How to Be a Great Wedding Guest

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I love weddings. And it’s not enough that I’m at one nearly every weekend – I love going to weddings as a guest, too! The food, the bar, the dancing, the laughter, the photo booth – Count. Me In.  I am the consummate wedding guest, I tell you. I cry at all the right times, I smile through the whole ceremony, I partake in every tradition, and I always dance.

Now, most people don’t like having their photo taken, right? But at a wedding, you’re nearly guaranteed to be photographed a handful of times. After all, I am commonly asked by couples to get a picture of everyone there! But fear not. I have some tips for you so that the next time you’re a wedding guest you won’t groan when your picture gets blasted all over Facebook.

1.  Smile always, especially during the ceremony, the first dance and the toasts (the most likely times that wedding photographers are cruising for “reaction” shots).  I tell you nothing ruins a lovely photo of a blissful moment like a wedding guest in the background who is grimacing, staring off into the distance, checking their phone, or picking lint off their suit.  Sure, the attention is on the couple, but guests are on display, too, and photographers are everywhere 🙂

2.  Dress appropriately.  Jeans, mini-skirts, and t-shirts just don’t quite cut it, you know?  Also if you’re wearing a necktie, button the top button on your shirt collar and always button the top button on your jacket, especially when you’re standing and definitely when you’re being photographed. (If you don’t have these things buttoned, photographers – like me – will probably call you out.)

3.  Dance!  We photographers need at least a handful of good dancing photos so that the couple can look back and know that their friends really had fun on the dance floor.  I know it’s annoying to have the photographer on the dance floor trolling for good shots.  But when we do that we want candid, natural, happy looking photos.  Please don’t let the photographer intimidate you from dancing.  We won’t sell the photos to the tabloids, we promise.

4. Similarly, never, ever let either one of the marrying couple dance alone.  Never.  When one or both of the couple are out there the dance floor should be packed around them!  Only YOU can prevent a sorry looking dance floor.  Put your self-consciousness aside and dance.  It will help make the photos much more memorable.

5.  Trust that if you look really, really awful in a photo (one eye is closed, or your nipple is popping out from your dress, or you’re in the middle of a sneeze) we will delete it.  Again, we aren’t the paparazzi, looking for the least flattering photo that we can sell to the Weekly World News.  Our clients want lovely photos of their guests having fun and we’re going to provide them with only the really good shots.

6.  But no, I’m not going to Photoshop that.  Make sure your clothes fit and your face is clean.  See #5 for clarification.

7.  When eating, take small bites, be sure to wipe your chin, and check your teeth. Just to reiterate, you’re responsible for your own appearance.  No, we won’t Photoshop that.

8.  If you want a photo of you and your significant other or your family or your friends, don’t be afraid to ask for it!  Likewise if you’d like a photo with the couple.  We’re there to serve and document everything we can.  I am always happy to take requests and encourage guests and the couples’ family members to approach me anytime they want something specific photographed. Trust me, it’s a relief to have people ask to have their photo taken!

9.  Likewise if you really really don’t want to have your picture taken at a wedding, don’t be afraid to let the photographer know that, too.  Just politely say that you prefer not to be photographed.  Easy as pie.

10.  Please don’t corner the photographer to harass her about what kind of camera she uses, what lens she has on there, and what f-stop she’s currently using. It’s super annoying to have to give mini-photo lessons in the middle of photographing a wedding.  Just let us do our jobs and you focus on taking advantage of the open bar.

a wedding guest smiling and laughing while listening to a wedding toast

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