The Gentleman’s Guide to Weddings

As an event entertainer, specializing in private events, such as weddings, I’ve witnessed a variety of styles, when it comes to guest demeanor. The expected constants, however, those qualities that should always be there, remain. Poise, elegance, and class. As wedding season often consists of multiple weddings for guests, I’ve set out to highlight some guidelines for the gentlemen. The not-so-obvious tips, to be more precise, as I’m sure we’re all aware of the basics (no excessive drinking, ensure proper suit tailoring, etc.). Gentlemen, below is a list to consider when heading out to upcoming weddings. Ladies, below is a list for that special gentleman in your life that will help elevate your power-couple status. 

1. Accessorize - in moderation. Much like the rich dessert that’s sure to cap off the celebration, accessorizing is best done in moderation. Certainly take advantage of the event by breaking out your favorite pocket square, VVS diamond cufflinks, your finest tie bar, lavish lapel pin, or bold boutonniere – but not all at the same time. Your intent as a wedding guest is to show that you’re honored to be attending the celebration, through your attire, but don't overshadow the guests of honor. In other words, don’t walk into a wedding dressed like Big Daddy Kane circa 1989 (side note: I love Big Daddy Kane, but I doubt even he goes to a wedding dressed in a suit with 8 layers of gold rope chains as he did in his videos). 

2. Stand up! When a lady is present...every time! Yes gentlemen, every time. When you are chatting during cocktail hour, and happen to be seated, and a woman enters the group/conversation, be sure to stand. If the entire group is seated, and a woman rises to leave, be sure to stand. Shaking hands when you arrive to your table – make sure to remain standing, until all of the women at your table are seated. A woman comes over to the table to say hello to the group, you guessed it, be sure to stand. It may seem silly, but it is proper manners, and such small details, although seemingly unnoticed, do get admired. This will win you points with your fellow guests, as well as with the lady on your arm. *A great way to limit constant rotation of greeter standing is to spend a good portion of the celebration on the dance floor. 

3. Take small bites. Another seemingly silly and minuscule detail, but at times, this one is easy to ignore. Nutritional habits can take a bit of a back seat during the day of the celebration; even for the guests. Considering the time between adequate preparation, travel, ceremony, and minor bites during cocktail hour, it’s very easy to enter the reception hungry. Nevertheless, pace yourself. Not only is a rapidly-eating full mouth nutritionally unsound, it’s also poor decorum. Break your rolls/bread, cut your meal into small, bite-size pieces, and handle hors d’oeuvres accordingly.  

4. Ask her to dance! As a wedding guest, part of your responsibility is to have fun and interact with the other guests, or at the very least, with the entertainment being offered. When you take initiative and ask her to dance, well, that's what the ladies would describe as "swoon-worthy". Want to go the extra mile? Ask some of the single women in attendance to dance, as many would be enthused to share a dance with a gentleman that recognizes their desire to join the fun. If you encounter a woman that declines your offer, the offer itself will be appreciated, and to bystanders, you will certainly be, you guessed it, swoon-worthy.  

5. Prepare properly. A true gentleman knows that care, attentiveness, and effort are as attractive as a nice haircut, sparkling eyes, or toned muscles, and showcases it accordingly. If you want to show your date, the guests of honor, and your fellow guests that you care about the couple, and the event, come prepared. On second thought…come over-prepared. Unforeseen situations and moments can certainly impose themselves onto the special day. Have an umbrella handy for the possibility of rain (and share it). Have some healthy snacks on hand for post-celebration (after a day of indulgences, dancing, and being in non-stop mode, a bottle of water and pack of almonds can go a long way). Perhaps grab your date’s favorite pair of sneakers or sandals so that you have them to offer on the drive back so their feet can relax. An extra suit jacket, pair of pants, shoes, socks, belt, tie, and pocket square can’t hurt, as things do happen.