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I work on a close team of twenty-somethings, and we’re used to drinking and hanging out together. But when it came time for one of us to take wedding vows, we didn’t really know what the rules were for attending a team wedding. This was a whole different ballgame. We were all curious about what to wear, what to expect, and what we shouldn’t be doing. It was a learning experience for us all.
You might be at a wedding, but you’re also surrounded by your co-workers. That means this isn’t the social event to break out your skimpiest dress and dance on the table. You can leave the business skirt at home, but wear something that still covers the goodies.
Weddings are typically followed by receptions with dance floors, so wear a dress that will stay in place if you decide to break it down. Think of it this way: There will be children, parents, and grandparents at this wedding, so dress in a way that won’t make you—or them—uncomfortable.
Speaking of breaking it down: Dancing is encouraged, but don’t twerk or do any other related dance move. Chances are you aren’t the only person from the office at this wedding. Do you think it’s a good idea for your team leader to see you grinding on a groomsman? Yeah, I didn’t think so. You can still dance; just save the club moves for the club. If you wouldn’t want the whole office to be abuzz on Monday about the things you did on the dance floor, then don’t do it.
That being said, don’t be afraid to have fun with it either. I’m a certified dance floor fiend, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to skip out on the best part of the reception. My tried-and-true approach is to not take myself too seriously. By that, I mean I’ll just dance like a fool so that I can have fun without being inappropriate. My co-workers love it, and I’m now notorious for busting out the best moves. Stick to the classics, like the sprinkler, the twist, the lawn mower, the running man, and even whipping your hair back and forth. It works every time.
Be Polite and Respectful
It doesn’t matter who the bride and groom are. If you’re attending a wedding, then you need to be polite and considerate of everyone, including that girl you’ve despised since freshman year. You most likely won’t know most of the people at your co-worker’s wedding, which is why it’s beyond important for you to be nice to everyone. That means no side eye, no complaining, and absolutely no rude comments. I don’t care how inappropriate you think some young girl’s dress is; she could be the groom’s little sister, so keep your opinions to yourself and smile at her instead.
Don’t Indulge Too Much in the Bar
By all means have a glass or two of wine, or whatever you want to drink. But don’t, under any circumstances, drink like a fish and walk around your co-worker’s wedding reception plastered. I’ve never met a professional, respectful drunk person in my life, so the chances of you pulling it off are minimal. The more you drink, the more likely you are to gossip about work, dance on the table, or pull the hot groomsman into a closet. You can do those things at your sister’s wedding, but not at your co-worker’s. The best rule to follow is a max of two alcoholic drinks with a large glass of water after each one.
Research Your Co-Worker’s Religious and Cultural Rules
Before you hit up this wedding, you need to know if there are any cultural or religious taboos. Heck, you need to know if the family is simply conservative. For example, if your co-worker is Vietnamese, it’s more traditional to simply give money instead of actual wedding gifts. If you’re not sure, then there’s no reason you can’t ask the bride or groom if there’s anything you need to know or be aware of. Whatever you do, just be prepared to avoid doing anything offensive.
Talk to People You Don’t Know
You’re attending one of the most important days in your co-worker’s life, so don’t sit on the fringes and only speak to the people you know. Mingle with the other guests. Introduce yourself to the other people at your dinner table. Don’t be afraid of saying that you know the bride or groom from work, and make sure to ask how the other person knows them. Weddings are social events, so you can be social—and hey, there’s nothing wrong with networking when you’re off duty.
Don’t Shut the Place Down…
The bride and groom want their guests to have a good time and stick around for the reception, but since you’re a co-worker and not family or a close friend, you don’t need to be the last guest at the reception. Honestly, it’s just a little weird. I mean, are you going to hug the happy couple goodbye as they head to their honeymoon? No, you’re not. The end of the reception is a time for the bride and groom to talk with their family members before they leave for some alone time. You don’t need to be in the middle of all that. Stay a respectable amount of time for the reception, eat some cake, dance a little bit, and then say goodbye when all the other non-crucial guests begin to leave.
…but Don’t Peace Out Too Early, Either
There’s a window of time for you to leave. If you leave too late it’s inconsiderate, but if you leave too early it’s tacky. For the sake of all things polite, don’t go to the reception, scarf down a mountain of food, and then bounce. That’s rude, and everyone will notice. You need to be around for the traditional reception events, like the cake cutting, first dance, and bouquet toss. Typically, the bride and groom complete all of this pretty quick because they know everyone wants to hit the dance floor and they understand not everyone can stay for hours. Once those things are done, you can leave. Just make sure you congratulate the couple and thank them for inviting you before walking out.