To quote one of my favorite comedies of all time:
“What do you like better, Christmas or wedding season?”
“The answer would be, um, wedding season?”
OK, maybe the characters in “Wedding Crashers” had a little more to be excited about than the average person, but wedding season really is right around the corner -- it unofficially runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day, May 30 to September 5 this year.
According to USAwedlink.com, there are about 2.5 million weddings in the United States every year, and the average guest list is 175. In other words, your chances of being invited to a wedding in 2011 are good.
A wedding could turn out to be one of the biggest social events of the year, not to mention quite the traditional affair. There’s ways to go about doing things, and breaking those traditions could result in becoming a pariah. Or, at the very least, being the subject of heated gossip for months to come.
In preparation of the most sacred of ceremonies, this week’s list is dedicated to those who may not know the unwritten rules of the wedding.
Here’s a few tips on what NOT to do:
1. Send out a late RSVP: The bride and groom already have a ton of work to do as they try to plan this thing, and there's nothing more stressful than the seating chart -- the one wedding planning item that can single-handedly end a marriage before it even begins. So, please, don't help the cause by tossing your RSVP to them at the last minute, forcing them to squeeze you in... somewhere...
Something just dawned on some of you, hasn't it? That RSVP shuffled in among other papers and bills was never sent out, was it? Congratulations, you’ve just made the groom’s life Hell for the next several weeks while the bride blasphemes your name at every opportunity.
2. Bring an uninvited “plus-one”: Check the invitation. To whom is it addressed? If you’re married, chances are it is addressed to “Mr. and Mrs.” If you're not, it may say something like, “Your Name And Guest.”
If it doesn’t say any of the above, don’t bring a guest. If you don’t mark a guest, don’t bring a guest! I have been invited to several weddings in which unmarried people weren’t even allowed to bring a plus-one.
And finally, if you have children and their name is not on the invite, don’t bring them. It’s for a reason. Current trends are swaying toward not having kids at a wedding. Hire a babysitter and enjoy the night off.
3. Wear white. Why anyone would do this, I don’t know, but it has been done. Brides wear white. You don’t. Simple as that.
While we’re at it, lets remind everyone that weddings are formal occasions. Men should be in shirts and ties and ladies should be in dresses or slacks. Nothing irks me more than seeing a wedding guest in jeans. Spring for the slacks, people.
4. Skip the ceremony and go to the reception: This one is just plain rude. We all know that everyone is looking forward to the reception. We know that’s where the party's at. But to skip the vows and hope no one notices is just wrong.
Most ceremonies are 15 minutes to an hour long, and the longer ceremonies aren’t so ridiculously bad that you can’t somehow sit there and get through it quietly. Besides, sooner than later, you’re going to be eating and drinking on the bride and groom's dime anyway.
5. Get overzealous with the open bar: It happens every time. Some guy(s) -- sorry, but it is usually us -- gets so excited at the prospect of free booze that he starts downing drinks as if they’re reinstating Prohibition tomorrow.
What ultimately could happen is that same boozehound spends the rest of the night trying to grind on someone’s grandmother -- I've seen it, and it's not pretty. But don’t worry, what you don’t remember tomorrow is all on some videographer’s hard drive. Start hoping you don’t make the final cut. Your drunken shenanigans could haunt you via DVD for the rest of your life.