Weddings are wonderful celebrations of the everlasting love between two people, and they are even more wonderful when you don’t have to plan or pay for them. In those cases, all you have to do is show up and engage in revelry with the happy couple and more members of their extended families than you ever thought you’d meet. It also means drinking in public and there are rules to follow to make sure you (as well as those who interact with you) have an enjoyable time.
Don’t Complain if There’s Only Beer and Wine
If you want a bar with your bourbon of choice then you throw the damn party. These good people, who are presumably your friends, relatives or desperate work acquaintances who think you are very cool, are providing you with ample of amounts of free alcohol. If you want to complain about something, complain that you have to sit at the weird cousins table.
They pose a threat to both your general wellbeing and your ability to attend future weddings, depending on whose face you drunkenly yell into. Nothing good ever came out of a couple rounds of tequila shots in close proximity to grandparents.
Pregaming the Wedding Is Acceptable
More likely than not, this is a gathering of friends from disparate parts of the country, many of whom may not have seen each other since Game of Thrones was in its early seasons. So a quick round of reminiscing and light beer before the festivities is totally fine. Just make sure you’re still able to both stay awake for and sit silently through the ceremony.
Tip the Bartender
Even if the wedding has an open bar (especially if this an open bar), please tip your bartenders. There are large swaths of the population that don’t believe in tipping for things they get for free—something about 10-percent of 0 is 0. So wedding bartenders are already at a disadvantage. They also don’t have any of the necessary authority to wrangle unruly guests. Not only can they not kick the bride’s wasted brother out of the place, but—unless they hear otherwise from the mother of the bride—they also have to serve him another one. So please, give freely. Also, a good tip is a good way to extend last call by a good 20 minutes.
Go Easy During Cocktail Hour
Passed apps do not equal a good base for several rounds of Martinis. Until you have a chance to get some real food in you, grab a glass of Champagne or two, and watch yourself. Otherwise, it’s going to be a long night.
Bringing Your Own Stash Will Almost Certainly End Badly
The drinks are already unlimited. There’s just no need for a flask or that secret 12-pack you hid in the broom closet.
Toasts Are Not for Everyone
If you’re the type of person who has to consider any of the rules on this list, there is a good chance you will be drinking a lot. That does not make you an excellent candidate for toast giving. Remember, you will be recorded and YouTube is forever, so think before you toast.
Don’t Drink and Dance
Don’t misunderstand, you can still drink before you dance. For most of us, that is actually a requirement. Just don’t be the guy carrying recently topped off glasses of red wine above your head during “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.” There is a lot of white clothing out there waiting to be spilled on.
Never Miss the Afterparty
This is your opportunity to throw off the shackles that come with parties attended by children and buttoned up members of the Greatest Generation. This is your chance to say “screw you, arbitrary 10 p.m venue curfew.” This is your chance to fulfill Whitney’s wishes and dance with somebody.