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Welcome to wedding season: where the hangovers are real, the dress codes are confusing, and we’re all sweating. As if the uptick in vaguely specific dress code attire hasn’t made finding a wedding guest outfit hard enough, summer weddings also require finding something that’s dress code appropriate while also seasonally appropriate. There’s a lot of “vibe interpreting” required for all these confusing wedding dress codes that, frankly, most of us just aren’t cut out for. So to help guide you on your seemingly treacherous wedding guest outfit search, here are some options based on the different dress codes.
Clearly I need to reevaluate my entire circle of friends because I’ve never attended nor have I even been invited to a white-tie wedding. White-tie dress code is the most formal of them all, requiring floor-length gowns, no exceptions. Your gown should be paired with your most elegant clutch and accessories and, if I were you, I’d take full advantage of the occasion and even add some trendy elbow-length gloves. You can make your gown more seasonally appropriate by choosing summery colors and fabrics.
Personally, this is my favorite wedding dress code out of the ones I’ve attended because I love an excuse to dress up. Black-tie dress code means you can wear a formal gown or elevated jumpsuit, either of which paired back to elegant accessories. Basically, think prom-adjacent attire minus the over-the-top tackiness and vodka-filled water bottles. Similarly as with white-tie, you can make your black-tie ensemble more summer- appropriate with light and bright colors, airy fabrics, and more breathable silhouettes.
Formal or Black-Tie Optional
This dress code can be confusing and definitely requires some of that “vibe interpreting” that I mentioned earlier. Black-tie optional is pretty much equivalent to formal and just means slightly less formal than black-tie. The biggest difference for women’s attire is that a full-length gown isn’t required, but something of the same dressiness “vibe” is still recommended. Basically, if you want to get wild and show your ankles then you have permission to do so but I’d avoid going above the knee for your hemline. Add a summer-feel to your formal look with vibrant summer colors or a lightweight mesh fabric.
Cocktail attire means that women can wear shorter hemlines but still need to look dressy. Long story short, it would be inappropriate to wear a gown but also inappropriate to wear a sundress. I realize that leaves quite a large gamut, but basically just think a specialty mini dress, elevated midi dress, or eloquent jumpsuit. Overall, this dress code does imply a bit more of a flirty and playful vibe, so have fun with it but still look classy. Keep it summer appropriate with shorter hemlines, seasonal colors, or even an elevated floral print.
Semi-Formal or Dressy Casual
Semi-formal or dressy casual might be the most vague of all the dress codes because there are no “hard lines” beyond no sweatpants. Rather, you really have to feel into the vibe of the wedding, so maybe just grab a crystal and the invitation and mediate on it? On second thought, maybe just text a fellow wedding attendee to see what they’re wearing and go from there. At the end of the day, err on the side of being over-dressed rather than under-dressed. Remember, it’s about special event elegance without crossing the line of “fancy.” Vague, I know, so best of luck.
As someone who recently attended a beach formal wedding, my biggest piece of advice is DO NOT underestimate the heat. As someone who also attended said wedding in a long sleeve bridesmaid dress, I’m going to suggest you steer clear of sleeves and any material that could potentially show sweat. Instead, opt for lightweight summery fabrics like linen or gauze. And, if you’re really someone who sweats easily, go for an airy printed maxi to help disguise any possible sweat stains. Oh, and bring a handheld fan, you’ll thank me later.
Daytime or Casual
Covid has made the backyard wedding quite a trend, and given how expensive weddings can get, I definitely see the appeal. Backyard or daytime weddings are usually more casual which means they’re perfect for a breezy sundress, pretty mini dress, or sophisticated set. The only “don’t” here is going too casual or too dressy. Just avoid dressier fabrics, overly casual fabrics, stiletto heels, sneakers…and you should be good to go from there.
As the lead singer in a New York City wedding band for over a decade, I have learned a thing or two about what makes—and what breaks—a bomb wedding reception. When a bride and groom hire my band, it is quite literally my job to make the most important night of your life an absolute blast and keep your friends and family reminiscing about it for years to come, and that is something I take very seriously.
While I CAN control the quality of music being played, many things are out of my control that can mess up the party vibes, but after enough time seeing the same things, I’m here to tell you to do and what not do to ensure your wedding doesn’t suck.
1. Make Sure The Dance Floor Is Near The Bar
When choosing a venue, this is key. How far is the dance floor from the source of alcohol? Think of the bar as the “kitchen” of your wedding venue. When you’re throwing a house party, people tend to congregate in the kitchen, so the same logic applies at your wedding. One night my band and I did a wedding where the bar was in a completely different room. People were waiting for their drinks at the bar and stayed there. They couldn’t even see the band, let alone hear the music, and the dance floor was essentially empty the entire time. Not everyone will cut a rug on the dance floor, but even if they don’t, they are at least congregating around the dance floor and part of the party. When you separate the bar and the dance floor, you are essentially ruining the opportunity to throw a banging dance party by dividing your guests.
2. Rethink Having A Dessert Buffet And Opt For Passed Desserts
Ahh, the dreaded dessert buffet. As a wedding singer, this is a massive nail in the metaphorical coffin of your dance party. There is nothing worse than having a jam-packed dance floor, only for the dessert bar to cause a mass exodus and completely ruin the last bit of your reception. Everyone lines up (usually in another room) to eat dessert and might be too full to return to the dance floor. The party ends, and instead of going out with a bang, your big night ends with many people sitting around in a food coma. Womp, womp.
Instead, opt for dessert hors d’oeuvres like mini cupcakes or ice cream cones that can be passed on the dance floor to keep your party intact. Don’t leave that dance floor… deserted. Muahaha.
3. Don’t Stop The Party To Cut The Cake
For the love of God, please do not stop the party to cut the cake. Once the alcohol starts to hit and you have the energy right where you want it on the dance floor, there is no greater buzzkill than stopping the music so everyone can watch you cut a piece of cake. People go off to the bathroom, sit down to rest, and the dance floor is now empty. Perhaps make an announcement for Grandma who would like to witness the special moment, but it’s simply not worth killing the vibe of the party.
4. Don’t Try To Dictate The Playlist And Let The Band Read The Crowd
I’ve dealt with plenty of bridezillas who essentially handed us a curated setlist, and they NEVER work. An experienced wedding band or DJ knows what they’re doing, and it’s best to let them do it. Some songs you love may be great for vibing out in the car but simply don’t work on a dance floor. Also, we know how to read a crowd to figure out what kind of music is bringing the energy for your guests in particular.
I have also been in a situation where the bride requested some disco music for the older crowd. We played a disco song, and tumbleweed started rolling through the dance floor. When we switched back to 90s hip-hop, the crowd was back in action. We will undoubtedly honor any specific requests you have, but keeping the dance floor pumping is our first priority and should be yours too. If oldies music isn’t quite doing it for anyone, have it played during dinner and let us decide what works for the prime party hours.
5. Don’t Have Too Many Speeches, And Make Sure They Are Under 4 Minutes
In my 10 years as a wedding singer, I have seen many speeches. NOTHING kills a buzz like a speech that goes on too long or too many speeches. You may think your MOH getting on the mic to tell everyone about how much fun you had at the sorority house, along with every fucking inside joke, is cute, but the truth is, no one cares. Have her write you a letter and keep the speeches short and sweet. The Gettysburg address was under two minutes. Don’t waste precious party time on boring speeches.
First comes love, then comes planning a wedding, then comes hoping none of your bridesmaids throw up in the middle of the dance floor before you cut the cake. Granted, there are a few other checklist items in between there, but when it comes to selecting your bridal party, figuring out which of your bridesmaids is going to get the most shitfaced is fun at best and essential at worst. I don’t know about you, but last I checked, getting sophomore spring break level of drunk wasn’t exactly part of the bridal party job description.
Still, that hasn’t stopped many (myself included) from getting super schwasty while wearing a matching gown. And depending on the type of wedding you have, there’s a good chance your day will be full of booze from morning to grand exit (or at least, it should be). Typically, wedding days begin with everyone waking up before the crack of dawn to get their makeup done, complaining about the fact that they’re going to look like shit by the time the actual ceremony starts (“It doesn’t fucking matter, Becky! It’s not your day!!!”). And if you plan to have a chill celebration that doesn’t involve murdering your childhood best friend for asking the hairdresser to redo her curls three times, mimosas are probably in order.
From there it’s just a parade of drinking, and with all that unlimited alcohol, odds are more than one of your bridesmaids is going to end up with their heads in the toilet before the night is up. But knowing who’s going to get plastered before the cake cutting and who’s going to hold it together long enough to help you bustle your dress is essential. From most likely to stay sober to most likely to vom, here’s how your bridal party members will likely stack up against the open bar.
Your Pregnant Friend
This one is a no-brainer because rumor has it alchy and pregnancy doesn’t mix (and by “rumor” I mean science). Depending on how long it’s been since you asked your bridal party to be a part of the big day, this pal probably got knocked up after they agreed to be a bridesmaid. Typically, they’d fall into one of the below categories, but thanks to the party-ruiner growing inside of them, they’re gonna be stuck nursing soda water with their feet up while you dance. At least you can count on her to tell you all what dumb shit you did at the afterparty.
Your ~Perfect~ Friend
Everyone’s got that one friend who’s just… better than everyone else. Group trip? The Airbnb’s on her card. Going to dinner? She made the reservation. And ordered the Uber. And sent everyone a Splitwise link for the itemized bill before the waiter could even run her card. As soon as you got engaged she ordered planning books and created a shared Excel sheet to help you track your budget. Whether she’s an event planner, a data analyst, or just a Google doc-obsessed Type A, this girl isn’t gonna let it slip on your big day.
Even though she’s probably the one who poured the morning mimosas and made sure the to-be-popped champagne was on ice, she was too busy making sure everyone else was taken care of to really pound ’em back. It wasn’t until after the dinner that she had her first real drink, and even then, it was Pinot Grigio so it basically doesn’t count. Whether you love her or you just keep her around because she reminds you that you need to get routine dental checkups, you can count on her to keep her shit on lock until your marriage license is mailed off and your shitty friends are no longer dry heaving.
Your Just Engaged Friend
With hearts in her eyes and a sparkly ring that hasn’t yet been insured on her finger, your just engaged friend doesn’t yet know the stress of wedding planning. She’s still in that whimsical “I can’t believe I have a fiancé(e)” stage, which means she’s actually happy for you and isn’t drunkenly nitpicking every little thing about your wedding. She’s just happily sipping your signature cocktail and whispering “this is gonna be us” to her S.O.
Without any weird competitiveness, this blissed-out bridesmaid will be too busy telling everyone she’s engaged and making out with her plus-one to get too wasted. While she’ll for sure be tipsy by the time you head up to your hotel rooms, her endless wedding chatter and mental note-taking will stop her from aggressively taking shots. Awww, to be in love!
Your Teacher Friend
In addition to crafting, curating snacks, and shaping the minds of the future generation, teacher friends (or at least, all of mine) are secretly certified pros when it comes to downing liquor. Maybe it’s because they get out of work in time for happy hour, or it could be that they’ve perfected the art of powering through an early morning hangover. Whatever it is, teach knows how to party, and she’s absolutely going to be hitting the bar hard on your big day.
Even though she’s going to have a wine glass surgically attached to her hand all night, the good news is your teacher pal probably knows how to hold it together until she at least makes it to her hotel room… especially because she’s got a stash of granola bars in her purse she can munch on before she starts getting too messy. 10/10 she’ll be rocking some oversized sunnies and a hat at your farewell brunch the next morning, but at this point, rallying is pretty much a part of her morning routine.
Your Work Friend
This is likely the friend you’ve known the least amount of time, but since you see her every GD day at work, it felt sort of weird to not include her in your party. Now that she’s surrounded by your childhood, high school, and college besties, the fact that your relationship is based around memes sent in Slack might be starting to sink in. For her, at least.
Whether she stacks up to the rest of your crew or not, your work wife is bound to toss back the extra drink or two to feel a little looser when chatting with your sorority big. And then a few more drinks when talking with your “we’ve known each other since diapers” friend. And another when your maid of honor calls her Lauren instead of Laura.
Sure, you’ve had your fair share of girl’s nights where you gossiped about Dana from accounting, but this is a whole different beast. While she might not spend the night sleeping on the bathroom floor, there’s a 0% chance she won’t wake up in the morning with a visceral need for some coffee, ibuprofen, and an Egg McMuffin. Don’t tell HR, but you can expect some sloppy dancing and multiple ass slaps from this one throughout the evening.
Your “Why Aren’t I Engaged Yet” Friend
Whether she’s just out of a relationship or has been single since grade school, there’s always that one friend in your group who low-key feels like it’s a personal affront that anyone is allowed to get married before her. Throughout your wedding planning process, she made it clear what type of dress she would wear (strapless), what type of venue she’d choose (castle, obvi), and what color dresses her bridesmaids would wear (the same color as yours, of course). And the fact that you expect her to show up to your wedding while she’s still sans ring means one thing and one thing only: She’s about to get druuuunk.
From extra mimosas in the morning to sips from a flask during pictures, her goal is to get fucked up and make out with someone off-limits, preferably while you’re having your first dance. There’s no way she’ll make it to the end of the night without crying or going home with a groomsman, so you might as well just sit back and watch the drama unfold. At least you can take it as a free pass to black out if she ever actually makes it down the aisle.
Your Just-Had-A-Baby Friend
This friend has been downing ginger ale, waddling to the bathroom, and icing her ankles for the duration of your engagement. Now that the baby’s out and a sitter’s in place, you know your new mom friend is gonna get lit. Between her now low tolerance and the fact that she hasn’t worn real clothes in over a year, this bridesmaid is going to be topping the charts in terms of drunkenness. After one morning mimosa, she’ll already be grooving, and by the time cocktail hour rolls around, she’s gonna ditch her baby monitor app for the front-facing camera so she can snap a shitton of drunk selfies.
Assuming baby’s got overnight care in place, your recently popped pal will be trying to flash everyone with her milk-filled boobs before the last dance… and will feel like she’s back in her first trimester morning sickness phase by morning. What can I say? Momma’s been without her juice for nine months. She’s pumping and dumping tonight.
Your Just Married Friend
If you’re getting married in your 20s or early 30s, you’ll probably have a friend or two who’s saying “I do” around the same time. And when it’s finally your turn to walk down the aisle, no one’s going to feel quite as many emotions as your just married friend. Not only is she comparing every single detail of your wedding to hers, but she’s doing it with a very strong drink in her hand.
Whether she’s exhausted and elated that she survived her day or she’s feeling envious and sad as the wedding blues hit, the other Mrs. is going to be hitting the bar extra hard at your celebration. The attention is officially off of her and now that her time is up, she’s sort of at a loss about what’s next. Which means, of course, she’ll drink. And drink. And drink and drink and drink. Now that she’s no longer the bride, she’ll be looking for a distraction, hence the double shots, the drunk tears on the dance floor, and ghosting in fury before the lights come up because you used the same entrance song as her. Rude, btw.
No two maids of honor are the same, but whether she was super hands-on or kinda slacked, there’s a good chance this bestie is delighted your big day is here if only to be freed from her duties. From the events to the “hey ladies” emails to putting up with your endless requests for validation, she’s been ready to block your number for the last few weeks. And now that the end is finally here, she feels the need to celebrate and celebrate hard. It’s like she just got her life back. What do you expect? Her to stay sober?
The only saving grace here is that she’ll at least keep it semi-dignified until after her speech because even the sh*ttiest MOH doesn’t want to embarrass herself in front of a room of well-dressed strangers. But once her toast is up, all bets are off. Good luck getting her attention because she’ll be mainlining vodka and avoiding eye contact so you don’t make her dance with your creepy uncle. If anyone’s ending the night face first in the bathroom covered in saltine cracker crumbs, it’s this bitch. Just try not to make any sudden movements at brunch—she’s probably still seeing double.
Here’s to hoping you picked your VIPs wisely because if not, you might be demoting a few besties by morning. In their defense, after everything you put them through this past year, a whole bunch of sh*tfaced bridesmaids seems like a pretty fair trade for a happily ever after.
Images: Gift Habeshaw / Unsplash; Giphy
Last week, Kendall Jenner took part in super mundane normal people things by attending her best friend Lauren Perez’ star-studded Miami Beach wedding as a bridesmaid, alongside bestie Bella Hadid. Only, rather than posting any evidence alongside the bride wearing a travesty of a bridesmaid gown, Kendall donned a not-so-mundane $1,450 diamond cutout maxi dress from New York-based brand Mônot.
She documented the lavish event by posting photos of her drop-dead flawless physique in a series of bathroom mirror selfies alongside Hailey Bieber, who attended as a guest and was clearly informed about the attire being “beach formal wedding” and not “VMA after-party”. Naturally, Twitter erupted into a firestorm of ‘how dare she?!’ reactions, ranging from “blocked” to “Kendall really just said F you to her best friend on her wedding day.”
Kendall Jenner really said F you to her best friend on her wedding day pic.twitter.com/MGo0w8al9h
— Eleanore Hutch (@elehutch) November 12, 2021
Look, I know the Florida humidity is no match for fresh curls, sticky boobs, or basically any article of clothing heavier than single-ply rayon, but not even in the most swamp-assy climate should a wedding guest wear less material than Kylie’s crappy swimline. I guarantee you nowhere on The Knot does cut-out cloth constitute “beach formal”. Personally, I would’ve rather had Kendall show up to my wedding in custom ivory Vera Wang couture.
Not only did Kendall probably cause more heads to turn than the bride’s own grand entrance, but prior to documenting her bold look, she appropriately donned a strapless baby blue BEC + BRIDGE dress while walking down the aisle, which should’ve been the only dress she wore all night. Isn’t it the first rule of Bridesmaiding 101 when signing your rights life away for half a year, to wear that frameless blush chiffon gown all night until your armpits are raw with third-degree burns?!
Also, if a friend, let alone my own bridesmaid, ever decided to do an outfit change during my nuptials, I would probably throw perfectly manicured hands. The only wedding attendee who should be partaking in multiple outfit changes is the bride herself (if that).
As this story continued to make headlines, it was reported that Kendall actually swapped styles during the wedding reception, which looked like it was held at a Miami nightclub, so I guess the Fashion Nova vibes make sense, but isn’t it already enough of an attention-grab just being Kendall Jenner? The only second look my bridesmaids debuted during my dive bar after-party were sweatpants, messy buns, and remnants of smeared eyelash glue.
Don’t get me wrong, as a wedding guest, I find joy in arriving in a subtly sexy ensemble and looking hotter than the bridesmaids sweating in their puffy sleeves, but let’s talk about practicality for a sec. Kendall’s dress would never pass the very first test every girl asks themselves when shopping for wedding guest dresses: “Will this dress allow me to get low on the dance floor?”
I’d be willing to bet Kendall was unable to participate during “Thriller” or “The Electric Slide” and it truly pains me to think of such a tragedy. She’d be lucky if she can successfully complete “The Macarena” without an areola playing a game of Peek-A-Boo, but I don’t even want to think about the nightmare that would’ve ensued during “Shout”. On that note, if Kendall even dared to participate in the bouquet toss, things would’ve gone from zero to OnlyFans quicker than you can say “Single Ladies”.
But who am I kidding? If I had any self-control and a body like that, I’d probably wear the shit out of Kendall’s dress to my best friend’s wedding. Sue me.
Images: elehutch / Twitter; Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic / Getty Images
I think the strangest thing about being in your early twenties, beyond the Sunday Scaries and unexplainable joint pain, is the number of weddings you get invited to. I’m not sure why I’m surprised—I’m a woman in my early twenties that went to a private college in the South—but I am absolutely perplexed by the fact that people my age are partaking in a very permanent and, depending on how you look at it, divine, institution. Maybe it’s because the internet algorithms know this about me and have a sick sense of humor, but I’ve somehow wound up deep in the trenches of WeddingTok. Although unexpected, I’m absolutely fascinated by the delicate minutiae of toxic mother-in-law management, appetizer tastings, bridal party elections, and reckoning with the aggressively patriarchal origins of some of the most beloved wedding traditions.
After making myself at home on WeddingTok, I’ve found that a bride will forget very little, but one thing that seems to get hardly any attention is the importance of the wedding favor. It’s the final bow, the last thing your guests will remember—yet the trendiest favors are the ones that nobody, and I mean nobody, actually wants. The older I get, the less patience and bandwidth I have for junk, and I think I speak for everyone when I say yes, a koozie with you and your spouse’s face on it is indeed junk.
Don’t get me wrong, your wedding is all about you, a celebration of the magnificent feat you’ve pulled off in finding someone that doesn’t absolutely repulse you. Which is why I’ll push through the small talk at cocktail hour, the cheesy bridesmaid speeches, even the inevitable runthrough of the Cupid Shuffle that gives me flashbacks to field day in middle school P.E. But the party favor is the one thing that is about me, the guest, what I will like, what will remind me of your joyful wedded bliss—but more importantly, that I can also enjoy objectively long after the night is over.
As a child of divorce who’s never been in a serious relationship and corrects men’s grammar on dating apps for sport, it’s fairly obvious I am the last person that should be sharing my opinion on anything wedding or marriage related, which is why I asked wedding planner extraordinaire-turned-dating-TikToker Chelsey Lance about the worst of the worst she’s seen when it comes to wedding favors, and what is proven to be a hit among your guests.
Before she made a name for herself on TikTok sharing hilariously candid dating stories from the dispatches of being a single twentysomething in Charlotte, North Carolina, Chelsey ran an award winning wedding and design firm that she launched at the age of 25. From a 60s retro fête to a tarot themed wedding where the bride wore all black, Chelsey’s seen it all, and she’s sharing some of her expertise so that you don’t have to see any abandoned favors on venue tabletops.
“You would think this functional favor would be a hit, but I think they are usually a miss,” Lance says. Because a bottle opener is really only something each couple or family needs one of, lots of them end up left behind on the tables. However, they still have potential when executed properly. “This could be a cool thing to add into a welcome package, alongside a bottled, refreshing drink that needs an opener,” she offers.
You probably saw this idea and immediately thought about all the pun potential, like how you two are the perfect match or that you found the light of your life. However, it may not be as big of a hit as you think. “Most of the custom matchbook options are made out of flimsy cardboard, and couples almost always over-order. I will never have to buy matches again due to the hundreds of leftover matchbooks that I’ve been gifted from clients!”
“Ok, so this is the pumpkin spice latte of favors,” Lance says. She admits that when people first started giving these out in 2012, “they were amazing,” adding, “I filled up an entire drawer in my kitchen with them!”
If you’ve already ordered your custom koozies, don’t freak. “I think having a small amount of koozies at the bar, for those that want them, is a great touch,” Lance says, adding, “But having it serve as the overall favor isn’t personally not my favorite—it just isn’t very exciting.” I think I speak for the masses on this one—even though I love a good White Claw as much as the next girl, I don’t think I’ll ever have enough cold drinks in my days on this Earth to justify the amount of koozies I’ve been sent home with after a wedding—or any party, for that matter. If you really want them to be enjoyed in earnest, sprinkle them around and let the select few who want them take them home.
When it comes to the favors your guests will never forget, Lance says opting for anything edible and individually wrapped is best. “Most of my clients chose stunning custom cookies with royal icing. We would take design elements from their invitation suite or table linens and get that drawn onto cookies. By incorporating other visual elements from the wedding, it shows a very high level of detail, and it’s always highly regarded by the guests who notice.”
Although I can in no way empathize with the bridal experience, let me serve as a sort of focus group. Your wedding is all about you and your spouse, sure. But, there’s at least just a little bit of ego involved—I know every bride wants to throw a party that their guests will never forget. So let the last moment your guests are left with be a good one and opt for something edible, cute, and easily stuffed in a purse or clutch for later. And I beg you, if you’re going to choose something your guests take home, don’t put your initials or, even worse, your faces on it… unless you want to see it on the shelf at your local Goodwill six months later.
Image: Vladimir Tsarkov /Stocksy.com
Congrats, girly!! I can’t believe that you are actually married! I mean, obviously, I knew it was coming. I was there for the engagement reveal, the engagement party, the bridal shower, the bachelorette party, and then, of course, the wedding. So we were all very aware of what this was all leading to. I am so honored to watch you, my best friend from college, marry your college sweetheart. I was able to watch this beautiful love grow from the very beginning into what it is now. But no matter how many times you say it, I will not be able to wrap my head around the fact that your “husband” is John From Kappa Sig.
IDK, I guess growing up, everyone who had a husband seemed so old. And not just old—like also, established? That’s not to say you’re not established; your very stable nursing job and mortgage both speak for themselves. But “husband” just carries so much weight to it. On paper, you are married, but in my head, he’s still the guy that you would put on makeup to send a Snapchat to when we were freshmen. The nights that you and I used to get stupid drunk and walk home barefoot at 2am rain or shine seem too close for you to be a wife and potentially soon-to-be mother.
Ok, now that I think about it, it’s less about you and more about him. You definitely have the poise and maturity to be a married woman. Those aforementioned Thirsty Thursday Shoeless Shuffles may have been one of those things where I thought everybody was doing it, but I was too drunk to notice I was the only one. He’s the one that I can’t believe holds the title of husband. We’re talking about the same John, right? The one who showed up to every event already a six-pack deep? The one who would go on rants about how the real world is a “scam” every time he got high? The only fraternity brother in history to be impeached from his position as social chair? That John?
Yes, all right, it’s not fair of me to highlight just the wild things he did in college. I know he’s much more than just a fun guy to party with. There was that time during Greek Week when I totally ate shit in tug-of-war and he ripped his shirt off to use as a tourniquet. I mean, I wasn’t even bleeding, but it’s the thought that counts. But that’s beside the point. I’m not even going to bring up the time when John said he “wasn’t sure he wanted to get tied down just yet” when you first started dating. We’re all allowed to change our minds. Level with me here: After seeing him at his craziest, don’t you agree it’s kind of weird that he did a full 180 and signed legal documents binding the two of you together?
I feel you getting mad at me. I’m so happy for you! I swear! I think the two of you make a perfect match, and truly I can see you spending the rest of your lives together. And I promise that I will just call him John from now on and not John From Kappa Sig. I’m just getting caught up in the semantics. Anywho, enjoy your honeymoon with your new hubby! Ew, actually, hubby is somehow worse.
Image: Samantha Estrada / Stocksy.com
After a year of putting wedding plans on hold, brides everywhere are finally ready to dust off their dresses and take that walk down the aisle. And while nuptial celebrations these days might look a little different, there are still time-honored traditions that you can uphold without violating CDC guidelines, like stealing the spotlight from your sister, the bride. Considering that she stole your senior year prom date (and your parents’ affection from the moment she was born) she definitely has it coming. Since the most important day in a woman’s life is the day her younger sister gets married before her, we created a step-by-step guide to help you make your little sister’s wedding all about you.
Step 1: The Headpiece
Now, the most obvious way to upstage your sister on her wedding day would be to wear white, but since you’re her maid of honor (if she knows what’s good for her), and therefore already have an assigned dress, you’ll have to take a subtler, less cliche approach. Insist on wearing a headpiece! Whether you end up with a flower crown, a tiara, or even a veil—it doesn’t matter, as long as you threw a tantrum at a David’s Bridal along the way.
Step 2: The Dress
According to Heteronormative Brides Weekly, most brides have been dreaming about their wedding dresses since they were little girls. But it’s not about what makes the bride feel beautiful on the most important day of her life, it’s about what you want, so be sure to let your opinions be heard! If there was ever a time to throw shade, it’s now, so be sure to make a snide remark about whatever dress she chooses. Remember, you want that comment to linger in the back of her mind all night long! Here are some examples of what to say when your sis says yes to the dress:
“No, I like it too! I mean, you wouldn’t want to upstage the groom.”
“If you love it, we will learn to love it.”
“I just think your skin is too pasty to pull off lace, but what do I know?”
“If YOU think you look good, then that’s all that matters!”
“It’s so brave of you to go strapless!”
Step 3: The Date
Bring your sister’s ex as your plus-one and then gaslight your family into thinking that that’s not inappropriate. “Why would it be weird? Brian and I have always been close. He’s practically family!”
Step 4: The Borrowing
Traditionally, no bride’s outfit is complete without something borrowed, and since your sister has been borrowing your stuff since the 90s, this is the perfect opportunity for you to re-insert yourself into the spotlight. The plan? Lend your sister your diamond tennis bracelet, or something equally flashy and expensive, and then bring it up incessantly. After all, your sister’s wrist looks beautiful today because of your generosity, and you deserve credit for that. When Aunt Judy says your sister looks beautiful? Mention the bracelet. When they cut the cake? Mention the bracelet. When you give your speech? Mention the bracelet! Hell, you can even stir up some sisterly drama while you’re at it with a comment like, “You better not wreck my bracelet, like you did my car in high school.” Passive-aggressive is the new black!
Step 5: The Speech
While we’re on the topic, the wedding speech is the one moment where everyone at the wedding will FINALLY be paying attention to you, so you’ll need to milk it for all it’s worth. This is your Super Bowl. My advice? Cry an inappropriate amount. Like, way too much…
Once you’ve succeeded in making all of the guests and groomsmen uncomfortable, proceed to tell an embarrassing story about your sister from her slutty college days and incorporate as many of her ex-boyfriends as you possibly can. It doesn’t matter what story you tell as long as it makes your sister look like a drunken, hot mess. “Good thing that dress is off-white, right sis?” If her in-laws aren’t googling “annulment” by the end of your speech, you did it wrong. Also, if you had Covid over the past year, definitely mention it. This is your special day, after all, you deserve all the attention you can get.
Step 6: The Dinner
You’ve most likely been drinking on an empty stomach all day long, so by the time dinner rolls around you should have just enough drunken confidence to feign an allergy to an obscure ingredient on the menu! Pretend to have a scratchy throat as you walk around telling guests that your sister doesn’t care about your coriander allergy because she’s a self-absorbed bitch! Leave her guests wondering, “is the maid of honor slurring her words because she’s drunk or because she’s going into anaphylactic shock?”
Step 7: The Dance
Choreograph a dance and dedicate it to your sister. Blow her guests away with an overly sexualized interpretive hip-hop performance about sisterhood and ultimately, marriage. Guests and in-laws will be too busy talking about what a freak you are that nobody will be paying attention to your sister! Score! Totally worth it!
Step 8: The Bouquet
After a long day of champagne and sabotage, you might think it’s finally time to just relax and enjoy the reception that totally should have been yours. That’s where you’d be wrong. The biggest part of your night is still ahead of you: the tossing of the bouquet. For centuries, the tossing and subsequent catching of the bouquet has been considered good luck, and superstition tells us that whoever catches the bouquet will be the next to wed. Considering that this should have been your wedding to begin with, you need to catch the bouquet AT ALL COSTS. I don’t care how many grandmas, flower girls, or bridesmaids you have to hip check to make it happen. This is not the time to show mercy, this is the time to take out your aggression about your sister getting married before you on all the single women in the room. Take. No. Prisoners.
Step 9: The Hail Mary
If you tried steps 1-8 but were still unable to upstage the bride, then there’s one more trick you can pull out of your taffeta sleeve, but it’s not for those with a weak stomach. Seduce the groom. Just kidding! Unless he’s hot… then use your own discretion, girl. If that doesn’t work, make sure you get proposed to. Doesn’t matter by whom.
Well, there ya have it, ladies! My tips and tricks that are guaranteed to make you the star of your sister’s wedding. Join us next week to learn How To Steal the Spotlight at Your Niece’s Bat Mitzvah!
Image: Leah Flores / Stocksy.com
“Plan a wedding,” they said. “It will be fun,” they said. Like many others, I do not have a single clue what I am doing when it comes to wedding planning. I’ve relied heavily on friends who know the ins and outs, and what I thought would be the most enjoyable part of the process has turned out to be the least. I’m talking venue hunting.
Seeing venues is fun, so I don’t mean to hint otherwise. The problems lie less in what you see, and more in what you don’t. While the limit does not exist for questions you should be asking when touring venues, here are some must-ask queries with answers that may surprise you.
1. Do You Have A Designated Ceremony Area?
If you plan on hosting your ceremony at a different location than your reception, you can skip this question. If you plan on hosting onsite, do a little digging about the venue offerings for a ceremony. For starters, can they host the ceremony? If they can, is there a designated area for the ceremony? I recently toured a venue, and when asking if I could host a ceremony on site the host replied “yes”. I asked to see the ceremonial site and they then pointed to a small patch of makeshift grass between two parking lots. While it took physical restraint to not gasp and/or laugh, it was seriously eye-opening that even the most beautiful venues aren’t always what they seem. The other kicker is the ceremonial fee, which is a self-explanatory fee for hosting your ceremony on site. According to WeddingWire, the average cost in the US is $600, but for big cities like NY and LA, expect something closer to $2,000.
2. Do You Have A Bridal And Groom Suite On Site?
I’ll be the first to say the bride is the *most* important on the wedding day (bridezilla in the making here), but I want my groom to be treated like a king as well. I was shocked to see how many venues only had one wedding suite, which meant only one of us could get ready on site. My fiancé is irrationally laid-back and would get ready in the parking lot if he had to, but not all couples are comfortable with a single-suite venue. While it may seem minor right now, it’s important to think about what getting ready offsite day-of means for the person who chooses to do so (renting a hotel suite, renting a large car or limo for wedding party, etc.).
3. Can I Bring A Hair And Makeup Team To The Bridal Suite?
THIS is a question I can’t believe I had to ask at venues. To me, a bridal suite was an obvious getting ready location for myself and my bridesmaids. However, I quickly learned this is not always the case. Some venues do NOT allow you to physically get ready in the suite. They must arrive with hair and makeup done, with no outside vendors allowed in to help prepare the wedding party. Personally, I am really looking forward to getting ready with my bridesmaids all together in the bridal suite, and then waltzing out the door and into the ceremony, so this was an important ask in my book.
4. What Are The Different Rates?
I semi knew this was a “thing” going into venue touring, but I was honestly shook at how drastic the price differences were between “on” and “off-peak” months, Friday/Saturday/Sunday, and time of day. Most venues break down their pricing first by month, with May, June, August, September, and October being the most popular (and therefore, the most expensive) months. From there, choosing your day of the week also dictates the price, with Saturday being the most expensive. AND FROM THERE, the time of day further influences the pricing. A daylight wedding (typically 12pm to 5pm) is often discounted, whereas an evening wedding tends to be more expensive (typically 6 or 7pm to 12 or 1am). So, be warned that Saturday night wedding at sunset in summer WILL impact your budget more than you want it to (I’m talking double the price of a Sunday daytime wedding in April).
5. Where Do The Extra Fees Go?
Venues with in-house catering will charge a per plate fee which covers the guests’ attendance and dinner/open bar. Venues who allow you to bring outside vendors will often charge a flat venue rate. But one thing common across the board is the added 20-25% “service charge”. What is this, you may ask? No, it’s not to compensate the waitstaff, the bartenders, or the cleanup crew. It actually typically goes towards any collateral damage (broken plates, carpet stains, etc.), and the rest goes into the owners’ pockets. If, on a venue tour, you ask what the fee goes to and you hear “it goes back into venue upkeep”, be aware of what this *really* means. It may bother you, or you may be fine with it. If you ask about the service fee going toward service and you’re told that the waitstaff makes “regular minimum wage” instead of “servers minimum wage”, just note that you will be tipping another 20% on top of your 20% service fee and 8.875% tax fee (and a potential cleaning fee). Just to put this in perspective, if your wedding is $50,000, with the fees, cleaning, and gratuity, you’ll actually be spending about $75,000. I know, I was just as shocked as you are rn!!
6. Do You Require Chair Rentals?
Add this to the list of questions I didn’t know I had to ask. For reasons unknown, I assumed with a wedding venue came chairs and tables and normal seating arrangements. For many venues (especially those with in-house catering) this is true, but not for all. Some venues require chair rentals for the space, and this is what I call annoying. Add it to the category of “fees I never thought I’d have to pay.”
7. Do You Require Preferred Vendor Use?
If you have specific vendors in mind ahead of time, this question is an important one for you. Most, if not all, venues have a list of preferred vendors—vendors they work with often, trust to work in their space, and recommend to their clients. Choosing these vendors often come with perks such as no plate fee for the vendors working the wedding, no insurance cost, and the obvious (and best) perk, discounts. That being said, some venues require you choose a vendor from their lists (this is especially true for flowers and DJs) and is something to confirm before falling in love with a venue or outside vendor.
8. How Many Hours Are Included In Rental Space?
This question is semi self-explanatory, but an important ask. How many hours are “included” is a polite way of asking can I come in early? Can I stay late? Will there be more fees for those extended hours outside of my actual party? How long is my actual party? Get those answers and avoid those fees!
9. Is Parking Available And Included?
Oh hey there, another fee. Parking on premises isn’t always included, but when it is, you can guarantee it comes with a fee. There are often different “levels” to this parking fee. Typically, couples can choose to play a lot flat fee which allows their guests to park for free, but park themselves. There’s also the option to have the guests pay for parking, which feels really reasonable to some and really jarring to others. But, if you’re feeling fancy, there’s also the option to have a valet service for all guests driving in, and this is where it gets pricy. Worth it? Only you reading this can be the judge of that.
10. Do You Offer A Planner?
While some people choose to go the route of planning their own wedding in full (me), others (people smarter than me) go the route of hiring a planner. Planners have pros and cons—pros being the fact that they know what they are doing, cons being that they often work with specific vendors and venues and may be biased with their recommendations. But, the most ideal situation (in my eyes) is finding a venue you love that assigns you a planner to help handle the rest of the arrangements. This person works specifically for your venue, so they know every single issue you may run into, and therefore are perhaps the most powerful point of contact throughout the entire process. It’s good to know if your venue offers a person to help, how far out they begin helping you, and if they are included in your package.
While there are an infinite amount of obvious questions to be asked, these are the questions you don’t want to forget about. Happy planning!
Images: Abby Savage / Unsplash; GIPHY (10)