Whether you are part of the entourage or not, weddings are always beautiful and wonderful, from the ceremony all the way to the reception. Aside from weddings being wonderful and joyous celebrations of love, weddings also sometimes end up being mini-reunions, especially if you have friends in common. Of course, there are some occasions in which you might not no anyone there at all save for one or two people. Nevertheless, for a high functioning autistic, preparing to attend a wedding and even attending the wedding itself can cause a lot of anxiety and nervousness- especially when you think of how much you also have to prepare as a guest, the anxiety of being social, and the sensory stimulation you might receive during the day itself. However, just like any situation, these things can be survived if you know what to do, and thanks to a recent wedding I attended, I have come up with a few tips that might help you before, during and after the event.
Any social experience for a high functioning autistic will be difficult, as it poses its own anxieties and challenges for us. However, at the same time, we do want to make sure that we are at our best, because we wouldn’t want to ruin our friend’s special day, and as we would also want to enjoy the experience as well. Because of this, I came up with a list of things that might help you have a great experience at a wedding as a guest.
1. RSVP Right Away- Once you get the invite, and as soon as you know your availability for the wedding, you should RSVP right away. This will help prevent you from forgetting to RSVP or doing it at the last minute.
2. Research and Get Pegs For Your Attire & Make-Up- First off, you should follow the prescribed attire in the invitation, as you should respect the couple’s wishes. Secondly, you should definitely research and get pegs for your attire and make-up. This will help you have an easier time when you actually go shopping for your dress or suit; and for women, researching make-up pegs will help you figure out your make-up for the day.
3. Buy Your Suit or Dress One Month Ahead- More often than not, shopping isn’t really an experience that most high functioning autistics enjoy as we often get over stimulated at the mall. Doing your research will definitely help you make the shopping process be easier, and give yourself some time, maybe two weekends or so, to hunt for what you’ll wear, so that you can be sure that you won’t be too overstimulated and that you made the right choice.
4.Buy The Gift At Least One Month Ahead- Buying the wedding gift, or at least, figuring out what gift you’ll give them a month ahead will definitely give you enough time to do some research, look at the registry, buy the gift and have it wrapped, without you panicking about it.
5.Have A Dress Rehearsal For Yourself- This means that you should try on all the elements of your attire a few days or at least a week before the wedding. Doing this will allow you to see how everything will look on you, and will allow you to see if there’s anything that needs to be changed or fixed. For women, this also means that you should also try on your make-up as well; and practice wearing those heels, if you are not in the habit of wearing them often. Trying on your make-up will definitely help, as this will allow you to do some experimentation before the actual day itself.
6.Get A Lot of Rest The Night Before- Regardless of what time the wedding ceremony and the reception is, you should get a good night’s rest the day before the event. As a rule, you should get a good night’s rest ESPECIALLY the night before any event. You know that the event of the next day will exhaust you, so to truly enjoy the experience, be well rested.
7. Fix Your Schedule To Give Enough Time For Everything & So You Can Be There Early- It is good etiquette for you to be at the wedding venue at least thirty minutes beforehand. This will also give you some time to mingle a little bit before going to your seat before the wedding ceremony starts. Also, you should fix your schedule on that day so that you will have enough time to get ready without panicking, and still be there early.
8.Practice Small Talk & Come Up With Some Small Talk Topics for Socialization- This actually holds true for any social event, not just weddings. As you are bound to meet new people, and engage in conversation with people that you know and don’t know, it’s good to have some small talk topics tucked away in your brain. This will allow for conversations to start smoothly, and it will save you several moments of you awkwardly standing there trying to figure out how to start a conversation or what you should say next.
9.Engage in Small Talk w/Those At Your Table- Regardless of whether you come with a plus one or not, you should socialize by engaging those with you at your table with some small talk. This also goes whether or not you do know the people with you or not. It will definitely allow you to socialize and if you don’t know who you are with, I guarantee that you’ll be able to meet some interesting new people if you do so.
10. Allow Yourself Some Time to Recharge & Get A Lot of Sleep When You Go Home- During the event itself, if there are moments in which you are beginning to feel exhausted already or if you feel tired and it is too early for you to go home, get some fresh air outside the venue or have a short bathroom break to allow to recharge a bit. Also, when you get home, give yourself some time to relax, recharge and unwind; and make sure that you get a good night’s rest as you will need to recover from all the socializing, and all the stimulation you received during the event. You still feel a little bit tired the day afterwards, so don’t hesitate to also make sure that you take it easy for a bit as well if you are still feeling a bit tired from the event.
And those are all of my tips on how to prepare and attend a wedding as a guest!
What do you think of this list? Do you have anything to add? How are your own experiences attending weddings? Let me know in the comments below!