Weddings. They tend to happen around this time of year.
Something about love being in the air ... or maybe that’s pollen.
Regardless, you’ve been invited. And regardless of your age or marital status, you’ll need to dress well. Drink well. Speak with dignity and grace.
And that’s where this comes in: The Gentleman’s Handbook, Volume III: Weddings.
What to Wear This Season
How to Make a Toast
How to Give a Damn Good Gift
And Acceptable Dance Songs That Aren’t the Electric Slide
Plus much more, including our advice regarding that all-important query: Must I go to this wedding in the first place?
Enjoy. We’ll see you on the dance floor,
Your friends at InsideHook
All wedding attire is not created equal
What to Wear
… to the Beach Wedding
...to the Country Club Wedding
...to the Formal Wedding
...to the Municipal Building Wedding
A what-to-expect guide
The Wedding Cheat Sheet
The WASP Wedding
Conservative dress. Bonus for seersucker and bowties. Flasks OK. Keep an ear out for hot stock tips. Dance with granny.
The Indian Wedding
Wear a colorful suit. Expect delicious food. Wear comfy shoes. Dancing is a must. Groom may ride in on an elephant.
The Same-Sex Wedding
Typically mixed seating. Take your dress cues from the couple. Respect and approval. No Chick-fil-A jokes.
The Vegas Wedding
Normal rules do not apply. Do not Instagram anything. Pick up annulment paperwork on the way out. Tip Elvis.
Rings. Speech. Bachelor party.
The Duties of the Best Man
Plan bachelor party.
Arrange accommodations for groomsmen.
Manage the rowdy ones.
Keep a handkerchief nearby.
And a black pen. And mints. And cash.
Get the groom to ceremony.
Stand beside groom at ceremony.
Escort Maid of Honor down the aisle.
Deliver drinks to anyone who asks. Mainly the groom.
Keep the damn rings safe.
Sign marriage license as witness.
Give the officiant an envelope with their fee after the ceremony.
Make a toast. Keep it short.
Dance with everyone.
Collect gift envelopes.
Rule no. 1: Look the part
The Duties of the Groomsman
Make sure your tux still fits.
Attend engagement party. Attend bachelor party. Attend rehearsal dinner.
Listen to the Best Man.
Keep the beer cold.
Attend to the families.
Remain aware. (“The bathroom? Over there.”)
Escort the bridesmaids down the aisle.
Yes, you still have to buy a wedding gift.
Ladies and gentlemen ...
How to Not Suck at Toasts
Raz during a rehearsal dinner speech? Yes.
Raz during the wedding speech? No.
Drink just enough to steel yourself.
Thank the bride’s family.
No long stories about your formative years.
Do not mention former flames of either party.
Rule of three: two normal comments followed by an outlandish comment gets a laugh every time.
Lead with funny.
Close with heartfelt.
Be quick about it.
Try to follow someone who has ignored one or more of these rules.
Your new best friend
How to Tip a Bartender
Most popular man at the wedding: the groom.
Close second: the man behind the pine.
Make friends early.
Shoot the bull during cocktail hour before he’s swamped.
Commit his name to memory.
First tip: Jackson or better.
Drop him singles each round thereafter.
Scotchy Scotch Scotch
How to Drink Effectively
Easy on the pre-ceremony champagne — you haven’t eaten yet.
One reception cocktail before dinner starts. Make your rounds.
Wine with dinner. Eat the dinner.
Post-dinner: Scotch. Tough to overdo. Earns nod of approval from the wedding’s old guard.
Invariably, someone will suggest shots. Avoid this man.
Keep an eye out for your “rhythm drink” — the one after which you say to yourself “You know what? I AM a good dancer!” This signals your zenith. All downhill from here.
Watch the FOTB closely – when HE’S the one suggesting shots, all bets are officially off. Feel free to take one.
When in doubt: “To the happy couple!” when raising your glass.
Bloody Mary in the morning.
One left foot, sir
How to Dance Properly
One slow dance with your date. That’s the absolute minimum.
Dance with mom. Dance with granny.
The Charleston is funny for a second. All songs are longer than a second.
Match your partner's energy.
Alcohol intake is not directly proportional to dancing acumen. It's not inversely proportional, either. It's more of a parabola. Ride the crest.
When in doubt, remember Gertrude: You look ridiculous if you dance, you look ridiculous if you don’t dance. So you might as well dance.
What to request
Nobody’s going to ask your opinion on this. But in case they do:
Ignition (Remix) - R. Kelly
Bizarre Love Triangle - New Order
Shout - The Isley Brothers
The Way You Move - Outkast
Sexual Healing - Marvin Gaye
You Make My Dreams - Hall and Oates
Brick House - The Commodores
Gett Off - Prince
One More Time - Daft Punk
Poison - Bell Biv DeVoe
Listen to the lot of 'em on our Spotify playlist
You: 1. Registry: 0.
How to Give a Damn Good Gift
As with all gifts, consider the people being gifted.
When in doubt: gift registry. Hurry before the best gifts are picked through.
But you’re better than the gift registry.
Co-worker? $100-worth is good. You have to see this person every day.
Cousin? $125’ll do it.
Close family? How much money you got?
Technically, you can wait up to a year to give a gift. But don’t.
Wait a few weeks after the wedding. Mail your gift. It’ll stand out.
Cash is always welcome.
Invited but not attending? You’re still on the hook for a gift.
Where's the bar?
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I go if I've slept with the bride-to-be?
How recently we talking here? If you were personally invited, you’ve already been cleared (unless, to borrow Admiral Akbar, "It’s a trap!"). But if you’re somebody’s date, ask your ladyfriend whether she told the bride you were coming. No drama? You’re clear.
Can I make a toast if I'm not the best man?
Ask the best man.
How can I avoid small talk?
You can’t. But try the Socratic method. Q: How’s New York? A: How do you think it is?
When can I go home?
Where’s the after-party?
Ask the drunkest groomsman.
Can I jump into the pool?