Is It Okay to Network at a Wedding?

is it ok to network at a wedding

This post is a 3 minute read.

Wedding season is in full swing. If you’re like me, you’ve probably been collecting a small stack of unique and beautiful wedding invitations over the past year and safely securing each masterpiece to your refrigerator. Have you ever considered that one of these invitations could be a golden ticket to your next career move?

I recently attended a beautiful wedding of a dear friend which took place in a small rural town in Ohio. While sitting at a table during the lunch break, people filled the seats around me and made introductions. I quickly recognized that I was seated at a table full of brilliant and accomplished individuals from around the world. Acknowledging the unique situation, I asked myself, "Is it okay to network at a wedding?" My first instinct said no. Weddings are for dancing, drinking and frivolity, not for handing out business cards. I picked up my lemonade and complimented the woman next to me on her dress. After a brief conversation, I discovered the woman is a NY Times bestselling author. I imagine she has taken every opportunity to tell her story and connect with people who could help advance her career. Inspired, my second instinct suddenly chimed in and said, “Carpe diem, it’s time to network.”

Networking is about seizing opportunities when they present themselves. Weddings are a time of celebration and you can use this positive energy to make meaningful connections. So, what is networking, really? Here are three things I’ve learned about networking from this experience:

Networking IS social

There’s a reason why some of our most prized possessions are called “social networks.” We enjoy sharing the things we value with others. We’re actually constantly networking. Why did you recently post a photo of you and your dog at the beach on Instagram? You want to share your interests, get those likes, and most importantly, create positive connections.  

Expect the unexpected

I’ve read my fair share of choose-your-own-adventure books. My 10-year-old self was always concerned that my favorite character would get lost in the woods, which is why I always had a disaster plan brewing up in my mind. The moment option A got out of control, I would flip back in the book and choose option B. It’s helpful to approach networking with a more open mind than what my 10-year-old self would have done. While you may focus on building your professional network with intent, remember to be spontaneous and receptive when connecting with people. You may unexpectedly cross paths with someone who can help your career when you least expect it.

Seize the opportunity

While scrolling through LinkedIn recently, I came across a post featuring a quote by Julie Andrews, the iconic actress who portrayed Mary Poppins in the hit 1964 film by the same name, that resonated with me: “Sometimes opportunities float right past your nose. It is important that you work hard, apply yourself, and always be ready so that when an opportunity comes you can grab it.” In my mind I hear the voice of Mary Poppins sweetly delivering this sage advice. I think the message is poignant and important to remember.

Wedding season is a time to celebrate love and make new bonds. Is it okay to network at a wedding? Emphatically yes! Embrace every opportunity to make new connections, build relationships and expand your network. Carpe diem.

This is a guest post by Jaimie Asakawa, member of the Metro EDGE Communications Committee. She’s enjoying wedding season as August takes her to a wedding at Donner Lake in Tahoe which she anticipates will be a blast.