How to be the perfect wedding guest

It is Spring. Well, almost and then Summer will soon be next. Apart from lots and lots of G&Ts, short denim jeans and never wearing closed shoes Summer means weddings. Whether you like it or not the wedding season has opened.

Now I’m not married. While all the ingredients for a wedding are there (love of my life and the aim to end with the two of us on a sofa in an old folks’ home), we just never got round to it. Simply because when the time was right, we always thought of something much more fun to do with all that money. My choice, our choice, but it sure turns me into a dragon of a wedding guest.

I already suspected it and when I stumbled across this piece in the Huffington Post, I was certain. So here you have a list giving the major protocol for wedding guests.


Once you get the invitation, grab your diary, see if you can and send a written rsvp. Immediately. I was the kind of guest that would just say (thus verbally), “Of course I’ll come!” That turned out to be really annoying for the future bride. And I do understand why. She is already frantically busy and it’ll be utter chaos if she also has to keep track in her head of who’s coming and who’s not. Simply politely confirm on paper and with that she can get going with the catering, seating and goodness knows what else.

Plus nobody

If the invitation does not state that you can bring someone, then don’t ask. Full stop. One person costs a lot and ‘if everyone does it’, the wedding day suddenly doubles in price. Above all, people would be there that the bride and groom did not invite themselves. You surely wouldn’t want that either. So, too bad. You go on your own. There’s bound to be people there you know, and otherwise you’ll get to know them at the hen party anyway.

a present is mandatory

A wedding day is a money-gulping monster. For that reason alone you should support the happy couple with a fresh new set of sheets or a blender. Buy something from their gift list (btw while researching this I found out that the Bijenkorf stopped their marriage service in 2015; a noteworthy change) because that’s something they’d really like to have. You may think it’s ridiculous (I find gift lists quite bourgeois) or can’t afford their wishes, but do give something. Remember Carrie who had to choose ‘a little thing’ for a wedding where the gift list prices started at 259 dollars or so? A bottle of wine, linen handkerchiefs, or send a very beautiful card. Even if the wedding phenomenon leaves you cold (like me… well, not cold, maybe lukewarm), it’s a Very Special Day for the pair. Respect that and express that.

remember the date

Really, I’m such an idiot with dates. I’m already very proud of myself if I can remember the birthdays of my best friends. But you really score if you can remember the wedding anniversaries of your loved ones. Just get a calendar and mark every anniversary on it. My aunt still rings each year on my parents’ anniversary. Sweet, don’t you think?

be compassionate

I always tense up a bit when a wedding is approaching. I have the feeling I should do all kinds of things because someone I’m fond of is going to experience something very important to her, but in the end nothing seems good enough and so I eventually don’t do anything. And then arrive on the day feeling guilty.

Just send a card a few days beforehand. Or on the day before, bring her a tiny bottle of champagne that she can sip during the make-up moment. Really, every gesture is fine. But do something. I will from now on.

BY May-Britt Mobach
Jongleert doordeweek met kinderen en laptops, vermoedt een serieuze shopverslaving en probeert lichtelijk obsessief latte- en wijngebruik van zich af te schudden door overmatig veel te sporten.
Afbeelding van May-Britt Mobach