This was the American version, I believe.

      1. Apparently its common for the bride and groom to only meet a few times and the girls are not allowed to kiss, date, or go anywhere unsupervised without a male chaperone when they might be put in a situation like that. The only time they are around other gypsy boys in a way that they can flirt and whatnot is when they have parties and still they are pretty conservative about behavior. On the other hand, the boys (and men) are free to just do what they want whenever they want. One of the lines on this last show was something like “gypsy women are expected to clean all day and look after the kids while the men are free to do what they want.” Good thing my husband isn’t home to get any ideas.

      2. SpaceySteph says:

        Yeah that’s how come you get those 17 year old gypsy boys who impregnated non gypsy girls. The first episode I saw was a young kid who’s non-gypsy fiance was pregnant and he went randomly and bought a trailer for them to live in and when she was upset about it he said “From now on, we’re gonna do what I want to do.” I would have punched him in the face if he said that to me.

        Honestly though, I have never met a gypsy, and before this show didn’t know anything about them. It’s interesting to see the prejudice against them portrayed on the show, like event halls that turn them away when they find out they’re gypsies. I had never heard of gypsy stereotypes/prejudice before. But the show isn’t doing anything to help them change the stereotypes.

  18. so i dont know what rule this story should apply to… but at a wedding i was at this girl was dancing like a stipper with the bride. they looked like they were having fun, im sure they both had some to drink, but when i asked the bride about it, she was all oh i dont even know that girl. shes the date of one of the groom’s friends.

    dont be that girl, dancing all up on the bride when you dont even know anyone at the wedding. i look back on those pictures now, as im sure the bride does, and im like… thats awkward.

  19. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

    My fiancé live-tweeted his sisters wedding weekend in May and she loved it! They are printing it out to keep as a momento. So I would say, make sure you have the bridal parties permission before sharing their big day on social media sites.

  20. Do not assume you can bring a plus one, unless the invitation explicitly says you can. How do you know if a plus one is invited? Their name is next to yours on the envelope.

    Do not ask to bring a date if you were not invited to bring one. Don’t ask the bride and groom to pay for your Other. If they wanted you to have a date with them, they would have listed his/her name on the envelope!

  21. Avatar photo theattack says:

    Oh, I liked this post a lot!

    To add some things now that I’ve been there:

    – Don’t interrupt the bride and groom when they’re talking to other people or trying to make their way around the room. You’ll get your turn, and you might not be as “important” to talk to at that moment as someone else.
    – If you do approach the bride and groom to start a conversation, only do it once. Don’t try to be the center of their attention because they have to greet everyone.
    – Do socialize.
    – Dance.
    – Don’t request too many songs from the DJ, and don’t request songs about break ups, cheating, or domestic violence. I can’t figure out why someone requested Miranda Lambert’s “Mama’s Broken Heart” at our wedding.
    – Don’t stay after people have started to clean up unless you are actually helping clean up.
    – Don’t arrive more than 30 minutes early unless you’ve been asked to help set up.
    – Unless you’re a close friend or family member, don’t visit the bride in her getting-ready area unless you’ve been asked to. It was really weird that I spent the twenty minutes before our wedding hugging my parents’ coworkers that I didn’t know.
    – Don’t get five pieces of cake unless someone has announced that there’s extra.
    – Do thank the bride’s parents if they’re the ones hosting.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      If you do approach the bride and groom to start a conversation, only do it once.

      Yikes! I know you mean not to monopolize their time, but that sounded so bad.

      1. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I know, it did sound bad. I’m specifically thinking of one guest who was literally physically trying to pull me away from every conversation I engaged in with someone else. She would grab my arm and pull me so she could take a picture with me. This was every. single. time. I spoke to someone besides her. I only got to speak to about one-fourth of our guests because this girl and a couple of other people would not let me move around the room. It didn’t ruin the wedding or anything, but I was and still am really sad about it.

        But I stand by what I said. Socialize with the bride and groom for a few minutes, but be considerate of their time.

    2. re: playing weird songs at weddings- when i was like 8 i went to a wedding and the bride and her friends karaoked “earl had to die” or whatever thats a country song about killing a husband…? and they replaced “earl” with the grooms name. it was weird.

      1. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Oh man, that’s a TERRIBLE choice. I mean, Earl in that song beats the woman so much she’s in Intensive Care. Unless someone is trying to come out about domestic violence, that makes no sense and is really awful. I now feel better about the break up song at ours.

      2. glad to help! haha

        seriously, though, it was weird. i just remember her belting out “cuz earl had to dieeeeee!!! gooooddbyeeeee earl!!!!” but with the grooms name and i was like didnt you just marry that guy? even at 8. lol

        also, commitment humor has never been very funny to me anyway, so maybe thats why too. but im glad you think it was bad too!

    3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      We told the DJ not to play anything that was too overtly sexual or break up/death/sad shit related.

      My MIL is being weird about the getting ready stuff, I keep telling her I’d like her to be there and she keeps saying she’ll make sure to stay at the hotel/out of my hair.

      And I’m really pissed guys. I ordered custom koozies for GatorGuy and myself for the wedding in mid-April and they are STILL not here. And the company (who’s already taken the money out of my account) is claiming they don’t have a custom order in my name. I’m mad mad mad.

      1. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Ordering stuff for weddings is the worst. We had something similar happen with some plum-colored tulle we ordered, and it never came. The good news is that I had completely forgotten its absence until now because it didn’t matter at all. Just take a deep breath – If you don’t get your koozies, you will still be married and your drink will probably still be cold. If you do get your koozies, you will still be married and your drink will definitely stay cold. Believe me, it doesn’t really change much in the scheme of things. You don’t have to worry about the money until after the wedding either. It sounds like you really need to slip into the apathy approach. The couple of weeks preceding our wedding I just decided to stop caring about stuff. Nothing but your vows really matter, and if something doesn’t get done no one will know but you. If something does go awry that people can see, it won’t matter either because they’re there to support you and not to judge how well you put on the perfect wedding performance.

      2. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Oh, and not to be a downer, but you probably won’t have time to use your koozies much anyway. I had planned on drinking beer at our wedding, but I didn’t even have time to get one with everything going on. It’s a cute idea though, especially if you do get to use them!

      3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Oh I’m totally heading to the apathy phase. My mom keeps asking questions and I’m like, just pick one, your choice, I don’t care. She is getting annoyed with my lack of caring about details. I just want my damn koozie!! (It’s my one thing. I’m allowed one thing right?)

        And I know I’m supposed to be super busy, but I will find time for beer! We’re trucking in special beers from all over the East Coast and I will have them, damn it! Haha.

      4. Avatar photo theattack says:

        haha, You’re definitely allowed to have your one thing. I would just try not to stress about it too much. I hope you do get to have your beer! That’s awesome that you’re shipping it in. Are you getting your favorite craft beers?

      5. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Yes! We’re having Cigar City’s Jai Alai, Red Oak’s Amber Lager, Oskar Blues’ Mama’s Little Yella, and then probably one other from PA and then Yuengling and Miller Light too. I have a small beer problem.

      6. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        And some 750 ml bottle from Swamphead (the don’t sell regular bottles or cans yet).

  22. lets_be_honest says:

    Sadness! I thought JK was back.

    1. What happened to her?

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Idk. Anyone facebook friends with her?

      2. She told me she “needed a break from the mean girls”. I don’t know if there was an incident or general overall discontent….

      3. Oh no, that’s sad!! I was wondering where she went, also.

      4. (although if she does decide to come back soon, wedding week would probably not be the time…I feel like the claws always come out)

      5. True that!!

      6. lets_be_honest says:

        That is sad. I took a break for a while some time ago. Hope her’s ends soon!

        I’m LOVING wedding week so far, but I think its because I don’t really have any personal stake in this stuff because at the end of the day, I don’t really care, so its just fun debates without claws. Now I’m jinxing myself and I’ll get into a death match with someone by the end of the day lol.

        I had fun going back and forth with HmC for the first time ever. She never gets heated about stuff and I love her POV, so yesterday was great imo.

      7. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I hated your break so hard. Was that last summer? It seems like yesterday, and it lasted foreverrrrrrr.

      8. lets_be_honest says:

        Awww, I thought about you every moment of every one of those days 🙂

  23. I have one to add: Don’t tell your husband you want a divorce while attending a wedding. Makes it real awkward for everyone at your table.

  24. Rule #75: Don’t bring your friends along to the wedding. This happened at my wedding. My ex-husband, who was born and raised in Poland, didn’t tell his friends (also from Poland) that this was not allowed at formal American weddings. Apparently they thought it was like a backyard barbeque, and brought a couple of random old friends of his along, who were not on the guest list. When they arrived, I was like, “oh, who are you….?” I was actually glad that a couple of (loser) guests who had previously RSVP’d yes didn’t show up, because we were able to accommodate the “surprise” guests.

    And just a small amendment to #2: Respond by the RSVP date or sooner! If you know immediately that you can go, respond as soon as you get the invite! Don’t leave the bride hanging, fer God’s sake!

    1. One of my dearest friends got married about three years ago, and had a very small intimate wedding, like no more than 20 people were invited, including family! She did not invite me and Mr AM because, well, small and intimate you know? I graciously understood.

      HOWEVER… because we live somewhere very, very few people get actually married, let alone have an actual wedding (most I’ve been to are either extremely non-traditional, or courthouse) her childhood BFF and his long term live in girlfriend for some unknown reason felt it was proper to bring their buddy. And show up in jeans and like, sweaters. Like it was date night at Red Lobster or something. And this was a formal thing. Small, but very formal. They immediately noticed this was um not so smart, but there was no way out then really. To this day I’m pissed they got to bring their project friend (you know, the depressed 20 something guy who is smart but sucks in school and is underemployed and probably obsessing on some girl who hates him? Yeah that guy) and meanwhile I stayed home. So is she. But I always tell her not to worry and that they probably just didn’t realize. 😉 No need for her to know I too am rather “WTF?!” about it! 😉

  25. I love rereading the comments after a year – when this came out originally, I was a pre-wedding stress-monkey.

  26. As a person who lives deep in Mormon country, I appreciate the shout out. And it amazed me how many things that were considered ‘proper’ in any other part of the country are just confusing here. Mr. Othy’s grandma had no idea what the RSVP cards were for or how to handle it. And, my MIL was highly offended that we didn’t want to invite everyone and their dog. We ended up having a 400+ person ‘open house’ reception, where we invited everyone she wanted to invite, after we had the ‘real’ reception, with a sit-down meal, for our true guests.

  27. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

    This is a great list. That said — it astounds me that more people just can’t figure this out for themselves. We are a nation of self absorbed idiots… or so it seems.

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