With the warmer temps (finally) and the beautiful spring blooms, so begins the wedding season! Aside from the warmer weather, it’s both one of my favorite yet busiest times of the year with just about every weekend booked with weddings and portrait sessions. Although each wedding is completely different from the next, guest etiquette is pretty standard across the board, yet party fouls sometimes seem to happen when couples least expect it. You already know the etiquette staples of never wearing white, don’t be too early or definitely not late, and no whining or complaints. Definitely not the end all be all tips for guests, but here are a few to get your guests through the wedding and keep you in a peaceful state of mind.
1. Be Respectful of the Day. It’s easy as a guest to get a bit carried away when seeing others you may not have seen in months or years, get snap happy with your iPhone, iPad, or point and shoot, or take full advantage of the open bar… repeatedly. We’re not saying don’t do these things or other “wedding tourist” actions, just be mindful of your actions and how it may affect the bride or groom you love and came to see. The average couple spends upwards of $25,000 to $30,000 on their wedding day with a huge chunk going towards their venue, entertainment, and photography- they want you to have an amazing and unforgettable time, but falling over drunk will only make some not so desirable memories. One respectful practice that can help out a photographer- keep the cell phones down during the ceremony and key moments that are imperative to the couple. Believe me.. your iPhone won’t capture nearly the same quality image as a photographers $5000 camera will:)
2. Go to Cocktail Hour. I’ll never understand why guests like to mingle and hang out at the ceremony venue after the kiss and recessional are complete. Go… drink… nibble on tasty hors d’oeuvres! Spoiler Alert- after the ceremony, a limited amount of time is devoted to family pictures, which most photographers want to accomplish as soon as possible, and couple portraits which they will showcase in their home, share with family and friends, and use as their Facebook profile pictures. Unless you’ve been asked to hang out afterward, please go enjoy cocktail hour. It keeps the couple calm and on time which leads to a happy photographer and caterer (late couples = late food service = mushy vegetables = yuck!).
3. Sign the Guest Book and Take your Favors. A couple typically plans out their wedding day 12-18 months in advance of your arrival to their festivities. From the linens, to the flowers, and beyond they’re envisioning how they want their dream to come together, which includes the fun favors planned for their guests as a sincere thank you for being a part of their wedding day. Take these! Favors can cost between $1-$10 a piece depending on the personalization and what exactly they are. Most couples are opting for edible favors which can serve as a bonus snack for the drive home! Although most are doing away with it, couples are still choosing to do some sort of guest book/ ‘I was here’ item to remember you by- Sign it! Make it a bit more personal and add a sweet note to the couple for great marriage tips, well wishes, or even a good recipe. Knowing ahead of time that most couples choose some sort of guest book item, plan ahead with what you’re most apt to write.
4. Dance! Whether you need a drink or two, or have the moves of Beyoncé.. get out there! The DJ appreciates it, the photographers appreciate it, and the couple appreciates it! Hate the thought of your picture being taken while you’re getting your groove on? No worries.. you may want to sit down for this one… but we honestly don’t care what you look like when you dance. Picture wise we get to capture a packed dance floor which makes the couple’s wedding portfolio look even more kick ass and focus on your happy, smiling faces as you laugh up someone’s fantastic MJ moves or attempts on break dancing. The more candid, the better memories the couple has in their imagery. You’ll also look like a rockstar to get your date out there dancing throughout the evening!
5. Avoid Social Media Posts. Sure you want to share how awesome of a wedding you’re at or post selfies of your gorgeous wedding attire but resist the urge. Most couples, especially the brides, prefer to NOT have their guests post wedding play-by-plays on social media pages. Although you may be the next Ansel Adams of iPhone photography, I’ve rarely seen a good looking instant post of a bride on her wedding day. A good rule of thumb is to wait until the bride or groom (usually the bride) posts images from her wedding day on her page or the photographer has released professional images of the beautiful bride and groom. Think of it like the 80’s.. when the average American didn’t have a cell phone, but had big ass hair, eclectic dance moves, and funky fashions instead.