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How To Attend Your First Wedding

We consider ourselves to be wedding and event experts! However…not everyone can be. Whether you can relate to movie ’27 Dresses’ or ‘Wedding Crashers,’ you have to keep in mind those who haven’t attended a single wedding yet! We put together a couple of points to help our friends who are attending their first wedding.

Mail Your RSVP as Soon as You Know You Can Go.
This isn’t a casual birthday party, so texting the couple your “yes” status isn’t going to fly. Keeping track of attendance is often the responsibility of another friend of family member (particularly if parents are hosting), so formally mailing your RSVP ensures that it goes to the correct person.

Get Your Date Situation in Check.
The only people that are invited to a wedding are the names that appear on the formal invitation. If there’s a spot on the RSVP card for you to write in a date’s name, or the invite says “[Your Name] and a Guest}”, then congrats! You’ve been given a Plus One. Otherwise, you’re flying solo.

Book Your Accommodations as soon as you RSVP.
Especially if the wedding is taking place in a small town you’re unfamiliar with. Rooms do sell out, and the last thing the couple needs/wants to deal with is helping you find an alternative place to stay at the last minute.

Purchase Your Gift Soon After That.
Some wedding schools of thought say that you have up to a year after the celebration to send the couple a gift. But would you mail a birthday card for a May baby in September? No, no you would not. A wedding should follow the same logic.

And Please, Do it Off their Registry.
No matter how much closer you may be with one member of the couple, their wedding is about respecting and celebrating their partnership. The most sure-fire way to do that is to select a gift they’ve chosen together, not something that represents an old inside joke. Besides, studies have shown that recipients are more authentically appreciative of gifts they request than those they do not.

If You’re Giving $$$, Do it With Class.
Pair the bills/check with a heartfelt card, seal it in an envelope, and bring it to the actual wedding (mailing it before is a little weird, and sending it after makes the gift feel like an after-thought.) Give however much you feel you can give—there’s no unspoken “minimum” amount.

Figure Out What to Wear.
If there is no dress code, know that it’s always better to be overdressed than under dressed. Also know that there will more than likely be older family members present, so this is maybe not the time for that body-con dress with cutouts.

Don’t Bombard The Couple With Questions Right Before the Wedding.
They’ll be busy putting the finishing touches on their celebration, and essential information such as registry, guest accommodations, addresses, and schedules should be listed on the couple’s wedding website. Consult that first if you’re unsure of something. After that, reach out to the Best Man, Maid of Honor, or a family member if possible.

Don’t Woo or Cat-Call While Anyone is Walking Down the Aisle.
We know, we know—it’s near-reflex to cheer on the people you love during a major life milestone. But a wedding is a grown-up event, folks. Act like it.

Congratulate The Couple Once, Then Give Them Their Space.
Your presence alone shows the couple that you care, and they have rounds to make. Make a point to say hello, and after that try not to hog their attention. Eat the food, mingle with other guests, and get on the dance floor. The most gracious thing you can do as a wedding guest is show the hosts that you’re having a good time. (Obviously…if you’re at a party with ME, it’s a guaranteed good time!)

Avoid Impromptu Speeches.
Speaking at the reception is typically reserved for members of the family and wedding party. If that doesn’t apply to you and no one has explicitly mentioned an Open Mic, save your funny college stories about the couple for your new friends at your dining table.

Don’t Be The Drunkest Person There.
OK: Throwing a few back and toasting to the new couple. Not OK: Spending a good portion of the party throwing up in the bathroom. Keep your alcohol consumption in check.

Stay At Least Through Dinner.
Be it your childhood best friend or a cool co-worker, at some point we all attend a wedding in which we’re the periphery invite. And we get it—weddings where you don’t know many people can feel awkward. But if you RSVPed yes, that means the couple has taken you into consideration while planning their food and drink budget. It’s important that your portion doesn’t go to waste.

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