What not to do at a wedding, from a serial guest

Save The Date
Jen Doll shares her wedding guest stories — even the ones she wishes she could forget — in “Save the Date.” Credit: Sarah Shatz

Before you spend money on a dress you’ll never wear again. Before you scroll down the list of wedding registry gifts just looking for something in your price range. And before you weed through your list of Facebook friends looking for someone hot enough you can ask to be your date without it being too weird, read these tips from Jen Doll, author of “Save the Date.” She’s been to more than her fair share of weddings, has seen it all and is here to save you from any wedding guest mortification you are unknowingly setting yourself up for.

Don’t wear painful shoes. Even if they’re pretty.

Weddings are long. “You’re going to be standing, dancing and just generally spending a lot of time on your feet, so wearing shoes that are going to make you want to kill yourself after five minutes is not a good idea,” Doll advises. When it comes to the rest of the outfit, her advice is to wear something you feel confident in. “It’s nice to go to a wedding feeling good about yourself and good about the relationship you’re there to support,” she says.

Don’t bring a date just so you’re not alone.

There are definitely times when you should bring a date to a wedding, like when you’re married or dating someone you like being around and friends like having around, too. But there are times when it’s better to go solo, even when you’d rather not. “If you’re going to be seeing a lot of old friends and it’s like a reunion, it might be best to go alone,” Doll explains. You don’t want to be stuck explaining who every person you namedrop is to your date, who will probably be bored anyway. “Also, if you just started dating someone new, it’s best to go by yourself,” she says. “You don’t want to push a new relationship and make it seem more real than it is.”

Another time when it’s best not to bring a date: right after a breakup. “It can be scary to go alone, but use that time to do something nice for yourself,” Doll says. Get a blowout. If it’s a destination wedding, stay a little longer. Use the wedding as an excuse to indulge.

Don’t make out with anyone related to the bride.

“If you’re single, you can flirt or make out with anyone you are attracted to who is also single … as long as they aren’t a relative of the bride,” she says. Let Doll, who has seen her fair share of disastrous wedding hookups — and even had some of her own — save you from doing something you’ll regret the next day. “The price is too great, with the awkwardness and potential apologies waiting to be made,” she warns.

And that goes for the catering staff, too.

Even if the hottest people at the reception at the ones keeping your wine glass full, Doll says it’s best not to flirt with the wait staff. “They’re there to serve you, so they have to be nice to you. It’s a bit ungenerous to put them in that spot,” she says. If it really seems like true love, Doll recommends exchanging digits and hanging out at a later date.

Don’t do shots.

The open bar isn’t going to shut down, so there’s no need to start the day with tequila shots. When it comes to boozing it up at a wedding, take it slow. Doll has a whole section in her book devoted to the dangers of the open bar, so learn from her mistakes.

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence 


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