Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wedding Guests Etiquette 101

I have always been horrified by wedding guests who bring +1 or +2 or +N when the invitation is just bearing one name - his (or hers). It's just downright rude. Do you have any idea how reception costs?

Anyway, my post below is inspired by w@w's You're Invited! This is my own version of Wedding Guests Etiquette.

1. So you got an invite but can't or have no plans of attending what should you do?
Whether or not you can attend please, please, please, RSVP.
RSVP, btw, means "répondez, s'il vous plaît". Yes, it's French which literally means "Please respond".

Huge percentage of the wedding budget goes to the reception and it would be downright inconsiderate if you didn't inform the couple that you're not coming and have that portion of food that was alloted for you put to waste.
Now, if you really are attending you still need to RSVP. The couple can't read minds. They have to know you're attending because they need to finalize the number of guests and they need to do the sitting arrangement. Oh, and if you RSVP'd and didn't show up on the wedding day you better have a very valid reason. Or atleast, give the couple something to make up for that wasted "sit" that could have been given to another person in the couple's "wait list".

2. So what's the deal with the gift-giving. Should you still give gifts even if you're not attending?
If you're invited it's customary to give gifts and any decent, polite, self-respecting person should know this already. But it's not required. Your presence is the best gift you can give.

3. So you want to bring a "plus 1"? Just one extra guest won't hurt, right?
This is one of my wedding pet peeves.
Listen, if the couple really wants you to bring plus 1 you would see it on the invitation they sent you. If you don't see a "+1" use your common sense.
And don't you dare call the couple and ask "Can I please bring so and so?". Ofcourse the couple would say yes, because it would be awkward and impolite to say no. Plus you know how Filipinos are, we are not comfortable to turn down people.
Plus you're putting them on the spot where when they say no they would look stingy or inconsiderate.No couple deserves to be put on the spot like that. You on the other hand is being an ass (excuse the word) for even bringing that up.
And again, like I mentioned in #1. A huge chunk of the wedding budget goes to the reception. Do you have an idea how much caterers/reception venue charges per person? Please be considerate.

4. So you want to bring your kids or your nephews or nieces or neighbors kids.
One simple rule. If their name/s is not in the invitation you CAN'T bring them.
Secondly, usually the invitation would say something like "This is an adult only event" if children are not allowed, please respect that. Why? Most of the time wedding run late and alcohol are served and no children policy is actually for the children's best interest. Also, most of the times the equipment and furniture at the wedding are expensive and you wouldn't want to be responsible for anything the children may damage. By the way, what will you do if the children started wailing or started throwing tantrums? If that happens you will just upset the couple and all the other guests.
Now, if one of the kids is part of the entourage, ofcourse, you need to bring the kid with you. But, just that kid, not the other siblings.

5. So you don't know how to greet the couple while on the Receiving Line?
I'll quote Miss Benz on this (

"Here’s the rule: Say "Congratulations" to the groom and "Best Wishes" to the bride.
The reason behind is that "Congrats" implies that someone has caught something or won a prize, and it is rather improper to imply that the bride "caught" the man who married her.
If this rule gets mixed-up in your head come wedding day, just say the two phrases together and look at both of them. That usually works!
Likewise, saying "Good Luck!" no matter how pure your wishes are will also sound very inappropriate for obvious reasons."

Now, some of my friends in the U.S. thought its ridiculous to say that it's improper to say "Congrats" to the bride. They have been so accustomed to saying "Congrats" to brides that they thought that's the correct way. I got yelled at for being old-fashioned.
I'm sorry. I'm sure you're intentions are clean but I'm Filipino and in my country saying "Congratulations" to the bride is impolite. Deal with it.

6. So you don't know what gift to give the couple.
Fortunately, wedding/gift registries are common now so this won't be a problem anymore. And usually, couples have a wide variation  of items in their wedding registry wish list (cheap, medium priced, pricey) so there are a lot to choose from. If you're dilemma is you're embarassed to buy the cheap ones but couldn't afford the medium-priced items you'll never go wrong with just giving cash. Cash is most specially advisable if the couple would be living abroad since they won't be able to bring the physical items with them. But like I mentioned in #2, your presence can be the best gift you can give.

7. So you want to just go straight to the reception.
Unless you have a very valid reason to skip the ceremony please don't skip it. It's like saying to the couple "We don't care about your special ceremony, we just want to eat!"
Please don't get me started with because you're not a catholic or your atheist or druid or whatever. You don't have to do the sign of the cross or anything. You can just be present and be as quiet as you can be.
Just a little respect for the couple won't hurt, right?

8. So you want to know the banquet etiquette.
One rule. buffet doesn't mean eat-all-you-can. Be mindful of other poeple in line who have yet to be served. You can always go for seconds.

9. So but what about if it's a sit down dinner?
Just sitdown and relax. If you're not sure which fork or which knife to use first "observe". Just pretend to be enjoying the view and you're just looking around even if the truth is you are really just  watching how other people eat with finesse.

10. So you want to leave the reception right after you stuffed your mouth.
If it's a really valid reason, fine. But don't just disappear. Have the courtesy to say goodbye to the couple.
Now, if you have no valid reason you are not allowed to leave! I mean, c'mon, the couple have concocted a lot of different cool stuff to entertain/show the guests and that usually starts after the guests have finished eating and then you'll just leave?
It just shows how it really just the food that you came there for and not to celebrate with the couples happiness. Shame on you.


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