Wedding season is over for us here at TaliaStudio! Lots of time now to sit back and reflect on the past year that we are immensely grateful for and focus our energy on bettering ourselves and our brand for the coming 2014 season. We are so so thankful to be more than halfway booked for next year already and couldn’t have done it without our past clients/friend referrals, so thank you THANK YOU!
After having shot over 100+ weddings I have noticed so many trends that happen and I would like to take this time to address them. There have been many “wedding guest etiquette” blogs out there but there is not much emphasis on certain topics.. it just says “don’t do this” but doesn’t explain why.
Let me start by addressing the bride and groom. This is most definitely your special day. Everyone around you is aware of that. Your longing to be a good host and make sure everything is perfect and guests are happy has been looked at now as bitchiness and you becoming a ‘bridezilla’. Don’t worry, I totally understand where you are coming from. But let’s face it: More often than not, people who haven’t had to plan their own wedding won’t understand most of the frustrations you are going through until it’s their turn. It is so typical to be upset about these things, but let’s not forget that common sense is not so common, some people need things spelled out to them. That being said, these are your GUESTS. You have invited them out of the goodness of your heart and because your special day would not be the same without them being there to witness it. Don’t forget that. Nowhere does it say that a guest HAS to bring a gift. That is not why you invited them. So if you are inviting people to bring you gifts, you are going to be upset afterwards. I would rather have 10 people at my wedding who love me and my husband so dearly than 10 gift cards to Bed, Bath, and Beyond. It is no one else’s problem that you are throwing this elaborate party/celebration, if you are expecting compensation from the guests who attend then once again, you are going to be sourly disappointed. PLEASE NOTE: I am not addressing this to any one bride in particular, this has to do with a recent articles I’ve read and you can read them here and here as well. A gift is something that is bestowed voluntarily, and without expecting compensation. There is a difference between a gift and cover charge. It is quite shameful to expect a guest who feels honored to have been invited to your special day to bring you a present as well. It is no one else’s fault if you are planning a wedding you cannot afford. No one else should pay for this and expecting people to is indecent and ugly. Let’s just get that clear.
Now! On to the etiquette part. From what I’ve noticed first hand, here is the advice I can give to those of you who attend weddings.
1.) Gifting. You do not need to buy a gift for the couple, however, if you do, if the bride and groom have gone through the trouble of creating a registry whether it’s at Target or Crate and Barrel, etc – know that they have indeed taken the time to already sift through items and choose what they want/need. If you don’t know what the bride and groom want, why try guessing when they have a registry? That information should be in the invite. Oh and while no present will be turned away, at least I haven’t seen it happen, a gift card is always better than bringing a huge gift that the couple is going to have to pack up and take with them that same evening.
2.) RSVP, and when you RSVP- do your very best to show up. And if you cannot show up, please give the couple ample time to know this. I’ve been to enough weddings where the “cheapest” servings of chicken breast and beef are still $80 per plate. You know what this is. This is a date night that the couple is opting out of to have you sit and enjoy yourselves at their wedding. Yes, even weddings that are “buffet style” charge the couples per plate. So please, do not be a part of that 10-person table that didn’t show. The wedding will still go on, but keep in mind your names are there either on a chart or finely placed at your lonely setting for all the world to see. No one cares what your reasoning is at that point. All they know is that you did RSVP, and now, you’re not there. Lots of couples have to carefully pick and choose who they are inviting. By you not showing up you are taking the place of someone else who they would have had there and it’s a waste. Let me tell you, wedding vendors/caterers, we don’t give money back if people aren’t showing up. Guaranteed your meals have been prepped already. We live in a world with such flakey people, don’t add to the bunch. Once I had 15 girls rsvp to a lunch and only four showed up, the rest all text me that morning with x,y,z excuses. Can I just say that this was such an awful feeling regardless, it wasn’t even about the money I had shelled out for this mini gathering, it was the lack of consideration, and the excuses were just not good enough. Don’t be that person.
3.) Don’t assume you can bring a “+1″, ever. You will be pretty mortified if there is no place for that person at the wedding. And no, you cannot bribe the caterer to make an extra plate. It’s best to ask and fill out that RSVP/invitation card. If there was no option for a +1, this probably means you cannot bring one. If there was an option and you didn’t check that box at the time, don’t assume you can still bring that +1.
4.) Instagramming and Facebook – believe it or not there are people who have posted photos of the bride getting ready and the bride in her wedding attire online BEFORE the groom is even able to see her. We all know that the guys can get ready in less than 5 minutes. In this day and age, trust that they are most likely on their phones dealing with everything since the bride is too busy, and the first time they see their bride shouldn’t be on their Facebook or Instagram newsfeed.
5.) Skimpy Clubbing Outfits and Wearing White – just don’t. While it can be argued over and over that there really is no rule in wearing white to someone else’s wedding… here’s a better rule to go by. If it’s an outfit that might spark up conversation in a negative way, just don’t wear it. There was one time I bought a dress to wear to a wedding and the top part was a dark beige and the bottom was floral. It was part knee length and “so cute!” but after I hung it up the night before my husband looked at it and said, “is that top white?” Clearly, he is a man with no color sense so I corrected him. But then I thought, wait, if my husband thinks this and there will most likely be other men there with bad vision who can mistake this for white, perhaps I shouldn’t wear it? I panicked the rest of the evening and first thing the next morning I headed out to buy another dress – all black, so there was no confusion. Yes, my case is a little much since I could’ve very well worn it however I didn’t want to have to justify my attire choice to anyone. I don’t want to be in the wrong kind of lighting and even have a guest take a second look and question, “is that photographer wearing white?!” No matter how adorable that outfit is that you have (that can be mistaken for white), unless you want attention (which you shouldn’t, it’s not your day) then I say just don’t. Save it for another occasion. Regarding skimpy clubbing outfits? This is a no brainer. It’s a wedding, not a club. No one wants to see your ____ during the “Wobble Wobble.”
6.) Be on time! The only one anyone is waiting on is the bride. Please do not stumble in just for the reception/cocktail hour. If the ceremony start time is 3:30, plan to be at your seat and ready no later than 3:15. Just because weddings tend to start late, that doesn’t mean you have time to show up late. You will be looked at as you walk in late, so it’s best to try our very best to be on time. Always.
7.) Photography – I will admit that I can be a little biased in this one since it’s what I do, so I will be as sweet as possible. Photographers are hired to capture the events of the day. It is not Uncle Bob’s job (just so you know, amongst photographers, we call him “Uncle Bob”- this is because there is always an uncle at every wedding without fail who dabbles in photography) to capture these moments, since he is not being paid. I will never tell a guest to put away their cameras, iPhones, or iPads because 1.) I have confidence in my photo skills and my shot will rock regardless and 2.) It’s not my place, unless the bride tells me this. Know that EVERY church/cathedral location has had photographers sign contracts and agree to not use flash. You shouldn’t either. Especially when the bride and groom are walking down the aisle. If the one shot I get of the couple happily walking down the aisle has your hideous flash in it all over their faces, you will be the reason for the bad photo. I can tell you though, when couples are looking through their ceremony photos and all they can see is you standing in the aisle with your iPad, they will grimace. I won’t mention that you shouldn’t stand in the photographers way if there is an important moment that needs to be captured because I will squeeze my way through the crowd regardless, and it’s because I was hired by the couple, I do everything and anything I can to get those shots. Please feel free to take as many photos if you’d like. I can’t wait for the day when I can just be a guest at someone’s wedding and not working, the last thing I would do is be taking pictures. I would rather live in the moment, and if there is any photo of me at the wedding, it won’t include me holding a camera.
8.) Stay until the main events are done. This doesn’t mean to stay until the end of the evening through all the dancing, although that’s the best part. If you have to leave, it’s a little rude to just eat and bounce. You should stay through the toasts and the cake cutting as well. It’s a night to enjoy yourself and celebrate, so if you are physically able, plan to stay a while, the wedded couple will really appreciate this. Make sure at some point you can go up to the bride and groom and thank them for having you there – Don’t forget to take your favor home, either!
**That’s about it! Remember that this whole thing is a celebration. We’re all there to have a good time and leave the stress at home. Hope you all had a very happy Thanksgiving! <3 Love, Talia