Don't be THAT guy! : A guide for wedding etiquette
Your best friend’s wedding is right around the corner! You cannot wait! You are excited for her and her soon to be husband. You want their day to be a picture perfect wedding filled with fun, laughter, and memories to last a life time. Most importantly you want this to come to her without any unnecessary stress! Let’s face it, wedding days can be stressful at times and for a host of different reasons. One of those reasons should not be you! (the friends and family members who’ve been invited) Being weddings photographers in Asheville, we have the privilege of working with so many different types of couples from various backgrounds, areas throughout the US (destination wedding area!) personalities, cultures, sexual orientations, etc! Over the past few years as we’ve continued to grow and capture more and more of these amazing couples on their big day and we have noticed one of the biggest things that tends to stress brides and grooms out on their wedding day are some of the very people they’ve decided to invite in order to make their day better! Quite the contradiction indeed! We want to make a point that it’s not everybody, in fact, there are usually only a very select few personality types at just about every other wedding to watch out for, or as some of us like to say, “Don’t be that guy!” (or girl). We came up with a wedding etiquette guide for guests and these are the 5 big people NOT to be when attending someone’s wedding. Make sure your loved ones have the best day possible, after all, it’s why we are all there!
The Drama Queen/King
One of the personality types that pops up now and then that can really put a damper on the mood of a wedding day is the drama-queen/king. You’ll recognize them by their consistent need to blow things out of proportion, gossip with others at the wedding about how things could have been better ‘if only’ and many times there are past grudges at play here. These resentments often pop up the day of the wedding even though their friends and loved ones are so happy, they can’t help themselves but to bring up past issues and drama on the wedding day even though this is the last thing the bride or groom wants to hear. I.e. this could be the bridesmaid or groomsmen who thought they were going to be the maid of honor and/or best man, only to find out they weren’t. Life moves on, you’re still there, still plenty of potential to live it up and have fun! Don’t let these small grudges or past resentments find themselves creeping into your loved one’s day. If you see someone at the wedding you don’t have the best relationship with, don’t complain to the bride, for the sake of her happy day, avoid that person, be an adult and put the past behind you for just one day. Perfect example, on our wedding day, turns out my mom and dad had a huge oak tree fall on their house caving in the car port and roof. Had I known this on my wedding day, rest assured, I would’ve left early to go help them take care of this major issue. They were so considerate and to this day I thank them for it so much that they didn’t mention one thing to us until after the wedding. Had I known this on the day of my wedding it’s pretty obvious how this could’ve affected me and Jenny’s emotional state. So, we urge all guests and attendees of the wedding, if it can wait until after the wedding day, let it wait! No need for extra drama.
The Overly Intoxicated Person
It’s no secret that many weddings have alcohol present. Heck, many have open bars and here in Asheville, many couples will brew up their own special batch just for their wedding day! We live in a society that celebrates alcohol and celebrates with alcohol. That doesn’t mean this is hammer time! (lol) As wedding photographers we know good and well a little alcohol can help loosen up the crowd and get everyone dancing, playing games, and just having a good time. But, just as with any social event, there’s always that one guy or girl that doesn’t know when to slow down or say no. Don’t be the overly intoxicated person at the wedding. Even if you don’t care how others perceive you, there’s a good chance you will embarrass the bride or groom if you take things over the top. At its most extreme it can get you kicked off of the property, the law called, or the wedding reception itself shut down if something crazy happens as major incidents can void a contract with a venue. We’ve even heard a story from a local venue owner this year where the bride got kicked out of her own wedding when she took things a little too far, so have fun, but drink responsibly, you’ll thank yourself later!
The Controlling Bridesmaid
She’s pretty easy to spot. She may have even been given some responsibility delegated from the bride to help out with set up, coordination, or a host of other wedding day happenings, but she suddenly morphs from a bridesmaid into a general! (seriously). The controlling bridesmaid loves to be critical and tell other bridesmaids what to do and what to think. Sometimes she likes to even get snappy with the bride forgetting that the bride wanted her to ‘assist’ throughout the day, not control and demand. She usually tells the photographer all the best pictures to take because without her, they would miss everything and every moment (insert sarcasm)! Lastly she is often rude and abrupt in her tone and demeanor, not realizing she could catch more flies with honey vs vinegar. With all of our wedding experience, we can definitely say, there are times where nobody is as helpful as an awesome bridesmaid. They are your rock! They are basically an extra planner to help and in most cases they make the day goes smooth, ensuring their bride has an amazing day! But there have also been times where we’ve seen the very person who was supposed to be helping be disruptive because they became more focused on their task and being in control, than being helpful. Don’t be the controlling bridesmaid!
The I’ll be there in 10 minutes guy
Now this person shows up to every wedding! If we had to guess, he/she probably shows up to every family function, work event, etc. This wedding day has been planned for months possibly more than a year out. You know the day, you know the time, get there! If the groom is waiting on you, you’re doing it wrong! If the bride has to delay her ceremony because you haven’t arrived with the flower girl yet, you’re doing it wrong! This isn’t to be too critical, as emergencies do happen and sometimes schedules have to adjust, but if you already know you are chronically late to everything, plan to be there early. These disruptions in time can throw off the entire day’s events. Let’s say you are a bridesmaid whose late and now it’s going to take the make up/hair professionals longer to finish, which could cost the bride more money, and could throw off the schedule for pre-ceremony pictures, which could throw off the ceremony, which could affect the time of everything after that. If you have your venue for a finite amount of time, being on point with the schedule is crucial. Just a funny story, we told Jenny’s mother to be at our wedding an hour earlier than she needed to be to make sure she showed up on time because she is known for her fashionably late entrances (we love you mom!). Showing up on time is one of the best ways to ensure you’re starting off on the right foot.
This is usually the person who decides to take it upon themselves to try and do the professional vendor’s job, and it’s almost always when it’s completely not needed. It can be grandma trying to serve food (bless her heart) while the wait staff is trying to get out plates. This could be the mother of the bride trying to simultaneously do the bride’s hair at the same time as the professional stylist. This could be the enthusiastic cell phone photographer who feels the need to be anywhere and everywhere including in front of the professional photographers to get their mediocre at best cell phone shots (this includes the friend whose a “semi-pro” who feels they have something to prove so they bring all their equipment to the wedding even though the couple didn’t hire them and didn’t want them to do that). This could be the guy who hops on the band’s stage and grab’s the mic because it’s his turn to sing or won’t stay from behind the DJ booth because his cousin’s best friend’s uncle used to be a dj and taught him how….once, kinda. Truth be told if there is a professional vendor at the wedding, there will be someone who takes it upon themselves to do what they do which is interesting because in no other line of work or field will this occur. The mechanic at the garage never has to worry about people wanting to rotate their own tires and the chef in the kitchen never has to worry about people wanting to come into the kitchen to cook their own dinner, yet wedding professionals always have others that want to do their job, and as much as you feel you can be a help, odds are if they are a reputable professional, they have a process and a system and you’ll likely disrupt the flow that they have going and increase the likelihood that they will have a hiccup during the wedding. Most professionals you’ll find in this industry are very personable and client centered so if you would like to help them, ask for permission. Don’t take a chance on disrupting the wedding day flow which could ultimately lead to a stressed out bride and groom. Remember, the bride and groom had literally hundreds and hundreds of amazing vendors to choose from to make sure their day was exactly how they wanted it and they chose those vendors, so let them all operate in the manner that attracted the bride and groom to them in the first place without the added distractions.
Odds are one of these 5 people will show up to any given wedding. If you are reading this and you are a bride or groom or someone close to them who anticipates this happening with a particular individual, it might behoove you to make sure you talk about it with this person in advance. You’ve likely already invested the money in a venue, caterer, photographer, planner, florist, and you’ve already put in countless hours of brainstorming, shopping, and planning to ensure that you have the best day possible. Don’t let it be derailed due to the people/person who were/are supposed to make the experience better. If you are reading this and you are one of these 5 people (it’s okay there’s still hope for you), just be aware of your tendencies and remember, your job is to be present and make the bride and groom’s day better all the while enjoying yourself and connecting with others in the process!
-Jenny & Joe