There are two kinds of people in the world come June: those who are thrilled that wedding season is here, and those who are filled with dread and loathing at the very thought of it. Which one are you? Yay! Or nay?
Here at Dandelion Chandelier, we love weddings. Pretty well any wedding, actually. Whether the ceremony is being held at Westminster Cathedral or the local city hall, count us in. Black tie or beach, it’s all good. We’re hopeless romantics.
But we know that’s not how everyone feels. Sometimes the negative feelings triggered by the arrival of a wedding invitation in the mail come from the cost of being a guest – a survey this year by Bankrate revealed that 21% of would-be wedding guests have declined an invitation because they felt they couldn’t afford to go (another survey reports that 40% of respondents have had that issue at least once). Given that last year, the average cost per guest of attending a wedding was reportedly $703 (double the cost 5 years ago), this is completely understandable.
Other pain points? Perhaps the bride and groom are not close family or friends, and attending feels like too much work and time to devote to a distant relationship. Or maybe the invitee has a case of wedding overload: the average American attends three a year, but if you’re “of marrying age,” you might be facing 5-7 ceremonies this summer and fall. Maybe you’ve been invited, but you cannot bring a guest so you’re being forced to fly solo. Maybe you just broke up with someone. Or the person who’s getting married is your boss. Or your nutty cousin.
In the face of this parade of horribles, this seems to be the perfect moment to share our Dandelion Chandelier strategies for making your presence as a guest into a fun and luxurious experience. At any wedding. Even a ceremony where you wonder why on earth you were invited. Even one that your ex is attending. Even one where you’re the ex.
It’s not up to the hosts to make you feel great (although it would be nice if they would invest some thought in doing so, especially when it comes to the dinner seating chart). The power is all in your hands. Our recommendations don’t require excessive drinking (or any drinking at all, actually). They also don’t stipulate any misbehavior before, during or after the event with one of your fellow guests (that of course, is your call).
The key is to approach the impending nuptials in the right frame of mind. Instead of moaning or complaining, consider these 10 things you have to look forward to as a wedding guest:
1. You’ll learn what’s new in the world of wedding tech. Consider the arrival of the invitation your chance to see how the current crop of brides and grooms are leveraging social media and online marketplaces to make today’s weddings more personal, simpler, and easier for both hosts and guests. There are some very cool innovations in the space, and it can be fun to experience them firsthand.
2. The gift registry will tell you a lot about the couple – it’s almost as entertaining as reading a good novel. What do the couple’s requests tell you about them – their tastes, their values, their habits, how they live? This is a free license to pry into the inner lives of others – how great is that?
3. It’s the closest thing to a prom that adults get to experience. Plumbing your closet for (or even better, going shopping for) a special dress, shoes, a tux or a handbag gives you a chance to don your best party clothes. Have a mani-pedi and opt for over-the-top polish colors. Put your hair up. Or streak it purple. ‘Cause why not? Revel in the joy of getting all dolled up.
4. A wedding is like a fashion show. You can be the cool observer of not just the attire of the couple getting married, but also the members of the wedding party, the parents of the couple, and your fellow guests – sit back and enjoy the runway show. Even if people have made unfortunate choices, it’ll give you plenty to look at and dish about afterward.
5. All diets are put on hold for the night. No one is allowed to say no to wedding cake – and we’ve heard that the calories just evaporate into the air on the wings of love. So have two slices!
6. The flowers are usually beautiful and interesting. Don’t forget to stop and smell them.
7. You may reconnect with some people you haven’t seen in while, like at a college reunion. It matters not whether you like these people (of course, if you do it’s a nice surprise). Catch up on some gossip, humble brag if it suits you – you’ll come home with a couple of good stories no matter what.
8. You’ll hear at least one great speech that will remind you of the most precious things in life: love, family, friendship, renewal, hope, commitment, faith, trust, optimism, and joy. Of course, you may have to sit through 7-8 other speeches that make everyone cringe – but it’ll be worth it to hear that one gem.
9. The music is usually live, and it’s usually really good – most people don’t skimp on the entertainment, even if they skimp on the food and drink. Free concert for you! Just be careful waving your lighter in the air.
10. You get to dance! No one will mock your moves on the dance floor at a wedding – everyone wants to be happy, many people will be cheerfully imbibing alcohol, and almost no one will be watching you, let alone critiquing you. So get your Running Man on!
All of these lovely things can happen at a wedding that’s happening in your local area. If you are fortunate enough to be invited to a destination wedding, you can multiply all of this by ten. We have a friend who is soon to depart for such a wedding in Tuscany. It will last for three full days, guests are being housed in a Relais & Châteaux hotel, and all expenses are being paid by the host. It’s nice to kick it mogul-style, no?
Our belief is that whether at home or away, you can make any wedding a fun time. As you gear up for the season, we urge you to behave like a slightly more refined wedding crasher (think back to the first 5 minutes of that iconic rom-com Wedding Crashers with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson): revel in the joy of a new union, dance like crazy, and eat without guilt. Those are luxuries we all need more of.