Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Post-Wedding Vows

Now that I've been a bride, I feel as if I have peered into the world that only brides truly know. You know the world I mean: the world in which you feel the frustration of waiting for those last few late RSVPers... where you wish people would stop asking you questions that they could figure out for themselves if they would just look at the wedding website you spent weeks making... the world in which you curse the day that you slaved over making 200 ceremony programs, when in the end only half of them were ever used. If you have not experienced these frustrations yourself, you have surely heard other brides express them at some point or another.

Since I can now tuck the role of "bride" under my cap and I've experienced the many tribulations that come along with the title, I am vowing to do my best to be the least high-maintenance and most generous wedding guest I can possibly be. Ladies, if you'd like to join me in my quest to make the lives of brides everywhere just a little easier, please, repeat after me:

I, {state your name}, hereby vow to never return a response card after the "respond by" date. If possible, I shall return the card immediately upon receipt of the invitation, knowing how fulfilling it is for the bride to be able to fill in "yes" or "no" next to my name on the Excel spreadsheet that she spent weeks refining. (One down.... two hundred twenty-seven to go!) If there is room on the card (front or back), I shall write a friendly note to the happy couple, letting them know how excited I/we am/are to attend, or how disappointed I/we am/are that we will not be there to celebrate with them. I will never, ever send back a response card with only a hasty X next to "will not attend" because it is likely to hurt someone's feelings.

I hereby vow to make my hotel reservation (if necessary) as quickly as possible; I shall remember that the bride likely wants to provide welcome bags for her guests, and that she would like to know if she has to make 13 or 43 bags, preferably prior to the week before her wedding. I shall make her life just a tad bit easier by acting promptly so she knows that the time and energy she spent securing room blocks did not go to waste.

I hereby vow to never ask a bride in the weeks before her wedding if she is excited. She is likely very excited, but also extremely on edge, sleep-deprived and emotionally exhausted from juggling a million details. If I shall ask her anything, it will be "can I help you with anything?"

I hereby vow to refer to the couple's wedding website before ever calling the bride and/or groom with any questions regarding their big day. If I still have unanswered questions, I shall only call or email the bride and/or groom as a last resort if no family member or member of the bridal party is able to answer my question.

I hereby vow
to take a ceremony program, and continue to take it home with me. I shall not throw it out, fold it, or destroy it in any way. If, when the ceremony is over, I see that there are programs leftover and my husband has not taken one, I shall make sure he does, so the bride is not left with the guilt of creating/ordering too many programs that went to waste.

I hereby vow
to sign the guest book, wish board, note for wish bowl, wine bottle, etc. I shall know that the bride and/or groom put a lot of time and thought into what kind of guest book to have, and they will be devastated if they go home with only a few messages.

I hereby vow to approach the bride and groom to say congratulations and have a moment to chat with them before they have to approach me. I shall remember that they have several — perhaps hundreds — of guests to visit with, and they want to be able to enjoy themselves during the celebration, as well. By approaching them myself early in the evening, I am ensuring that they will not feel guilty later that they did not have the chance to talk to me, nor will they have to put aside the time to talk to me later in the evening. I shall keep our chat brief as to not steal time away from other guests, but I will be relieving the bride and groom of any further obligation to talk to me.

I hereby vow to dance. That's why there's music.

I hereby vow
to eat a piece of cake and tell the bride and groom how amazing it tasted (and how amazing it looked before they took a knife to it).

I hereby vow to stay until the very last song has played and the "ugly lights" have been turned on.

I hereby vow to tell the happy couple what an amazing time their wedding was the next time we see them (and perhaps even a few more times after that). Although it may seem like forever ago to me, it is still fresh in their minds and it means the world to them to continue hearing about what an amazing time they provided for their guests.

What do you vow to do as a future wedding guest, now that you've planned your own wedding? Is there anything you used to do as a wedding guest that you would never do again now that you've walked in a bride's shoes?

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