Attending Your First Wedding As An Adult

This winter I’ll be attending the wedding of the first of my friends to get married. I’ve been to other fancy events with my family, situations where I was brought along as the child of my parents instead of as an adult myself. However, when your name is on the invitation, there is a greater expectation to actually comport yourself like a real person, which is personally my least favorite activity.

Leading up to the wedding, and depending on how close you are with the happy couple, there are a lot of logistics aside from merely RSVPing. You need to track down a meaningful gift if you plan on straying from the registry. You’ll likely be invited to attend an engagement party or bridal shower, in which case another gift may become necessary. You’ll have to find something to wear, of course, which is harder than it sounds. I am convinced that I will one day have children of my own and still be texting my mother with a photo of a dress captioned, “does THIS count as black tie?!” And most likely, It won’t.

Once you’ve managed to properly dress yourself and wrap your requisite gifts, you get to attend the actual wedding. In my experience, and based on watching any movie with a wedding ever, these affairs are fancy, gleefully drunken parties. In fact, some weddings are actually planned with alcohol at the forefront. With the allure of wine-centric venues, an open bar and delicious specialty cocktails, it’s easy to find yourself consuming more alcohol than anticipated.

There is a fine line between getting drunk and getting wasted. While you should feel free to liberally dance around that line, remember to pace yourself and eat throughout the night, as weddings tend to run long. Odds are that most guests will want to find themselves in that same sweet-spot. So, if you find that you’re a bit of a lightweight, feel free to skip a few celebratory toasts.

Weddings are also notorious for the earth-shattering hangovers that tend to follow. It never hurts to plan ahead by avoiding any drinks that might exacerbate the severity of the morning after. Try to stick with clear liquors, like vodka or gin, and make sure you’re periodically hydrating. If you’re extra forward thinking, make sure to have Advil and a glass of water on your bedside table before you leave. If you’re not forward thinking, then brace yourself to face that hangover head on.

If you’re in the wedding party or speaking at some point during the evening, you will need to present a modicum of composure. No bride wants to look back on her special day and see that you’re standing in the middle of every photo with drunk eyes and a sweaty sheen or that you went off-book during what was meant to be a very moving toast. Instead, relegate most of your drinking to the part of the evening after you’ve had to stand up in front of a room full of strangers.

While you’re dancing your face off, bear in mind, this is an expensive affair, so avoid anything that might upset the bride and groom and their families who might be footing the bill. Mainly, try not to get so drunk that you start breaking things. If you do commit a mortal sin, like spilling a glass of red wine on a fellow guest or knock over a centerpiece, apologize profusely and politely excuse yourself for the evening.

All that said, if you do get drunk, it’s okay! There is no greater compliment you can pay a newlywed than by having the best night of your life at the very expensive party they just threw. Weddings are meant to be raucously celebratory occasions, so just relax and have fun. Just watch out for when the groom starts asking you to rip shots.