The Wisdom, Worries and Woes of a Wedding Guest.

September 16, 2019

Whether it’s through an interactive website, a casual Facebook message or a handcrafted masterpiece delivered by an owl – a wedding invitation is always well-received.  


Your invitation will tell your guests more than just what to bring, where to meet and who to inform about their nut-allergy – it will tell them that you love them. That they’re important. That they, along with your favourite oldest friends and a careful selection of blood-relatives, are in you and your partners integral top-tier. It will tell them that they’re invited to enjoy an elaborately planned party, courtesy of you and your families. A party with wining them, dining them and showing them a hell of a good time firmly at its core.


While you and your partner may find yourselves dealing with a dodgy long-range forecast or a bout of nervous-acne, your guests are simply required to RSVP, delegate the Airbnb booking to someone responsible and turn up at the Information Centre in time for the midday bus. Life as a guest is pretty smooth-sailing.


However, chances are you’ve (kindly and selflessly) made guest-enjoyment a top priority, so I’ve ventured into the depths of my never-been-married brain to come up with this very short list of possible wedding-guest-gripes. Things that, in my experience, have made life as a guest either mildly difficult, a touch dangerous or ever so slightly uncomfortable.


 The Slippery D-Floor


While it may seem like a fairly obvious one, a slippery dance-floor can be one of the hardest issues to control. As someone who already feels less-than-comfortable on a dance-floor (what are you meant to do with your hands? Does anyone know?) the added stress of a potential slip-and-slide is almost too much to bear.


Luckily, you have several non-slip options up your sleeve. Things like textured dance-floor tiles, slip-resistant floor rolls or dark-coloured carpet tiles (darker than your darkest wine on offer) are all great for keeping hoofs on the ground. You could provide jandals for any heel-wearing groovers, or, if the dance floor is more of a ‘push the tables back and gyrate where you land’ set up, then a no-drinks-on-the-d-floor policy could be encouraged (with towels stashed nearby for imminent spills).


The Rambling Monologue


“…and that’s when we realised that it wasn’t Stephanie’s Aunty Alison we were thinking of, rather it was Alison’s brother’s wife Andrea who had knitted the hat. Interestingly enough, Alison wasn’t even in Timaru that week, she was at a health and safety conference up near Nelson.”


Sorry Mr Stephanie, but that was not an interesting fact.


If you have an idea of how much rambling you can take (Three minutes? Five minutes? Twenty minutes as long as it’s not Stephanie’s Dad?), then kindly share this with your speakers, toast-makers and MCs. Suggest they prepare in advance, remember the occasion and always stick to the script. Off-track is rarely the right track.


The ‘Make It Stop’Face


If one of your speakers ignores your advice and you fear everyone will die of old age before the speech ends, the worst thing you can do is show your frustration. Yes, everything they say is boring. Yes, it’s completely irrelevant to you and your partners love-story. But, your guests will be looking at you for their cues. A squirming, horrified bride or groom encourages a squirming, horrified crowd. Clench your teeth, channel your inner Kate Middleton, and give your MC/wedding planner/Mum a nice, sharp ‘make it end, NOW’ look. This is not your issue to deal with. And, no matter how painful, the speech will eventually end. It has to.


 The Drinks for Non-Drinkers


When your mind is full of trendy gin caravans, delicious rum cocktails and enough bubbles for a week, (with reserves for the day-after BBQ) – you’d be forgiven if the non-drinkers (or light drinkers) were accidentally overlooked. For many, alcohol and weddings go hand in wildly-fun hand, and options for sober drivers, pregnant pals and alcohol-free-by-choicers can often be uninspiring.


However, there are amazing non-alcoholic options out there for people who prefer them. Alcohol-free beer, wine and spirits are all taking off – with big names like Heineken, Asahi and Seedlip jumping on board. Spare a thought for the sober and pop a few of these in your chilly-bin. Believe me, they’ll thank you for it.


 Table seating


There’s nothing better than seeing people you love getting to know other people you love. The bringing together of friend groups, workmates and families is incredibly special, and is a big part of what makes a wedding so heart-warming. But, if you’re having a seated event, it can be hard to know where to put them all.


If you’re tempted to mix everyone up, proceed with a little bit of caution. Is anyone particularly awkward or shy? Sit them next to someone they know and trust. Should your Dad’s sexist friend sit near your feminist colleague? Definitely not. If a clash can be avoided, avoid it. Will Great Uncle Neville be ok with your uni friends? Possibly not, unless of course he’s partial to a red wine funnel before the mains.


 At the end of the day (your amazing, love-filled day) the most important thing to remember is that everyone is there for one reason. You.


If Great Uncle Neville gets shit-faced or your cousin slides across the dance-floor on her rump– it’s ok. It’s all part of it. Your relationship isn’t perfect, so why should your wedding be any different?


Enjoy every slippery, rambling moment of it. I know your guests will.

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Wedding musings from the ever talented Helen O'Connor

Photo credit: Fiona Andersen