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“You’re either at a wedding or a golf tournament,” I was told recently when I expressed I had a weekend off to do whatever I pleased. And they were right. I’m at that point in my life where everyone is either getting married, having kids, blacking out at bars, or a combination of all of the above. But when you put things into perspective, weddings aren’t as much of a beating as everyone makes them out to be. You’re surrounded by friends, you know you’ll stack some Instagram likes in a suit or dress, and it’s better than going to the same bar that you go to weekend after weekend after weekend.
Unfortunately, Vogue took issue with some of the less desirable occurrences you’ll run into at weddings. They titled this, The Biggest Wedding Guest Complaints — 6 Mistakes to Avoid, and I’m pretty sure you can make any mistake you want when you’re throwing a $30,000 party for your friends to attend with no frills attached.
This is probably the most crucial part of making sure the wedding guests are happy during the reception. Even the quickest ceremonies can seem endless for those you’ve invited, and if you aren’t offering anything to nosh on during cocktail hour, then you better make sure to provide a full meal that’s not only nourishing but delicious, too.
This isn’t a soup kitchen – it’s your friend’s fucking wedding. Last time I checked, I wasn’t showing up for a free hot meal because that meal isn’t actually free. My shirt and suit aren’t going to press themselves and the blender I’m getting you off of your registry is way more expensive than the pre-made soup and salad I would’ve had for dinner otherwise. You could serve me a Hot Pocket topped with Pace salsa and I’d probably be satisfied as long as it soaks up the champagne.
A Long Wait Between Ceremony and Reception
In many cases, having to space out the ceremony and reception if they’re located in two different place is just one of the unfortunate parts of venue scheduling and availability. However, if you do end up with two or more hours in between, it’s best to not just leave your guests hanging and organize a gathering at a nearby bar or restaurant (guests can pay for their own food or drink here, but it’s just nice for them to have a single place to hang out while they wait).
When you’re already dressed to the nines and well-knowing that you’re going to leave the reception with blurred vision, does it really matter how long you have to wait? Between the cocktail hour bleeding into that awkward period when the wedding party is taking photos in the middle of a field thirty miles south of the reception, I’ve pretty much learned to throw any semblance of a timetable out the window. You’re not going to see me boohooing when all I’ve got in my pocket is a pair of shades and an AmEx card considering the rest of my night will be completely paid for outside of the Uber home where I’ll inevitably get three stars for falling asleep.
Yes, there are budgets and overspending to worry about when planning your wedding, but if you’re going to splurge on anything, it should be the drinks. You’ve asked your guests to attend your wedding, they’ve given you a gift, and for that they should be able to enjoy the evening without paying for a cocktail or glass of wine.
I couldn’t agree more that an open bar is essential for ensuring your guests don’t side text each other asking, “You want to get out of here?” But asserting that your guests deserve free drinks because they showed up with a gift is a little ridiculous. I’d rather have a flask in my pocket with a killer wedding band than be sipping bottom-shelf scotch all night that’ll definitely make me want to blow my brains out the next day. If I’m not at your wedding, I’ll likely be running up a tab regardless so I might as well do it looking like James Bond surrounded by a bunch of people who actually expect me to get hammered rather than a crew of bouncers who threaten to cut me off.
Too Many Speeches
Family and friends giving toasts can be an amazing, heartwarming thing, but they can also be downright unbearable. Keep the speeches to the immediate family and bridal party—no guest wants to sit through your second cousin’s recount of a crazy drunken night you two spent together in college. It’s just painful.
Speeches are largely entertaining. The issue lies in when they happen. If speeches are meant to only be made by immediate family and bridal party, then they need to occur at the rehearsal dinner where everyone knows each other. But if I was barely invited to the wedding in the first place, the last thing I want to do is sit there and listen to the third bridesmaid once removed spout off about their friendship while her lips are covered in red wine. Just get that out of the way before the big day and we good.
Making the Guests Wait
If the bride or groom is late to the ceremony, it’s rude to make your guests wait around for things to get started. This is a major turnoff, especially if it’s an outdoor wedding and the weather isn’t perfect.
How late is fucking late, though? Who shows up more than ten minutes late to their own ceremony? Pretty sure that if there’s a major issue going down behind the scenes, I shouldn’t be sitting there checking my watch while groaning in disgust. I should probably be worried about the health and wellbeing of my friend’s relationship. I’ve already blocked off the entire day for the wedding anyway, so as long as I’m carrying a buzz and promised a dance floor, I’m cool as a cucumber.
Unassigned Seats at Dinner
During the planning process, take the time to create a thoughtful seating chart for dinner. There’s nothing worse than a guest having to sit among people they’ve never met before, or getting to their assigned table and finding that there’s no room.
Are we six years old or are we watching our friends take the biggest step they’ll ever take in their lives? I’m old enough to where I don’t need to be told where to sit, and the benefits of having a loose seating chart outweigh the cons. Having a free-flowing seating situation is like boarding a Southwest flight – if you’re vigilant and aggressive, you can get the best seat and enjoy the three hours that follow. Meanwhile, if I don’t have to be tied to a seat with my name on it, it just makes working the room that much easier. Let the cattle roam and good things will follow.
Now where’s the bar? I need to find out if this thing is cash or not. .