Yay! You just received an invitation to your friend’s wedding. Welcome to your 20s! This is the first wedding you will attend without your parents and family present. Here’s what you need to know going in.
Don’t assume you get a free “plus one”
Pay close attention to how your invitation is addressed. Newbies always assume that a plus one is mandatory. Unfortunately, weddings are expensive, and the bride might just be savvy enough to maintain her guest list appropriately.
If you have been granted a guest on your arm, your invitation should clearly state “and guest” or some form of that wording. Say your bride knows you and your significant other well, your invitation may say “Miss Jan Doe and Mr. Jack Smith.”
If your invitation only states your name, be aware that if you chose to attend, you are to go as a single. No fear! That might not always be a bad thing! Some say a wedding is a great place to meet people, but let’s also hope that you know a few others in attendance as well. Hopefully, the bride is smart enough to seat you with friends of yours.
Location, Location, Location!
We advise that you do not overlook this detail. Are you familiar with the area of the venue? Does the invitation recommend booking a hotel or is it within driving distance?Be sure to do your research before you expect an uber to schlep you in and out of NYC to Long Island. If in doubt, reach out to the bride or close friends to get the 411.
Of course drinking and driving is not recommended, but be sure that your budget is ready for a hotel room if needed. And with that in mind, you might want to find out if there are shuttles available. Don’t expect all of these things to be provided, as much as we wish it were a standard for all weddings.
What do I wear?
90% of the time you are safe to select whatever cocktail dress you chose. Take a quick scan of the invitation, just to be sure that the words “casual” or “black tie” are not featured anywhere. Otherwise, feel free to buy, borrow, or rewear any cocktail dress that is not white (or any white-ish color).
Gifts are not optional
Duh, wouldn’t you want one? It was nice when you just assumed Mom or Dad spot you on the family gift. For your first weddings, here are a few things you should consider:
- Bridal shower gifts are separate from weddings gifts. If you’re invited to both, that’s two separate gifts.
- Is a registry listed with the invitation? Might clue you into what the happy couple needs.
- Did you get a plus one? As we said, weddings are expensive and can cost quite a bit per person. If you were given a plus one, your guests’ seat is worth just as much as yours, so be sure to remember that when you pull out your checkbook.
- How fancy is this wedding? Cash is easy to throw in your purse, but be sure to factor in a number that you feel comfortable contributing, given how nice the wedding is.