5 secrets to being an awesome wedding guest
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You may think that as a guest, all you need to do is just show up with a nice gift, sit quietly, eat your meal and dance. But so much more goes into being a great wedding guest. The couple put in a lot of time and effort in making sure their wedding makes everyone happy. It’s easy, as a guest, to forget that; it wasn’t until I got married that I really understood exactly what goes into making an amazing day. Based on what I’ve seen and what I’ve experienced over the years at weddings I’ve attended, I believe If you really want to impress the newlyweds, there are 5 secrets you should know:
Secret 1: Be respectful of photographer and videographer space
We all love to take photos and videos at weddings for our own keepsakes, and some of you may be excellent photographers, but the couple didn’t hire you to take their photos or videos of their wedding. They hired – and made a big investment in hiring – professionals to do that for them. Does that mean you can’t take photos and videos at weddings? Of course not. What it means, though, is making sure you do not get in the way of the professionals who are there to do their job. So, no standing in the aisles, no cramming to get up front for a view of the cake cutting, no standing in the way of the first dance, etc. It’s all about just being mindful of your space and who’s around you. This also means not getting in the way of other guests who want the same photos. Remember, the couple will more than likely share photos with you once they get them back, so take photos with the understanding that you might not get the picture perfect shot; the professional will.
Secret 2: Share your photos with the couple
As mentioned, taking photos at a wedding is encouraged, as long as you don’t interfere with the pros. That being said, couples won’t get their professional photos for some time after their wedding day. So, even if you don’t get the perfect shot, share them with the couple. Trust me, they are going to be really eager to see what the day looked like from a different perspective. Even though we knew our professional photographer was doing an awesome job, we wanted as many photos as we could get from that day because – guess what? – our photographer couldn’t capture every moment because, well, he was photographing us. Couples want to see what was going on while they were being photographed. Don’t worry if they came out too dark or were blurry or you only took a few. Don’t think your photos aren’t ‘good enough,’ because they are. Any moment captured that the couple might have missed is awesome and very much appreciated.
Secret 3: Do not post photos, stories, or videos of a wedding you attend on social media without the couple’s permission
I just explained why sharing your photos is a good thing, but they need to be shared privately. It’s easy, in this day in age, to assume everyone is on social media and everyone is comfortable with it. That is not always the case. Even if the couple is on Facebook and other social media, a wedding is a very personal and private, invitation-only event. A couple may not want videos of a teary speech or a silly dance, or them reciting their vows being shared or be tagged in any photos (even if you can limit the privacy settings). In some cases, couples who are comfortable with you sharing photos will generate a hashtag for you to use when posting on social media. That allows the couple to literally search that hashtag along every platform and be able to find every photo guests posted. However, if you don’t see a hashtag listed on the invitation or at the wedding itself, do not share the photos online without getting their permission. Instead, send them your photos personally, either hard copy or via email. You can’t assume it’s OK to share on social media just because everyone does it.
Secret 4: Send the hosts a thank you
I know that sounds kind of weird, right, because the couple should be sending you a
thank you for coming and for your gift. But, when you think about all the time, money and effort they spent to make sure everyone had a good time, it’s nice to reciprocate and tell them how much you enjoyed being there. I’m kind of old-school and still think a personal, hand-written note is nice, but an e-mail would be just as good. Along with a thank you, send congratulations along with some memories of the day. For couples who are especially sentimental, like we were, how awesome do you think it would be for a couple to receive a message full of memories and/or photos of that day? You can say something like “I don’t know if you know this, but during cocktail hour we were talking to (fill in the blank) and we were discussing how (fill in the blank).” Couples could miss these little stories because they are busy doing their own thing, but they’re items to cherish! I know I couldn’t get enough of our guests’ stories.
Secret 5: Save mementos
Couples, whether they had a professional create them or they did they themselves, spent a lot of time and money deciding what kinds of invitations, programs, menus, favors, and other various props to have at their ceremony and reception. So, grab an extra program or two, save an extra menu, or any other trinket given to you at the wedding. A couple might have saved extras already, but being able to provide those to the couple, just in case, is heartwarming. Let them know you saved a couple of extra for them in case they wanted to keep them.
What have you done as a wedding guest that you thought the couple might like? Couples, what would you want your guests to do? We’d love to hear your ideas.