We’ve rounded up a list of 30 tips and tricks to surviving the 10-year wedding season known as your 20s (and probably your 30s, too).
1. Bridesmaid dresses, plane tickets, hotels, gifts… dig out that spare cash, ’cause you’re about to go broke. It seriously might be worth setting aside a wedding fund.
2.Bring Gatorade to outdoor weddings — get the small ones that you can throw in a purse. Also, give one to the bride — a lot of times they forget to maintain those electrolytes and the last thing anyone needs is a fainting bride.
3. Splurge on the most comfortable pair of black pumps you can find.
Experiment with the variety of shoe inserts out there for slipping toes and padding heels — they do work!
4.Eat something and drink plenty of water before going to the ceremony (especially outdoor weddings!). Chances are you won’t get to eat for a while. Throw a power bar in that purse, girl.
5. We get it — you’re in your 20s and shelling out cash and spending vacation time going to all these weddings is hard. But a) you’ll (probably) have a blast and b) this is a pivotal moment in your friend’s life and your friendship may be damaged if you are not there.
6. When it’s dancin’ time — dance! The newlyweds will thank you because there’s nothing worse than having a party with a DJ and no one is dancing.
7. The alcohol may be flowing and you want to celebrate your friends’ everlasting love (and maybe pick up one of those wedding crashers), but keep in mind someone’s grandma is there. Dress classy, drink tastefully and show off your new twerking moves another time.
8. Invest in a few dresses (or outfits) that you feel comfortable in, won’t fade or rip and are not white.
9. If you’re in an outdoor summer wedding party, have a roll of paper towels on hand for the pre-ceremony wait. No one wants pit stains on their bridesmaid dress before the party’s even started.
10. Two words: waterproof mascara.
11. You may be anxious of this reminder that you’re growing older and are still single, or churches and religion make you feel uneasy, but the bottom line is weddings are just really awesome parties. Once you’re there, you’ll forget all about anything except how happy your friends are and have fun!
12. Don’t be offended if you’re not invited to the wedding. Remember that your friend has had to cut down her list of guests (and that her spouse-to-be has done the same), suck it up, and send her a note with well wishes! Her wedding isn’t about you anyway.
13. Eat cake. Even if it’s dry and terrible. Cake is still cake.
14. If you don’t get a “plus-one” with your invitation, you can cry about it for about three minutes and then you have to let it go. Not receiving a plus-one is not the end of the world and you have to remember even the most elaborate weddings still have a catering budget to adhere to. Find your friends on the guest list and plan with them.
15. If you’re in the wedding, no matter how many brides tell you that you can TOTALLY wear the bridesmaids dress again, do not get your hopes up. Smile. Nod. Agree with her. Pay (the ridiculous amount) for the dress. And always know, you most definitely will never be able to wear that dress again. That’s OK; everyone loved the movie 27 Dresses, anyway.
16. Stain stick. The bride’s wearing white, you’re wearing something nice, everyone’s drinking red wine. Enough said.
17. If you are friends with a young bride-to-be, make an effort to HELP HER. Contribute ideas, provide support and reach out to her to see if she needs anything. She is likely crumbling under the stress of planning by herself, especially with the added pressure of fighting everyone’s condescending cynicism about marrying young. She will forever be grateful for that time you stayed up with her until 2 a.m. on a Wednesday addressing envelopes, and even offering to pick someone up at the airport can go a long way.
18. Choose a purse that will hold the essentials (e.g., phone, lipstick and tissues, plus your ID and cash if it’s not open bar) but won’t be a b*tch to carry around or hard to tuck away under your seat. No one wants to bump up against your cute but spike-adorned crossbody bag on the dancefloor.
19. If you are asked to be in the wedding party, you must be able to get through bullsh*t and emotional meltdowns that may follow with an encouraging smile. If this sounds beyond you, it’s probably best for everyone if you politely decline.
22.If you are subject to chafing or the dreaded chub rub — WEAR SPANX. Or bike shorts. Or tights. Or try Bandelettes. Anything to keep your thighs dry and happy. You don’t want to be waddling between your seat and the bar.
23.Take pictures! Oftentimes candid shots by guests become the couple’s favorite photos from the event. If you don’t want to be glued to your phone the whole time, bring a disposable camera and scan or mail the prints (we know, gasp, snail mail) to the couple. It’ll be a really fun surprise for them when they think they’ve seen all they’re going to see from the professional photographer.
24.Dude, sunscreen. Outdoor weddings are overwhelmingly popular during the summer and can result in some uncomfortable and oddly placed sunburns and tanlines if you don’t layer up.
25.Prime your makeup, ladies! This is going to be a long event, and you should expect some of your makeup to wear down due to time and sweat. Primer helps keep it on and in one place, and there are different kinds for basically every type of makeup.
26.AFTER you prime, set your makeup so that it won’t get all drippy and gross — especially if you’re outside.
27.Don’t be afraid to say no. While you want to be there for your friends special day, if it will bankrupt you or it’s simply not feasible for you at that time, explain that to them and wish them well. We can’t all afford the bridesmaid trip, the bachelorette party, the bridal shower gift, the bridesmaid dress, the travel, hotel and wedding gift, and if they’re a good friend, they’ll understand.
28.Support group: If it’s a mutual friend, get your group and go together. Save on the hotel and carpool — it will help with the funding and make it more fun for you too.
29.Learn who the problem family members are and help your pals run interference. Nothing is more stressful than family squabbles, so be your charming self and help keep the peace.
30.Don’t be afraid to grab a guy or gal from the sidelines to join in the dancing. All it means is you’re a little less shy than they are and they might be grateful to you for bringing them in for the good times.