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DMC

Going to Weddings

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So I tried to search this site seeing if there was some long-term thread on this, but, um, that was a pretty stupid and obviously thankless endeavor..

In the non-murderous weddings type, I've been to many in last decade+, and am about to go to my sister's - to be clear I'm not in the wedding.  I'm just wondering how you guys approach attending weddings?  Because I used to really love weddings, but these days it seems like a chore.  Almost seems like a certain very recent episode of a popular HBO series, I usually end up the guy smoking and drinking outside waiting for the damn thing to end and ending up with the guy that wants to preach religion.

That's probably just me getting old and bitter, but it was recently compounded by the fact I found out I'd be at the "main" table.  I thought I'd be at a table with my favorite uncle and my favorite cousins and be able to fuck around.  Come to find out I'm with the bride and groom, my parents, the groom's parents, my grandparents, and brother and I.  And yeah, me and my bro are going stag.  Not cuz I wanted to fuck the bridesmaids or anything (although..) but more because my sister asked me, like, 9 months ago if I was bringing a date and I was like hell no.  I'm not in a long-term relationship with anybody, and what a way to ruin a relationship pressuring them into going from Pittsburgh to Tampa to meet around 16 members of your extended family. 

Anyway, that's a whole lotta white people problems, sure I'll survive.  But it made me think about the fact that everybody does weddings differently.  And if you've been to a lotta weddings like I have, you kinda gotta figure how to navigate that.  So I thought it's worth a topic.  What do you guys do?  Stick around your table and play it straight?  Kinda post up around the open bar (if there's not an open bar I'm sorry) and mingle?  Search for random outliers - in which smoking/drinking outside is the best tactic?  Curious parties want your opinions!

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Hmmm...I've attended maybe 1 wedding in the last ten years, yet I've helped plan around 200, worked at least 100 more...

Some generalities:

It really depends on what you put into it. Is it family? How close? Big family? What friends are attending? Any?  Open bar? Do you drink? How old are you?  How old is the median age of the attendees?  Do you have your own kids to monitor?  

It's always best to plan around who you're around.  Maybe the wedding isn't a good time overall, but if you're with some good friends, you can have the after reception planned to have fun.

 

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2 minutes ago, Jaxom 1974 said:

but if you're with some good friends, you can have the after reception planned to have fun.

 

This is exactly why I've increasingly waited around outside.

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Just now, DMC said:

This is exactly why I've increasingly waited around outside.

Weddings generally suck as you get older, unless you've got a tight circle of friends to hang with.  Particularly as any friends I have getting married now, for the most part are mid-40s and doing it a second time. Those are less hedonistic for sure. 

 

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8 minutes ago, Jaxom 1974 said:

Those are less hedonistic for sure. 

Funny, I woulda thought > age in bride/groom ages + > in marriages would =  > of ultimately resulting in hedonistic orgies, if you waited around long enough.

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25 minutes ago, Jaxom 1974 said:

yet I've helped plan around 200, worked at least 100 more...

Gonna take a leap of faith here, but I'm assuming you're in the wedding planning industry then.  Man, would not have pegged you for that.  That's better than Hanks being a school teacher.  Very interested your opinion, then, on this - how often do you see some guy at the main table go to smoke?  Because I'm going to want to, a lot.  I'm not worried about looking like an ass in front of my own parents - that ship sailed 34 years ago - but I don't wanna look like a dick to my new brother-in-law's parents.

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, DMC said:

Gonna take a leap of faith here, but I'm assuming you're in the wedding planning industry then.  Man, would not have pegged you for that.  That's better than Hanks being a school teacher.  Very interested your opinion, then, on this - how often do you see some guy at the main table go to smoke?  Because I'm going to want to, a lot.  I'm not worried about looking like an ass in front of my own parents - that ship sailed 34 years ago - but I don't wanna look like a dick to my new brother-in-law's parents.

I'm in Catering, not exclusively wedding planning, but there's been a whole lot of that...and in South Eastern Wisconsin.

I can tell you this, since you're part of the bride's family, get your smoking in during cocktail hour (assuming there is one), then take your seat and get through dinner.  Once those inital dances are done and the cake is served and the terrible, terrible pop music of 2019 starts playing, you're good to go, smoke em if you got em.  That's when everyone gets up and is movong about anyway.

Oh and by main table, I assume the table that isn't the one the whole wedding party sits at?  Meaning the raised head table type of scenario.

If you can get your hands on a timeline of the evening from the bride ahead of time, that'll give you a better heads up on when you really should be at your seat.

Edited by Jaxom 1974

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3 minutes ago, Jaxom 1974 said:

If you can get your hands on a timeline of the evening from the bride ahead of time, that'll give you a better heads up on when you really should be at your seat.

No need, what you're saying is what I'm assuming will happen.  I don't think they'll raise us above the salt - that's not my sister nor her fiance's style, but pretty much the rest.  I just though, maybe, you'd give me an out for smoking before/during dinner.  I really don't even wanna sit through all that.  Always takes too long - and while I've always been really cool with the fiance (although I'm not the protective brother), we've only met his parents once and my god.

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Yeah. Sorry.  You're likely stuck through the actual dinner. Hopefully they front load the introductions and speeches really early.  Thats the stuff you need to sit for and not come across as rude.  

I always recommend introductions, to the cake cutting, to the blessing, right to speeches.  All while people eat their salads, which you want preset to get folks to actually get their butts into their seats to get things moving.  All of that plus dinner service shouldn't take more than an hour, when done right.  Put the cake on a self serve station right after the first dances.  Let people be up and about to mongle and enjoy themselves (if they can).

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1 hour ago, DMC said:

Because I used to really love weddings, but these days it seems like a chore.

I remember way way back, when I had been to very few weddings, I used to love going to them.  So much so that one year in my early 20s when I lived across the street from a major hotel here my roommate and I used to get dressed up and wander over on Saturday evenings and crash complete strangers wedding receptions if the situation allowed.  Nothing major, just free drinks and cake and dancing.  But it was fun!  But then I had that year in my late 20s when about everyone I knew got married and had 12 weddings to attend in that single year (including 2 rather horrible bridesmaids gowns) and pretty much ever since then I've been very not into them.  And now I only attend weddings of immediate family members and weddings in locations I'm keen to visit.  And only if there are going to be people there I know I will have a good time hanging out with for an extended evening.  Luckily weddings are few and far between for me these days.

As for how to get through your sister's wedding, well even if you are at the main table, I think chances are you won't have to spend that much time sitting there.  At a family wedding last year, my cousin was the best man and technically seated at the main table but he pretty much was able to spend 90% of table time at the fun cousin table and only had to be at the main table for speeches and some preliminary eating of food.  The bride and groom were hardly at the table as they were wandering around talking to everyone.  And thinking about it, I think this is the situation at most weddings I've been to - the main table has been empty for the bulk of the evening due to everyone running around and talking at other tables.  So I think there is a good chance you will be able to spend a good amount of time hanging at your uncle's/cousin's table.

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11 minutes ago, lady narcissa said:

The bride and groom were hardly at the table as they were wandering around talking to everyone.  And thinking about it, I think this is the situation at most weddings I've been to - the main table has been empty for the bulk of the evening due to everyone running around and talking at other tables.  So I think there is a good chance you will be able to spend a good amount of time hanging at your uncle's/cousin's table.

Yeah, it's just my mother is there to judge me.  Which actually I could kinda assume she's gonna get drunk quick.  But she'll be reminded by HER mother, who doesn't drink at all and is sharper than Pelosi and about 5 years older.  I'm trapped!

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7 minutes ago, DMC said:

But she'll be reminded by HER mother, who doesn't drink at all and is sharper than Pelosi and about 5 years older.  I'm trapped!

Is your Grandma the sort who can be distracted by quality time near the beginning of the reception?  Chat her up for some quality 10 minutes when other family members have not and perhaps she will let any subsequent wanderings on your part slide?  Then she can focus on your mother and other family members wandering about and tut-tut them instead, especially if they haven't had some quality minutes with Grandma yet.

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6 minutes ago, lady narcissa said:

Chat her up for some quality 10 minutes when other family members have not and perhaps she will let any subsequent wanderings on your part slide?

My grams is the type who will figure that attempt out within the first 2 minutes.  Many have tried.  Last time we all got together was her 80th birthday.  A bunch of us got in trouble because she knew exactly how drunk we were when we shouldn't have been.  My parents?  Yeah, they're at the age where they're kind of getting confused, or at least I convince them they were confused if I want to - although ethically I feel like Bran warging Hodor.  But my grams?  Nah, ain't happening.

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5 hours ago, DMC said:

I'm just wondering how you guys approach attending weddings?

I put on my tuxedo, grab my wife and see what happens. Usually, I try to sleep in the vicinity, so I can either walk home or don't have to pay ridiculous sums on a taxi.

There are two alternatives: either it's a friends wedding where I meet no family of mine or my wifes. In this case I eat, drink, try to chat with the others at my table. Then I'll dance with my wife. Or in more formal settings, where couples are separated, with my dinner partner. Usually the first waltz, if there is one, is a crowded affair, so my shortcomings in ballroom dancing are hidden in the moving masses. Then I'll need some fresh air, so I hang outside with the lonely dudes and the smokers for a while. Then I go back inside, try to grab another drink and some dessert. Depending on the situation, by this time my wife will either be in deep conversation with some completely unknown person or looking for me for another dance. If it's the former, I'll head back outside, now being truly part of the outside crew and try my luck about an hour later. Depending on the music and the other guests we'll repeat this cycle or got to bed early.

It it's a family wedding, I usually hang out with my siblings and cousins and we chat, drink and have a good time. Dancing is more rare but from time to time my wife will pry my ass from the seat for a dance.

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Brother of the bride at the wedding party table, seems to me you'll be expected to give a toast.

You might want to plan something witty, yet respectful to say for that inevitable moment when two hundred guests are all looking at you for a few moments. :D

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It depends on who's getting married and what kind of event it is. I hate it if it's one of those "out of the box" weddings that all look and feel the same and i hate it even more if bride and groom (more often it's the bride) get carried away with planning and expect guests to do this and that and get involved in this way or that. Let's just say that I'd flat out refuse to come to a wedding where anyone would expect me to take part in some group dance routine or some similar stupidity. Yes, I have been at weddings where such things took place and no I was not asked to participate :D 

Last wedding I attended was one of my best friends and I loved it. It was basically a party, and not a wedding reception and that's the way it should be done, IMO.

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With my Wedding,  we had the ceremony itself which being non-religious with no readings, just the vows  means its over fairly quickly.  the longest part is posing for the signing of the registers for family photos (at which point people are semi mingling) 

Then it was outside for drinks and Photo's  everyone mingles, people smoke and you only have to attend when your required for formal photos.

Bouquet throwing - I guess unless you are a catcher then most people watch.  throwing of the confetti you don't have to be involved and everyone is mingling.

then its dinner,  if your top table you are normally in the line up and shake everyone’s hand as they go in.  then it was the dinner itself,  You'd be excepted to sit there for that.  After dinner there was a short break where people went to the loo had a smoke, mingled a little bit / maybe said hi to other tables before the speeches.  when the speeches start you are expected back at the table.  Sorry you have to sit though that and pretend to pay attention.

Afterwards everyone was back out while some tables where removed, the Top table moved back a bit and turned in the Evening buffet table.  after reset, everyone back in, Cake cutting and first dance.   you are kinda expected to be in attendance in a crowd, but as bride I would not notice your absence.  Your attentive Nan probably would.  After that is just party time.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Pebble said:

With my Wedding,  we had the ceremony itself which being non-religious with no readings, just the vows  means its over fairly quickly.  the longest part is posing for the signing of the registers for family photos (at which point people are semi mingling) 

Then it was outside for drinks and Photo's  everyone mingles, people smoke and you only have to attend when your required for formal photos.

Bouquet throwing - I guess unless you are a catcher then most people watch.  throwing of the confetti you don't have to be involved and everyone is mingling.

then its dinner,  if your top table you are normally in the line up and shake everyone’s hand as they go in.  then it was the dinner itself,  You'd be excepted to sit there for that.  After dinner there was a short break where people went to the loo had a smoke, mingled a little bit / maybe said hi to other tables before the speeches.  when the speeches start you are expected back at the table.  Sorry you have to sit though that and pretend to pay attention.

Afterwards everyone was back out while some tables where removed, the Top table moved back a bit and turned in the Evening buffet table.  after reset, everyone back in, Cake cutting and first dance.   you are kinda expected to be in attendance in a crowd, but as bride I would not notice your absence.  Your attentive Nan probably would.  After that is just party time.

 

 

 

 

This is precisely the same as i have observed working as part of the bar/waiting staff at numerous weddings. Though sometimes speeches are before the meal (i remember distinctly as the chef was getting angry because they overran). Just make it through the meal and you should be free to wander and mingle - in fact its almost expected. The hotel i worked in had the top table on a stage at the front of the room, and once the main meal was over and done with it was mostly a storage area for coats, gifts etc of the wedding party.

Other observations which are so frequent they must be rules

 someone will try/succeed in upsetting the bride

be as rude as possible to bar and waiting staff

someone will get ridiculously drunk and start a fight

a middle aged person with tenuous connections to the actual bride and groom will complain. About everything.

For gods sake arrange transport home beforehand

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There is a sweet spot at weddings where you are close enough that you give a shit, but not so close you have to get involved. They are the best ones. 

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7 hours ago, DireWolfSpirit said:

Brother of the bride at the wedding party table, seems to me you'll be expected to give a toast.

Not sure about that, although at this point I assume no - as in if I was it'd be nice if someone told me.  Was thinking about that yesterday when making this thread, and think I might offer to write my parents' toasts.  They're both not very good writers at least sentimentally (my dad has published an entire career's worth in physiology), and not trying to show off much, but a recommendation my advisor just asked me to do made her cry.  Regardless, I at least got a couple toasts in my head so could do this with a few hours notice.

5 hours ago, baxus said:

Let's just say that I'd flat out refuse to come to a wedding where anyone would expect me to take part in some group dance routine or some similar stupidity.

I did refuse participation in one example of that.  Still went to the wedding, but I was like "no, you can do that without me."

2 hours ago, Pebble said:

just the vows  means its over fairly quickly.  the longest part is posing for the signing of the registers for family photos (at which point people are semi mingling) 

Not really choosing sides here, but this is why I've always appreciated Jewish weddings.  The ceremony is quick as fuck.  Whereas any ceremony conducted in a church you have to listen to the priest/pastor/whatever drone on about Jesus for at least 15 minutes and be like "are they also marrying Jesus?"

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