Dear Wedding Guest | Dear Wedding Series

New blog series! Yay! This is one I have been working on for a while! This first post comes from a large swath of weddings I have been to, been in, and helped to organize. Let it encourage you before attending your next event!

Dear Wedding Guest,

Your [niece/friend/neighbor/childhood bestie/kid you used to babysit] invited you to her wedding! That's a pretty big deal! It's going to be a wonderful time! I want to remind you of a few things before you arrive...

As much as the soon-to-be wedded couple care for you, don't forget this can be a stressful day, and both of them are on pins and needles. They want everything to go well, not just for themselves, but for their guests! The bride and her mother, or grandma, or coordinator have spent the past few months planning every little detail with the hope that their guests will feel welcome and enjoy a memorable day. I have heard some pretty hurtful things from guests at weddings. Ultimately, those decisions were made by the bride and groom. It's their day. Besides, you never know who will be listening as you lay down your criticism.

Visiting the bride while she is getting ready is NEVER okay unless you have been invited to do so! Unless you are bringing Chick-fil-A, then it might be alright. ;) In all seriousness, getting ready is a ritual that is spent with her bridesmaids, parents, siblings, etc. Those moments alone are her last before walking down to meet her husband.

The bride has probably been following her photographer on Instagram for...wait for it...YEARS. It's highly likely she planned her wedding date around the availability of her photographer. Don't believe me? Well, it's true. Photos are important. Aside from the whole being married part, pictures are souvenirs for the couple. Wedding photographers have expensive equipment. They are experienced. Let them take the pictures. A camera or phone will stick out like a sore thumb. My husband asked guests to put their cameras away at a wedding he did this past summer. I was so proud of him! Experience the day they have so graciously planned for you to enjoy! (This section was greatly influenced by this blog post.)

Perhaps the wedding isn't the swankiest thing you've ever seen. Or maybe it's over the top. Before voicing your opinion about how much or how little the wedding cost, put yourself in their shoes. Coming from a bride that tried to do things on a tight budget, it was hurtful to hear through the grapevine that my wedding did not meet expectations. (Don't worry, I got over that real quick!) On the flip side, shaming a couple for spending "too much" is also bad manners. The bride and groom plan their wedding so their guests can share in their greatest memory. Don't you feel special!?

HAVE FUN! Like I mentioned before, they want you there! You were invited to participate in the biggest day of their lives! Relish in that! PARTY! Dance! Eat cake!

Love, Sterling