The James Bond of monogamy offers poignant advice to us, the invited.
Someone you know is tying the knot and you’re invited. Here are six things to do (and not to do) to make sure the bride and groom will always remember you fondly, no matter how they remember each other.
Don’t tell the groom the night before his wedding that you just met the doppelganger of his bride-to-be, and she wants to have sex with him as a wedding present. Yes, a bride-to-be’s doppelganger can be hot–if the groom has good taste. (He did!) And yes, a guy having sex with a woman who looks like the woman he’s already having sex with is weird, so we’re talking hot, weird sex—which is awesome. But sleeping with a doppelganger is not the same as sleeping with the woman she resembles: the guy’s bride-to-be. Close, but no cigar. Life is filled with opportunities to make huge errors in judgment—let a man make them without your help.
When the wedding is held in a region where people would rather eat horses than ride them, assume the water supply contains bacteria that will gallop through your digestive system unfettered. Therefore, preemptively splurge on bottled water versus saving money to buy more alcohol to wash down the horse. Yes, paying for water may seem a galling waste of money. But what you’ll save in the shame and terror of having intestinal distress—while dressed in a tuxedo and listening to an exchange of wedding vows—is priceless.
Pour the bride a glass of champagne, even if the bride is on her deathbed. When my younger sister got married in a hospice, I gave everyone in the wedding except her a pill cup filled with Veuve Cliquot. I figured alcohol and Dilauded didn’t mix. My sister said, “I may be dying but I want my fucking glass!” Reminding me why the social worker had said, “People die as they lived.” My sister lived to drink champagne. Good guests make sure everyone’s cup is filled.
When you have the chance to speak now or forever hold your peace, hold your peace. My wedding rehearsal took place in a little French restaurant, outside in the back garden amidst other patrons. When it came time for toasts, a drunken stranger stood up and said, “I’ve never seen these two in my life. But as far as I can tell, they could not be less well-suited for each other!” He may have been right—alcohol is sometimes a truth serum—but suggesting a groom jilt his bride-to-be at the rehearsal dinner is not what a good guest puts on the menu. Yes, half of all weddings are prologues to divorces, but this means that whatever you’re really thinking of a couple’s chances to succeed, there’s a 50-50 chance they’re right for each other—and a 50-50 chance you’re wrong.
Save those off-color toasts for the divorce party. At my big sister’s wedding rehearsal dinner, the Best Man recalled, in a West Texas drawl, how he and the groom used to float down the Rio Grande on houseboats full of beer and hookers. “Maria said to say, ‘Adios, hombre. I’m gonna miss you!’” My sister turned to me wearing one of those smiles you see on the wives of Asian dictators and Good Ole Boys and said, “He thinks he’s hilarious. He doesn’t know that tomorrow morning, he’ll be driving back to El Paso in a rental car.” Remember, there’s a 50-50 chance you’ll get to toast the remembrance of hookers past, so sit tight on those bon mots and say something nice!
Pass judgment on the couple in silence, continued. My wedding rehearsal dinner was what my future father-in-law called, out loud, “The most chaotic mess I’ve ever seen!” I stood up and counter-toasted: “Yes, we started the day planning to meet somewhere else. But we went through several evolutionary changes before we settled on the best place, filled with people smart enough to get here. To the survival of the fittest!” Good guests can look on their hosts’ foibles with contempt—we’re all human–but insulting a couple is best done in private.
In sum, the main principle governing good wedding guest behavior is the same principle that governs being a good husband: Don’t tell the truth! Keep dirty deeds to yourself. Don’t remind the bride her days are numbered. Don’t tell the couple they could have done better. Keep your mouth shut, your glass raised, and don’t drink the tap water!
Photo by Johncarljohnson.