Dear Wedding Guest,
Wedding season is upon us and we know you're excited to attend the wedding of your family, friends or loved ones, and we're excited to host you. Truly. So are the lovely newlyweds who sent that invitation your way. But there's some things we want you to know, and we think the bride and groom want you to know them too. Bear with us, this might get a little lengthy.
Weddings are a thing of beauty, but also a thing of intense, time-consuming and very detailed planning. So much thought goes into each and every decision that a couple makes, and those decisions are often-times partially dictated by the rules and regulations of the vendors they've hired.
So first of all, you know that RSVP card you received along with the wedding invitation? Go ahead and send that baby in. ASAP. And if not right away, at least ON TIME. The thing is, the bride and groom are anxiously awaiting your response. They can't wait to start seeing stacks of tiny envelopes in their mailboxes and look forward to opening them. But it's not just that, when you don't RSVP, you add hours of work to the couple's wedding planning. You see, they have to call every single person that doesn't RSVP. Every. Single. One. You may think "I didn't RSVP so they can just assume I'm not coming", but that's just not how it works. They owe their caterer a final guest count and it needs to be pretty on point. If the couple just assumed that every non-RSVPer was a no, and then a handful actually show up to the wedding, it messes up quite a bit. There probably wouldn't be enough seats... enough food... enough alcohol... you get the picture. Don't be a non-RSVPer.
Oh and one more thing about those RSVPs.... please don't take it upon yourself to RSVP for people who weren't invited. Chances are, the invitation envelope tells you EXACTLY who the bride and groom want at the wedding. If it says "The Smith Family" you can assume kids are invited. If it strictly lists one or two names, that's it. Sometimes the bride and groom even go as far as to put something on the RSVP card like "2 seats have been reserved in your honor". THAT MEANS 2. Please don't RSVP for your family of 6.
Sent back your "yes" RSVP? Great! Please don't be a no-show. Honestly, it's just rude. We understand that things happen and emergencies pop up, and those certainly aren't the no-shows we are referring to. We're talking about the folks who just decided they had better things to do or ended up not wanting to make the trip. Think long and hard about your RSVP because if you say you're coming and then don't, that's anywhere between $50-$200 that the couple wasted. Your food, your piece of cake, the extra table setting rentals... they paid for you to be there in multiple ways.
Also, if you could show up before the ceremony time, that would be wonderful. If you walk in after we've started the processional, we're going to ask you to stand back and wait until the bride is at the altar. Please don't be mad at us for this, the bridal party deserves their moment.
Now let's talk about that food the couple paid for. It's already been decided. All of it. Unless the wedding you're attending happens to be taking place at an actual restaurant, chances are the caterer can't just whip you up something different. You also can't send your steak back for another that's rare.
Wedding food is finicky. Imagine this... a very small number of people are preparing upwards of 100 plates, all to be ready at the EXACT SAME TIME and served in a seamless fashion that ensures each guest a hot meal. It may not be rocket science but it's not basic math either. It's a process. One that the caterer has perfected and one that doesn't involve steaks cooks at your beloved temperature or an order of mashed potatoes with no dairy.
That being said, if you have a dietary restriction please speak up BEFORE the wedding. You can make a note on your RSVP card or call the couple personally to discuss it. We don't want you to expect or assume that your request can be accommodated, but most times it can be if the couple is able to tell their caterer ahead of time. If you have a super strict allergy or dietary restriction it's usually best to eat beforehand or bring food with you, but those situations are rare.
A last note on food... if you had a choice on the RSVP card, no, you can't change it the day of. The caterer brought what they need based on the final count given to them by the couple.
Moving on to the bar. Chances are it's going to be open, that's pretty normal these days, but that doesn't mean open whenever you, the wedding guest, want it to be open. Please don't show up pre-ceremony and expect to get a glass of wine. The bar is closed and it's not going to change just for you. Why you ask? Well, the couple only paid for so many hours and there is only so much alcohol on site. In some cases, a venue or caterer's liquor license may dictate the bar times. The bar might even close between cocktail hour and dinner to encourage guests to move to where they need to be. The bottom line is, don't argue with whomever is telling you that you can't have the merlot. Your time will come. Or maybe it's already passed.. the bar does have to close at the end of the night you know.
Not only are you going to have vendors asking you to migrate to another area or telling you that the bar is temporarily closed, chances are you might also be asked not to step into the reception area during cocktail hour. At all. Not to hang your coat on your chair, not to place your purse on the table... Not. At. All. Silly right? Surely you can just take 2 seconds to put your coat down. Wrong. When the reception area is closed off, it's for good reason. Typically it's because the catering staff is whizzing back and forth setting up final touches and pouring champagne, because the couple has requested to see the finished space before anyone else, or because it's being photographed. All of which may seem trivial to you, but really aren't to the people who have paid thousands of dollars to have wedding photos taken and want to remember the space untouched. That one coat can ruin the entire shot. Period.
Song requests are another hot topic. You are 100% welcome to walk up to the band or DJ and request a song. You are 100% not welcome to pitch a fit when said song is not played. Here's the deal guys... sometimes the couple has flat out told the DJ not to accept song requests, and you aren't the exception to the rule. Other times, the DJ or band has to make a game time decision based on the crowd and they aren't going to ruin the solid dance party that's going down to play the chicken dance. That's their job.
Once the party dies down and the lights are turned on, please don't linger at your table, or really anywhere. We know you're bummed that the wedding is over, we probably are too! But your hard-working vendors have a job to do, possibly one of the most important ones of the night... Get everything organized, packed up and out. Often times this includes tables and chairs and often times we only have 60 minutes to do it all. We need the mobility to grab centerpieces, remove linens, collect trash, wheel hundreds of stacked chairs out of the room and load equipment into trucks. If we don't hit the 60 minute mark, the couple could be charged an additional fee by their venue, per their contract. So please, help us help them.
Wedding guests, we love you, we really do. And we're sorry if our love letter is a little "tough love", but we want you to be educated, to have proper expectations and a fabulous time. At the end of the day we (and every other vendor at the wedding) are getting paid to make sure that the requests of the soon-to-be-newlyweds are being carried out, and that's all we're trying to do. This day is about the bride and groom, not you. So if we seem unreasonable, or like we're asking you to do something silly, we promise we're not. And we're happy to help with, and often times will go out of our way to fulfill, any request of yours that we can.
The Wedding Planner
P.S. Yes, we've actually seen every single one of these situations play out numerous times... we didn't make this stuff up! We do want to make one more thing clear though... These scenarios don't apply to all vendors, couples and situations. This also doesn't apply to all wedding guests... the majority of you guys rock... if you don't... well, you know who you are! Perhaps someone even sent you the direct link to this letter ;)