Wedding season is here. It’s time to prepare for weekends full of dancing, socializing and celebrating happy couples. Wedding guests have a responsibility to help make the day go as smoothly as possible for themselves and everyone else. That means making sure they do come prepared and don’t bug the couple or immediate family too much. Here are some critical do’s and don’ts for this season’s wedding fetes.
Months of preparation go into planning a wedding, which means every single guest is accounted for. It can be a drag and a time-suck to have to track down every guest who hasn’t sent back the RSVP card. Save the couple a few hours of logistical work and RSVP on time — whether you’re sending a card in the mail or checking a box on a wedding website. They will appreciate it immensely!
Do prepare for any weather
How many times have you been caught unprepared for rain when the weather has been nothing but sun for weeks? Or how many times have you gotten a sunburn on half your face from sitting in the same place during the hottest part of the day? Stock up on facial sunscreen, grab a wedding-worthy sun hat and pack a picture-perfect umbrella in case the weather doesn’t go your way.
Do bring dancing shoes
Your shoes are adorable — truly the perfect complement to your carefree, summer wedding-guest dress. But weddings are long, and you don’t want to have to sit for the entire reception. Instead, you may consider ditching the stilettos after a couple of hours for some flats or flip-flops. And who says comfort has to compromise cuteness? Try these rose gold flip-flops to slip out of blistering heels and into an effortless night of fun. You might even make it to the after party.
Don’t text the bride or groom
Can’t find your way from the ceremony to the reception? Don’t know what time the post-wedding brunch is on Sunday? Don’t ask the busy, overwhelmed bride or groom. It may be tempting since they’re just a simple text away, but it’s not fair to burden them if you haven’t taken the time to visit their website. Plus, it may not be the most effective way to get a response.
Do book a room ahead
Unless you want to cramp someone’s style by ordering up a cot after you realize you don’t have a room for the night, book ahead. It’s the first rule for not being stranded after a long night of fun and cocktails. It sounds basic, but it happens. Find great deals at Hotels.com or Expedia.
Do buy a gift
It doesn’t have to be much, but a gift is a gesture of thanks for the wedding festivities (which surely cost the couple a pretty penny). It’s also a nice way to wish them all the best in their new marriage. If nothing else, a thoughtful card from will do. They have a huge number of congratulations cards for newlyweds, including a large selection for same-sex couples. And if you are attending more than one wedding this summer, buy in bulk to save on shipping.
There’s nothing more disheartening than a guest telling the newlyweds they weren’t a fan of the food or thought the ceremony was too long. If you have opinions — which is bound to happen for those of us who attend multiple weddings every summer — keep them to yourself or to those closest to you. Don’t let any negativity inadvertently dampen an otherwise wonderful day for the couple.
Do relax and have fun
The newlyweds and their families have gone out of their way to make the wedding as welcoming and fun for guests as possible. Forget what’s happening at work, the traffic you fought to get there and the price of the hotel room you booked for the weekend. While you’re there, do your best to enjoy the celebratory atmosphere and the food, and soak in the love from the happy couple — knowing you’re part of the inner circle!
Chelsea is a freelance writer living in San Francisco, specializing in lifestyle and travel. When she can't get on a plane herself to visit somewhere obscure (Montenegro anyone?), she's training her sweet puppy and taking visitors to wine country with her fiancé. She loves being able to share ideas and stories proving that doing good and having fun can go hand in hand.