This article is guest contributed by Danielle Couick of Magnolia Bluebird design & events.
We cannot say that we have seen it all but, we have seen a lot. There are a few things that consistently amaze us and many of them have to do with… the guests. It seems that after all of the tastings have been done, the seating assignments so carefully made and the hospitality bags so thoughtfully put together including Uncle Joe’s bag with his favorite local caramels, some guests just leave their manners at home.
Here is our list of the top 10 things you can do to ensure that you are the most spectacular guest that has ever attended a party. Make sure you read all the way down, you are definitely guilty of #10.
1. Be on time – this means if the ceremony starts at 5:00 pm you should arrive between 4:30 and 4:50, find your seat and smile. “Canon in D” is cueing at 5:00. Please do not show up at 5:15 and act upset that you’ve missed the first half of the ceremony. Alternatively, arriving an hour early is also a no-no. The staff that are there before the ceremony are working. They likely do not have time to find you a chair, procure a glass of water, talk about your trip from Tuscaloosa or the ability to “open the bar a little early.”
2. Go with the flow – Your hosts have put a great deal of thought and effort into the style of their reception. If they wanted a formal sit down meal where you could park your toosh for the next four hours, they would have planned it that way. If the reception is cocktail style, please don’t verbally assault the service staff because you can’t find a seat (or you don’t like the seats that are available.) The goal is for you to meet someone new, get on the dance floor and to have an experience you wouldn’t have from “seat 2, table 34”. You can catch up with Uncle Jimmy at the bar later.
3. Special meals – Yes, we need to know if you are a vegetarian/vegan, gluten free, Kosher or have a shellfish allergy that will send you into anaphylactic shock. However; please do not make your current fad diet your hosts problem. If you are currently on a no sugar, no carb, no meats, no vegetables diet… you should probably eat before you arrive. Waiting to tell your server that you hate the nuts on your salad once you sit down is also inappropriate. Often everyone will do what they can to make you happy, but this isn’t a diner and you are slowing things down.
4. You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here – you’ve heard the saying “all good things must come to an end.” Last call does not mean beg the bartender for four more beers and stuff them in your pockets and run out of the door like you’ve won the lottery. Last call means please politely finish your beverage, collect your things and head to the after party. You wouldn’t raid the bar in a private home prior to departure, this is no exception.
5. Restroom amenities – are not a free-for-all for restocking your bathroom. These items have been generously provided to help make your night a little easier in case of an emergency. Please leave some for others.
6. RSVP on time – nothing is more frustrating for a couple than having to track you down to find out if A: are you coming? B: are you having the chicken or salmon? C: do you plan to stay at the hotel so they can deliver you a welcome bag? When you “forget” to reply it sends the message that you don’t care or that their wedding is not a priority. Planning a wedding is stressful enough, please do your part to make it easier for your hosts.
7. Lock it up – hey, we’re all here for a good time, right? This doesn’t give you free-reign to get completely sloshed and become the most “memorable” guest of the evening. We aren’t saying “don’t have fun,” we have been known to start a dance-off and partake in a little wedding karaoke afterall. We just urge you to use a little caution when Uncle Joe suggests that you go “shot for shot” all night…
8. Read the envelope(s) – wedding etiquette is something that is often challenged, particularly in a day when everyone wants “something different.” Invitation etiquette (as is most etiquette); is written for a reason. It makes sense. If the invitation was addressed only to you, please do not call your buddy and ask if you can bring a date. Many of our clients try to make everyone as comfortable as possible. However; please keep in mind that guest lists are the single most difficult part of hosting an event (even more than establishing the budget). A lot of thought went into having you on the list and the budget or venue size may have played a large role in a restricted guest list. Either way, you have been chosen to be a part of their special day so fill out your RSVP card and decide if you would like chicken or fish a month from now.
9. Put down the centerpiece – if I told you the number of times I’ve had to stop a centerpiece from walking out the door… before cake cutting… you would probably have to pick your jaw up off the floor. What is more amusing is that the culprit is usually a relative that flew in for the night and is staying at the hotel. I still can’t figure out what the housekeeping staff does with these arrangements or what the face of the guy in the seat next to you on the airplane looks like while you try and eat your peanuts over a spray of roses. By the way, if you want to know why your table at brunch is missing flowers, check your hotel room.
10. Too Much Technology – I have saved the best for last. I can’t blame you for wanting to be the first person to tweet about Susie as she is walking down the aisle, she looks gorgeous! And I know… you just took this awesome photography class and you want to try out your camera. Unfortunately you are causing all sorts of problems. #10 almost has it’s own “top 10” list of do’s and don’ts but here are just a few to consider:
10a. Flash Mob – They have already hired a professional photographer to capture their day. You are in their way, your flash is ruining their shot, your giant ipad is now in every wedding photo and please stay out of the aisle during the ceremony. You aren’t hanging Susie’s wedding photo in your house, please don’t make her hang your ipad.
10b. It was beautiful! I think? – Weren’t their vows amazing?! Well, they were, but you didn’t hear them because you were too busy concentrating on recording them. In this age of technology wouldn’t it be so wonderful to personally experience something?
10c. Weddings are special, often private moments. Social media is great for a lot of things, but blasting a play-by-play of the couple on facebook, twitter or instagram may not be what they had in mind when they elected for an “intimate ceremony” with their closest friends and family. If you take nothing else away from the day you should remember to be present and live those moments. Your memories of that wedding day will far outlast the text messages.
Magnolia Bluebird design & events offers distinguished, sophisticated event planning, design and coordination services from grand galas to intimate celebrations, the super talented team at Magnolia Bluebird is highly sought-after for their flawless execution of the most stylish weddings in Washington D.C. and beyond.
From Danielle, Principal | Designer & Planner:
“Through our years of experience, calming demeanor, sense of humor, strong industry relationships and patience, we add many layers of value for our clients. We are driven to exceed your expectations through our core values of integrity, trust and passion coupled with our commitment to providing you with unmatched quality results. Each plan, design and event we execute is unique and inspired by… you.”