Being a guest is not always the easiest thing to do. Sometimes you are invited and only know one other person or couple going. Perhaps you don’t know anyone else at the event. This can provide anxiety and I would like to say “you are good. make sure you enjoy yourself:)” Here are some tips I have found helpful when I have encountered an experience like this.
- Be on Time. Make sure you that you know where you are going. For weddings, most couples have created an incredible website with just about everything you need to know. Use WAZE to get you there. It will estimate the amount of time it will take you to arrive. Factor in an additional 10 minutes to park or valet, and then glide your way in stilettos on a gravel parking lot or ascend up 30 stairs to the start of the event. Late arrivals put event planners in a pickle because we have to tell them to ‘wait’ to be seated when there is a break for them and “laters” tend to get snarky. No, they should not but they do.
- Be Seated: Couples go through the grueling process of assigning seats. It is not just to make your life difficult. It goes much deeper than that. This chart is then used by the catering staff so they know exactly what food needs to be delivered to what table and in some cases what seat. When you shimmy the name tags around, this causes a crazy mess in the kitchen not to mention much frustration. If you are at a ‘misfit table’ (watch the movie comedy Table 19 for the reference), embrace the new people you will be spending one hour eating with. Who knows, you might just end up with some new friends:) In addition, if there is not a seating chart or you are at a ceremony, make sure you don’t leave one seat empty. This does throw off the count terribly AND it is rare that a guest will come alone. They might, but they won’t sit there. Due to the cost of chair rentals, most couples pay for chair number of their rsvp list. The silver lining is that your fellow guests most likely have showered and smell really good- so sit right next to them.
- Be proactive: Take initiative to walk up and thank the bride and groom for inviting you. YES- I get that you have come a long way, bought the best gift, rented a hotel room blah blah blah and they should come to you. However, the bride and groom have been pulled in 31 different directions AND are functioning on little to no sleep. They are hungry, tired, excited, emotional and exhausted. They are not coherent enough to have a great conversation anyway. Bring them a drink, offer a smile, warm words and then dance the night away with your new friends at the misfit table.
- Be Present: I have seen one too many times where guests are sitting on their cell phone engaged in what ever their phone has to offer. They are not looking for the cake frosting flying across the room, the falling off the horah chairs, the uncle who is doing the worm on the dance floor or perhaps the terribly amazing kick line for New York New York with flying shoes. They are on their phone. Time to get off and watch the amazing around you. The stories I tell my friends after weddings seem somewhat unbelievable. However, you can’t make these stories up. NEVER. My job as an event planner has allowed me to experience things I never should have seen AND it has allowed me to become the best people watching person in all parts of my life. Do it. You will be entranced with what you see.
- Be Creative: If being a guest is still unnerving to you, become the unofficial photographer. Take photos on your phone to help document the event. When you are present, this will allow you to see things that perhaps the professionals photographers are not able to capture because they are off doing the “photos I am contractually obligated to take (not a dig here.. they have to do it:))”. Every couple has a hashtag they share. So help them out! My one request is for you to be respectful and not share photos on social media until after the ceremony since most couples request an “unplugged” ceremony.
Go embrace being a guest!