February 05, 2009
How to be a good wedding guest
Orland Park Etiquette instructor Bette Schieber has some advice for any wedding guest to follow.
"You always want to be invited back," Schieber said. "The best guest is usually the one who's almost invisible."
But before the guests slip seamlessly into the party scene, there are some crucial guidelines that each should follow.
1. When should I RSVP? RSVP immediately — or at least, by the deadline. Once you receive the invitation, RSVP in a timely fashion so the bride and groom can plan accordingly.
2. Can I bring a guest? Respect the invitation. If the invite is not addressed to the entire family, or if it requests no children attend, do not call and ask to bring children. If you were invited without a guest, the bride and groom are under no obligation to make an exception. Do not impose upon the host or hostess.
3. What about a gift? Send a gift either way. If you decide to decline the invitation, remember you still matter enough to have received one. Send a gift in your stead.
4. All these showers! How many is too many? And when do I bring gifts? Engagement party, couple shower, bridal shower. All are common nowadays. Gifts are only required in a case of the bridal or couple shower. If someone chooses to bring a gift to an engagement party, it is generally given to the bride. No one is invited to more than one shower. If you attend both the engagement party and a shower, and choose to bring a gift to the engagement party, you are still expected to bring a gift to the shower. Shower gifts are meant for the couple, to help them set up their home.
5. What's a proper wedding gift? I've heard the rule of thumb that any monetary gift should pay for my meal at the reception. The size of your gift should be proportionate to your relationship with the bride and groom. The idea of the gift paying for the meal is a myth. You are invited as a guest and the couple does not expect you to pay for your meal.
6. Can I let loose at a wedding? You are a guest and should be on your best behavior. Be on time and dress appropriately. Help the party along by mingling, talking, enjoying drinks and dancing. Create enjoyable conversation.
7. What if I don't like the food? Tough luck. As a guest, you have a responsibility to accept the terms of the invitation and party as offered. If you leave hungry, stop for a snack on the way home.
8. Do I have to explain why I can't come? If you can't attend, you can't attend. No explanation is necessary.