7 smart tips to survive wedding season

waiter, pour, champagne, wedding, guest, drunk, drink Getty Images stock
Easy on the champagne! Serial wedding guest and author Jen Doll advises to party in moderation.

When it comes to weddings, regular attendee Jen Doll has just about seen it all, from drunken behavior to misplaced cakes to tides that roll in and soak the wedding party. And now she’s sharing it all in her new memoir "Save the Date: The Occasional Mortifications of a Serial Wedding Guest."

“The kind of standard view is that a wedding is something separate and special and precious and set aside and doesn’t really relate to the rest of our lives,” Doll said, “but in fact, it is part of our lives and we don’t leave anything behind. We are ourselves when we are going to weddings.”

Doll, a 38-year-old Brooklynite, originally wrote an essay about weddings for The Hairpin, which got a great response and prompted her to pursue a full book.

“I find weddings so fascinating. They represent not just the human connection of the bride and the groom but all of the people there. When we act like it’s just the bride and groom’s special, perfect day, it seems to go against this idea that we’re all there for a reason. We’re all there to support each other. The idea of openness and embracing that was really important to me.”

Riverhead Books Riverhead Books
Writer Jen Doll, shown as a bridesmaid in 2004.

In writing her book, Doll tried to reflect on different relationships as well as the idea of growing up. “When we’re 8 or 22 or 25, these are not the feelings we’re going to have for our entire lives. Things can seem so fraught and dire and awful or so joyous and wonderful and happy. And really, it’s not about one feeling at a wedding, it’s about your whole life, the way you treat your friends, how they treat you.”

The book discusses wedding best friends, who you promise to keep in touch with but never do, and other experiences that make each wedding unique. “While you’re there you’re in this special, temporary beautiful ecosystem,” she said. “Your purpose is to be there for love and support.”

Doll’s goal was not to do an expose of her friends’ weddings or chronicle a bunch of bridezillas gone wild. It’s earnest, not snarky. “I’m a mush writer who I hope has kind of a keen eye for the way we do things culturally.”

Tips for the upcoming wedding season:

If you plan to drink, make sure you eat. “If you’re the type of person who goes to a party and doesn’t ever want to eat anything, you should eat beforehand,” Doll said. “There’s a high chance for disasters to ensue with all the wine and shots and partying — so eat!”

Check your drama at the door. “Everyone brings a lot of feelings we’re facing in our own life to the wedding. They may have nothing to do with the couple,” she said, adding, “allow those feelings to exist on their own in a safe space and don’t bring them ... the best thing to happen at a wedding is for everyone to go home and say, ‘That was really fun.’”

It’s OK to choose what works for you. “If you are invited to tons of weddings in one season, you don’t have to go to all of them,” Doll said. Instead, it’s better to explain to the couple that you can’t afford to attend but explain that you value your friendship. Also if you’re not very close with the couple, it’s fine to decline.

Watch your drinking. See first tip above.

No one needs your opinion. “If you have some issue about who they’re marrying or you feel really concerned, I think it’s fair to talk about those things,” Doll said, “but you shouldn’t do it at the wedding itself.”

Wear something that makes you feel special. While everyone says to wear the same dress to different events or to wear a dress from a wedding you were in, it’s “tainted with that bridesmaid feeling.” She recommends a service like Rent the Runway to try out new fashions without a big investment.

Make a destination wedding a vacation. You’ll have time to do your own thing and spend quality moments bonding with the bride and groom before the chaos of the wedding events begin.

  • Slideshow Photos

    20Th Century Fox

    Image: 27 DRESSES, Katherine Heigl, 2008. TM &©20th Century Fox. All rights reserved/courtesy Everett Colle

    The most memorable bridesmaid dresses

    Underneath the layers of ruffles, sparkle and tulle stand beautiful women whose support for their on-screen brides far surpasses their self-awareness. Here's a round up of the best (read: worst) bridesmaid dresses in Blockbuster history.

  • The most memorable bridesmaid dresses

    of

    Memorable bridesmaid dresses -

    Bridesmaids are known to draw the short straw when it comes to wedding day attire, and some of the worst offenders come from the big screen. From puffy sleeves to giant bows, here are the most memorable bridesmaid dresses in pop culture.
    <

    'Sixteen Candles'
    Molly Ringwald is adorably awkward as Sam Baker in the seminal coming-of-age story "Sixteen Candles." Sam's family may have forgotten her birthday, but that iconic lavender dress and floral headpiece are definitely engrained in memory.

    Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection
  • The most memorable bridesmaid dresses

    of

    'Confessions of a Shopaholic' -

    Isla Fisher stars as Rebecca Bloomwood, a journalist with a serious shopping addiction, in the 2009 movie version of "Confessions of a Shopaholic." In the film, Rebecca accidentally donates her tropical pink bridesmaid dress, and we can't say that we blame her!

    Walt Disney Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection
  • The most memorable bridesmaid dresses

    of

    'My Best Friend's Weddings' -

    Playing Julianne Potter, the envious best friend in "My Best Friend's Wedding," Julia Roberts' purple satin number isn't enough to put her in our ranks. It's the identical twin debutantes that take the cake. The two southern belles walked down the aisle in matching floral dresses with giant bows and billowing hemlines.

    TriStar Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection
  • The most memorable bridesmaid dresses

    of

    'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' -

    Gia Carides, the boisterous cousin in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," flaunts her fashion in the popular 2002 movie.

    IFC Films / Courtesy Everett Collection
  • The most memorable bridesmaid dresses

    of

    'Clueless' -

    Alicia Silverstone's character Cher may have had an enviable wardrobe in the '90s, but her bridal fashion sense seems a bit clueless today.

    Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection
  • The most memorable bridesmaid dresses

    of

    'Bridesmaids' -

    We won't discuss the madness that ensued during the search for the perfect dress in the 2011 blockbuster "Bridesmaids," only that in the end, Rose Byrne's chic character won the bridesmaid battle with her pleated, purple Fritz Bernaise.

    Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection
  • The most memorable bridesmaid dresses

    of

    'Mamma Mia!' -

    As much as we'd hoped Amanda Seyfried's bridal party would sing their way down the aisle in the moon suits from "Super Trouper," her bridesmaids' actual dresses were far less psychadelic and much more frumpy.

    Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection
  • The most memorable bridesmaid dresses

    of

    'A Very Brady Sequel' -

    When it comes to fashion, it's clear that the '70s deserve a little mercy. But we can't help but think the three Brady sisters look like creamsicles in their peach-colored frocks, which are accessorized with flowers, bows and puffy sleeves. Don't even get us started on the groomsmen...

    Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection
  • The most memorable bridesmaid dresses

    of

    'When Harry Met Sally' -

    Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan play friends who find themselves falling endlessly in love with one another, despite their constant bickering. But amidst their ups and downs, Sally forgives Harry for being pig-headed and Harry forgives Sally for wearing this dark velour dress with high-volume sleeves and long white gloves.

    Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection
  • The most memorable bridesmaid dresses

    of

    'A Wedding' -

    What could be worse than baby a pink dress with turtleneck cape and ruffled bonnet? Six of them in a row! Mia Farrow, playing bridesmaid Buffy Brenner, certainly doesn't look too happy about it in this scene from the 1978 comedy "A Wedding."

    20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection
  • The most memorable bridesmaid dresses

    of

    '27 Dresses' -

    Katherine Heigl knows bad bridesmaid dresses better than anyone else. Heigl stars as Jane, the always-the-bridesmaid-never-the-bride character, in the film "27 Dresses." From costume ball gowns with lace and bows to black punk dresses with spikes and fishnet, she's worn it all.

    20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection
  • The most memorable bridesmaid dresses

    of

    'Sex and the City' -

    It isn't all bad news for bridesmaids in show biz. In the film "Sex and the City," Carrie, a fashionable writer, honors her best friends with sophisticated, fashionable gowns.

    New Line Cinema / Courtesy Everett Collection
0:00
 
0:00
Your video begins in
0:00
TOP