It must be nice to be the kind of person who is always prepared for everything – or, rather, every event – that life throws at them, be it funerals, or meeting the parents for the first time. Weddings, though, are the worst of the bunch. As a guest, you're not expected to do anything on the day apart from get drunk on (hopefully free) prosecco, clap at the appropriate times and pop up in a couple of group photos, but the nervous energy radiating from the newlyweds-to-be tends to wash itself over the guests, which can leave you feeling stressed even if you're sitting three metres away from the altar.
So how do you keep your shit together as a wedding guest? Follow these pointers and, fingers crossed, you'll get through the wedding season stress free.
Get your outfit sorted way in advance
Although organised types undoubtedly never encounter such problems, wedding invites, or 'save the dates', are problematic in that many of them tend to come about a year before the actual event. The normal reaction to receiving these is Instagramming or Snapchatting them, and then shoving them out of sight. And, as the old saying goes, out of sight, out of mind – before you know it, a whole 14 months have passed, it's a week before your friend's wedding and you have nothing to wear. Plan ahead, as we can guarantee that that romantic bank holiday weekend in August will be here before you've had a chance to think about it.
FYI: RSVPs are there for a reason
That thing we just mentioned about wedding invites and how they're so easy to forget about because they don't sit at the top of your priority list the moment you receive them? Well, here's the thing: for the bride/groom to be, those wedding invites – namely the little RSVP bit – are pretty high-priority. Knowing as early as possible how many people are going to show up at your wedding is a huge help to marrieds-to-be as they can plan their food/drink budget, seating plans etc accordingly. Don't be the one they have to wait around to hear from: RSVP, ASAP.
Plan for every eventuality
By which we mean: plan for every eventuality when it comes to British weather. If you're going to an outdoors-y wedding (even if that just means having photographs taken outdoors), prepare your outfit and accessories in advance as if you know you're going to be caught in torrential rain, or locked in a walk-in freezer. Bring, then, the little faux fur coat or shrug that will warm you up, or the big pashmina that doubles up as a comfort blanket (NB: weddings are the only occasions for which pashmina-wearing is passable), the mini umbrella that will stop your heavily made-up face from getting ruined in the rain, or the 'glam' pair of flats you can swap out your stilettos for if you need to walk on grass. Bring it all; shove it in the car. As long as you don't look like too much of a tit, anything goes. if you choose to wear tights, bring a spare pair, or at least some clear nail polish to stop any laddering.
If you're skint and you're not sure whether there's an open bar, bring your own drink... discreetly
Not all weddings are made equal; not all of them have an open bar. While the kind soul within you acknowledges that weddings are expensive enough before the idea of an open bar is even factored in, if you're skint then a small part of you can't help but curse your pals for not being a bit more generous. Say no to overpriced wedding bars by reviving one of your old tricks from your teens: slip a little hip flask of your favourite spirit into your bag, and use it to top up the soft drinks that you do purchase from the bar in the evening. While you might think you're bringing the banter when you pull out this party trick, most self-respecting members of the bridal party will probably be less than impressed, so keep things discreet!
Go steady with the bevs. And remember to eat
There's always one person at a wedding who drinks too much, too early, and ends up having to miss out on the evening do. Don't be that person. Pace yourself with the booze and, most importantly, don't forget to eat (depending on the kind of person you are, this is all too easily done after four proseccos) – it will add fuel to your fire, so to speak, and stop you feeling even more lightheaded, because all that booze is bad enough.
Don't bother signing the guestbook if you've had too much to drink
Guestbooks are so often placed near the venue's main entrance/exit. So unwise. It's practically begging to be signed off by people at the end of the night, a little worse for wear, on their way to their taxi. Don't be the person who writes in (read: ruins) the guestbook at the end of the night, scrawling something illegible over an entire page. The sentiment is there, sure, but like most drunken gestures of affection, in the clear, harsh light of day it just looks sloppy.
Here's to the wedding season!