18 Dos And Don'ts For 20-Somethings Entering The Wedding World


Peak wedding season may be over, but the four horseman of the nuptial apocalypse (bridezillas, bridesmaidzillas, groomsmen and guests who don’t get it) are far from finished galloping through the proverbial town square.

I have a decent amount of experience in the wedding circuit. And, while I will not claim I know everything, I do hear a lot of similar expressions of surprise, hurt feelings and shock at seemingly mundane behavior.

I feel like one of the major issues with wedding planning, participation and attendance was adequately expressed by a young bride I knew.

When asked how planning was going, she said it was difficult, as she knew so little about it. The asker laughed and replied, “Well, how would you?!”

Weddings are, in a perfect world, an event each person only plans once. They are also an ancient tradition steeped heavily in etiquette issues that literally fill books, websites, blogs, etc.

How are we all supposed to know how to act when said traditions are always changing and when we are all, nearly by definition, new to these things?

Well, never fear. Your resident Type A wedding guest/participant is here to save you! Here is a list of wedding "dos and don’ts" for those of us just entering the true wedding season from our 20s to our 30s and beyond.

Don’t: Be the one who says he or she is coming, then doesn’t show. You just wasted $35 worth of dry chicken and copious amounts of free booze. Congrats.

Don’t: Be the bridezilla who hears that not everyone can afford to come to her bachelorette weekend in Malibu, and subsequently labels all who failed to make it as "betches."

Don’t: Be the guy who hosts beer and board games at his parents' house for his bachelor party. (Who, for any reason, wants to be this guy?)

Don’t: Get wasted on aforementioned free booze and make out with the guest of honor’s sibling/mom/grandmother. At the very least, don’t do this in public.

Do: Find the bar and the way around the line to it.

Do: Look up some church etiquette if the ceremony is religious. You don't want to be that clown who stood when only the bride’s parents were supposed to.

Don’t: Lose friends over your own wedding. Yeah, I know, people suck and are "betches" as stated above, but you will regret it once the wedding high wears off, and whoops, you’re actually the betch!

Do: Thank out-of-town guests for their travel to the wedding. Do you like flying for nine hours to be treated like you drove 10 minutes down the road? Didn’t think so.

Don’t: Say no to a wedding if it is within your power to attend. Skimp on the gift, maybe just bring a card, but your presence is the best present of all (see what I did there?). Also, free booze.

Do: Treat the guests of honor like royalty for the day. It only happens once (we hope), so make it count!

Don’t: Act like dictators. Groomzillas exist, too, and y’all are rude and nasty. These people are your guests. Go watch "Beauty and the Beast" and get back to me on how being rude to guests goes over.

Do: Keep an eye on the bride. Does she need water? Is she in need of a dance partner? Did you step on her train? PLEASE, GOD, NO.

Do: Participate in the silly traditions. I have solemnly sworn never to bunny hop myself, but regarding the whole single ladies catch the bouquet bit, the bridal dance for a shot, etc., just join in. You will have more fun than you think and that guy sitting in the back refusing to dance is a four letter word. I’ll let you guess which.

Don’t: Be that bride who expects every bridesmaid to get her hair, makeup and nails professionally done on her own dime. Unless you’re paying for airfare, the dresses (that they will NOT wear again), the shoes you deem they wear and their hotel rooms, then please, add up the listed expenses and tell me why this is a rude and ridiculous expectation.

Do: Figure out who the family of the guests of honor is. Do you want to be standing in front of Grandma Betty when the bride and groom cut the cake? I didn’t think so.

Do: Consider the fact that the guests of honor will most likely hang onto the guest book forever. Keep this in mind when scrawling your note in it about that one time the groom got wasted and….

Do: Wear out your dancing shoes.

Don’t: Get so worried about etiquette and everyone’s feelings that you have a terrible time planning or enjoying weddings. They are supposed to be celebrations, so celebrate!

And, save me some of that free booze.