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The Wedding Guest Survival Guide

Three years in to marriage equality, more and more same-sex couples are tying the knot. The upshot is that lot of us can expect to be invited to big fat homosexual weddings, and as the good gay Lord knows, that will come with stress attached. There’s plenty of etiquette advice out there for the bride and bride, or the groom and groom, but precious little for the rest of us. With that in mind, we present our ultimate guide to surviving a same-sex wedding, or any wedding for that matter. Read and learn!

My invitation just had my name printed on it in curly swirly text. It didn’t include my partner or a plus-one. Can I bring him/her anyway?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Only the explicitly invited may attend a wedding, and if someone crashes, it’s never pretty. Having said that, if you don’t give a flying crap what the newlyweds and all of their/your friends think of you, by all means drag your current squeeze along. Just don’t expect a place card for him/her on any of the tables, or much in the way of respect.

So, can ask to bring my partner/ current squeeze along?

It’s not at all polite to ask if you can bring someone along. The couple have laboured over their invitation list, and you’ve been invited as a singleton for a reason. If you do have a spouse or longtime life partner and he/she isn’t invited, you can discreetly check if that was a mistake. If it wasn’t a mistake, decline the invitation and start hating on the couple’s Facebook event.

Beyoncé just announced a concert for the very same day as the wedding, but I’ve already RSVP’d. Can I back out?

A Beyoncé concert is a Major Life Event, but for the couple getting hitched, their wedding is an Even More Major Life Event (believe it or not). Honestly, only the death of a close relative trumps an already RSVP’d wedding invitation. If that happens, you should let the happy couple know as soon as you get the terrible news. Having said that, everyone will think you went to the Beyoncé concert anyway, so it might be a good idea to post a weepy Tweet, confirming your situation.

The wedding invitation has a dress code saying ‘Lady Gaga’. What the hell do wear?

Some people like wearing costumes so much they don’t for one second get it that some of us couldn’t care less, or even worse, panic at the very thought of trying to figure out what to dress up in/as. In all likelihood the happy couple obliviously think everyone’s going to love coming up with something creatively outrageous to wear. If that’s not your bag, simply buy a few lamb chops and sew them together for a meat dress, or wear something simple and dark with one ridiculous accessory, like an eyepatch or a sequinned codpiece.

The only gifts on the register are way over my budget, and anyway, I hate gift registers like Nicki Minaj hates Cardi B. What should do?

Believe it or not a gift register is more about helping the guests than the couple, given that it takes a leap of imagination to figure out what to buy people who have everything (the gays have everything, didn’t you know?). But if you’re still adverse to registers, you could always put money in an envelope, given that a wedding costs a lot and a couple actually has to pay for it. Or if you’re a cheapskate, you could put a scratch card in an envelope. You never know, they might have to cancel their honeymoon to go on Winning Streak.

I barely know the couple, I’m invited alone, and definitely won’t know any of their friends. Should I say my mother/cat/iguana is going for an operation that day and can’t attend?

No! It’s a gay wedding and we’ve fought long and hard for the privilege, so you are obligated to attend. If you don’t, Panti will come ’round to your place with a can of Mace. And in other news, if you’re single, there’s bound to be other single gay people there too, drinking like it’s 1999, so your chances of getting the shift are medium to high.

I’ve found my place card and it’s at a table with people I’d rather chew broken glass than sit with. What should I do?

Some etiquette experts would say ‘suck it up’, but let’s face it, a wedding is a long day and if you’re stuck at a table with your arch nemesis, you’re not going to enjoy yourself at best, and someone might get a stiletto in the throat at worst. Be prepared. Check the seating map the minute you arrive at the venue, and if you don’t like the lay of the land, sneak in to the reception room and do a quick switcheroo. Then when the meal is called, get to your new seat as quickly as you can. If anyone questions you, pretend to be incoherently drunk and messy. Incoherently drunk, messy and loud.

A person at my table has just made an inadvertent/ latent/outrageous homophobic comment. Should I say anything?

No. Stab them in the face with your fork.

Pictured Above: Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughan in Wedding Crashers, 2005

I’ve been asked to make a toast and the last time I spoke in public was when did ‘show and tell’ in fi rst class. Help!

You know that story you’ve been telling about Chris (like how we’ve used a gender neutral name there?) since you were in college and he/she/they couldn’t hold his/her/their Tequilla? That’s not public speaking. It’s just telling a story. So, tell it, and then say, “And that’s when learned what a beautiful person Chris is” or “That’s how Chris taught me what ‘trust’ means”. And then say something like: “And know you’re both going to do great things together,” and then say “I love you, Chris,” and then say “To Chris and Alex!” Don’t drink shots before your toast, say your words slowly, and don’t say very many of them.

My partner can’t handle his/her drink and he/she’s trollied already, and the meal hasn’t even been served. Should we bail?

Are you out of your mind? You’re here to have a good time, and you can certainly handle your own ale. Simply make a small bed under the table using coats from the cloakroom and serviettes, and tell your prematurely inebriated partner to lie down for a while. No one will miss him/her/them.

Everyone is drinking their heads off but I’m on medication/a dry alcoholic. Help!

Just tell everyone you’re the designated driver and watch the horror in their drunken Irish eyes morph into respect.

Everyone is dancing, but can’t. Help!

Are you actually queer?

This article appears in the 346 Issue of GCN

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This article appears in the 346 Issue of GCN