6 of The Best (and Worst) Things About Being A Wedding Guest
Weddings are a time to come together as friends, family, and odd strangers to celebrate the union of a beloved couple. They can also be times of stress, panic, and anxiety, and not just for the bride and groom. I love a wedding as much as the next person (so please don’t take me off your guest list), but I dread certain aspects of weddings, and I know others do too (because I quizzed them). So here is a list, in no particular order, of the worst (and a few of the best things) about attending weddings.
I know this is the opportunity for the bride and groom to confess their love and commitment to each other. My main objection to long ceremonies is when the guests are forced to sit for long periods of time in heavily air conditioned rooms or direct sunlight – it’s really hard to concentrate when you’re not dressed for the arctic conditions, or you’re slowly sweating through your gorgeous dress. We know you love each other, skip to the rings already!
No one dreads a reception more than the starving and alcohol deprived. Especially receptions that don’t serve snacks or have an open bar. Not only do the guests have to stand around for hours while the wedding party takes hundreds of pictures, we have to do it while making awkward small talk, nursing our drinks and wondering when dinner is served.
Guests of honor
Different couples make their entrances in different ways. Some show up to the reception and mingle with the crowd, others don’t appear until everyone is seated, and thus guests have to make their way over to the couple in what’s best known as a “receiving line”. Depending on the size of the wedding, this can take forever, forming an awkward line with their relatives for a quick “congratulations” before filing back to your table, hoping everyone else was as brief and polite as you were (but knowing there will be at least one relative who wants to talk to both of the couple for five minutes at a time).
Wining and dining
Unless you’re family, or really close to the bride and groom, you’re going to end up seated with a bunch of random strangers. You can embrace this and try and make friends for the evening, or you can just cross your fingers and hope the meal arrives soon. That’s after you’ve sat through at least two long speeches filled with inside jokes most of the room doesn’t get. Or embarrassing tell-alls most of the room will want to forget. This is another time you’re hoping for that open bar, and a date that doesn’t mind keeping a full glass at your side all evening.
These can range from “So you’re single then?”, to awkward hints about you and your plus one, to “So when are you two getting married then?” Queue groan. What is is about weddings that made everyone into matchmakers? Let’s just focus on the couple that counts, and not on the poor guy I pressured into being my plus one, okay? That if I even get a plus one, as some weddings these days only allow the married and engaged to attend with their partner. Or find a plus one, because if you’re not in a relationship, it’s always a struggle to pick someone who will behave themselves at a wedding.
Singing and dancing
Arguably the best part of the event is when you’re all invite to hit the dance floor and get down. Unless you have to wait for the “dollar dance” to end. This, I’m told, is where guests line up and pay cash to dance with the bride or groom. Along with the receiving line, this can take forever if there are lots of guests at the wedding, even if it is a nice way for the bride and groom to make a little extra cash on their special day.
Then the dancing begins. Either you’re flying solo because you’re single, or because your date doesn’t dance, but you’re hoping and praying for good music. Sometimes you’re blessed with an incredible wedding band, and sometimes you’re stuck with a hopeless DJ. But it’s still a great time to finally kick off those painful shoes and throw some moves with the new couple, their friends, and family. Just have your exit strategy clearly planned for slow dances, the curse of every single wedding guest. My advice? Don’t sit and sway, go hide up at the bar! This will also give you an opportunity to cool off, adjust your hair and makeup, and your outfit.
…But It’s All Worth It
But enough with the melodrama. When you’ve figured out your outfit (a painful endeavor if you’ve got multiple weddings in a season) and muddled through the gift giving process (what do you give a couple that already lives together?) and you’ve shrugged off the long service, the food-free reception, and the agony of your shoes, you can focus on the best parts about weddings. Like the exquisite cake. The (hopefully) free booze. The endless dance classics. The happy tears, watching some one(s) you love get hitched. Short, beautiful ceremonies. Reunions with long-time friends. An amazing wedding band. And most importantly, seeing your friends get married.