What do I, the guest, expect?

Online Users: 1,297 guest(s), 0 user(s). Replies: 158


auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
What do I, the guest, expect?
Posted: Aug 14, 2008 5:56 PM

Ladies,

There has been some talk about what a guest expects, particularly on the thread about handwritten invitation envelopes. It occured to me to ennumerate what a guest expects from a considerate wedding host:

-I expect the invitation to arrive early enough to clear my calendar. (Sure there are execeptions. Deployment? Family illness? Sometimes there's little warning.)

-Yes, I would like to see my own name and address handwritten on the envelope. I totally expect my own name to be spelled correctly, with proper titles. (We are Dr Homer Simpson and Ms Marge Bouvier.)


-I want enough info in the invitation to know where I'm supposed to be, when, and how to dress. I went to a wedding last month that was billed as being at a hotel. I figured it would be indoors in the air conditioning. Wrong. It was outdoors, in the direct sunlight at 3:00 pm. Had they put "garden wedding" or something similar, I would have worn a wide brimmed hat and slapped sunblock on my exposed arms. Holy Frijole, was I ever uncomfortable sitting there in the sun.


-I want to know if I should expect to feed myself ahead of time, or make arrangements for a hearty meal following a "cocktail" reception.


-I don't want to be directed to a gift registry or told to give cash. If I want to know, I'll ask.


-I expect the wedding to start on time. The only excuse for a late start is the (1) bride (2) groom or (3) officiant not being there. I see no reason why 250 people have to sit there waiting for Always Late Cousin Patty. Patty can just miss the start, or even the entire ceremony, if she can't haul her sorry ass there on time.


-I expect a moderate amount of time between the end of the ceremony and the beginning of the reception, and I expect a comfortable place to wait/schmooze while waiting.


-I expect refreshments appropriate to the time of day, and indication on the invitation as to what to expect.


-I expect to have a few moments to greet and congratulate the couple.


-I expect a prompt thank you note, hand written by either the bride or the groom.

So long as those things are met, anything goes. I'm OK with an ultra-formal wedding in a cathedral, or a ceremony in a national park, with the guests in hiking clothes and sneakers. I'm OK with an invitation printed on a balloon. I'm OK with a large dance band, a DJ or iPod music with speakers. I'm OK with cake and punch, or $100/plate lobster.

I just don't like the idea of not being dressed appropriately/uncomfortably, being made to wait unnecessarily or not getting thanked for a gift.

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B2B999 Posts : 700 Registered: 12/7/07
Re: What do I, the guest, expect?
Posted: Aug 14, 2008 6:22 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

I was actually thinking something along the same lines the other day, as I attended a lovely wedding this past Saturday. 

I am a younger individual but let me say I am a bit annoyed that no one uses my title when addressing things to me. I worked hard for that title, they all are aware that I have the title, things addressed to me should utilize it. 


When is my wedding

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: What do I, the guest, expect?
Posted: Aug 14, 2008 6:49 PM Go to message in response to: B2B999

Dear B2B,

Are you a PhD or MD?

A good way to gently let people know that you expect them to use your title is to put that on your return address stickers.

Here's a little etiquette tip. It is rude to "give yourself a title". You can, however, indicate your status with suffixes. Queen Elizabeth II, after all, does not sign her name as "Queen Elizabeth", but instead as "Elizabeth R" where 'R' is short for Regina, the Latin word for queen. Elizabeth does not precede her own name in her own signature with any title.

Thus, get stickers that say:

Marge Bouvier, MD
or
Marge Bouvier, PhD

Or something similar. Then hope people get the hint that they should address you as Dr Marge Bouvier.

Confide in your mother and let her spread the word. Moms are proud of high-acheiving daughters. She can brag about you as she corrects people.

"Oh, the other day Marge was telling me that she gets mail without her proper title. I wish people would realize that Dr Marge  Bouvier is how she should be addressed."

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MisterKelley Posts : 258 Registered: 7/11/08
Re: What do I, the guest, expect?
Posted: Aug 14, 2008 6:59 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

Well Aunt of the bride, If you are a guest at a wedding, the first thing that needs to happen is you need to arrive at the ceremony without the stick up your @ss. The next thing is to STFU and enjoy the results that the bride and a number of other poeple have planned, stressed and fussed over for many many months. You see, While you might like to feel that you as a guest are the most important human being on the planet at that particular moment, I assure you that you really don't count, sorry to break that to you. If the bride wants to wait for always late Cousin Patty, maybe there's a good reason for it, like she's in a wheelchair after donating a kidney. If I decide not to handwrite in Perfect Caligraphy - Mr. and Mrs. Corksniffer, I'm not going to lose sleep over whether or not you approve. You see, being invited to a wedding means that someone thought highly enough of you to include you in the most important day in their lives, don't F**k it up by interjecting  an opinion noone cares about. You're ok with a DJ? Well wow! thank god, what a relief, that's a load of stress off my back knowing you approve of the entertainment. Seriously, most invitrations have enough information for you to know what's going to happen, what the meal choices are and what the setting for the ceremony is, if you've gotten invitations which did not specify those things, then you have stupid relatives/friends.  In the end, remember, there's no "Guest Bill of Rights" You're getting a free meal and a party and the chance to see people you may not see very often. If that's not good enough - stay the hell home!

Love - MisterKelley

MisterKelley says - An idiot is a terrible thing to waste.


EMT - I'm not here to save your life, just prolong your miserable existence

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: What do I, the guest, expect?
Posted: Aug 14, 2008 7:03 PM Go to message in response to: MisterKelley

Dear Mister Kelley,

"planned, stressed and fussed over for many many months"

If they've planned, stressed and fussed then why are things going wrong?

I am too polite to say anything to the HC or their families. I do, however, think it in the privacy of my own mind.

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TanisJ Posts : 2,669 Registered: 4/25/07
Re: What do I, the guest, expect?
Posted: Aug 14, 2008 7:17 PM Go to message in response to: MisterKelley

Hallejula Kelley, you know how all events go perfectly!

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MisterKelley Posts : 258 Registered: 7/11/08
Re: What do I, the guest, expect?
Posted: Aug 14, 2008 8:03 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

Um!! Earth to Aunt of the Bride - Things go wrong no matter how well you've planned, no matter how much attention to detail a couple has paid. You can't be so myopic that you do not understand this. To quote a line from one of my Favorite movies - The American President - The view is pretty good from the cheap seats isn't it? - (Why do people use movie quotes to make a point? pisses me off) anyhoo, When you say you're too polite to say anything to the HC and yet you think in your mind about things you don't approve of - that's not called polite, that's being two faced, And that's not good etiquette.


EMT - I'm not here to save your life, just prolong your miserable existence

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brix24 Posts : 165 Registered: 8/3/08
Re: What do I, the guest, expect?
Posted: Aug 14, 2008 8:45 PM Go to message in response to: MisterKelley

Goodness me - we don't have to agree on everything but you could be a bit kinder with your repsonse?

I thought AOTB raised some valid points that I shall take on board.


  

 free happiness with every moment!

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RanAway2Maine Posts : 2,359 Registered: 1/27/08
Re: What do I, the guest, expect?
Posted: Aug 14, 2008 8:48 PM Go to message in response to: brix24

brix-

I'm sort of confused, too. I personally think this is very disrespectful to Aunt.  I know there's a Mister Kelly Advice column, which is great, but I think it should stay there.

It's confusing to those that do not know what's going on, especially to the new member. I have a lot of respect for Aunt and this comes off as extremely degrading, joking or not. 

Linda Jo and Dean-July 19, 2008


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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: What do I, the guest, expect?
Posted: Aug 14, 2008 9:06 PM Go to message in response to: MisterKelley

Dear Mister KelleyLynn,

"Things go wrong no matter how well you've planned, no matter how much attention to detail a couple has paid."

Machine-printing an invitation address is not some last-minute glitch. It is a conscious decision by the couple to save themselves the trouble of writing invitation addresses. And, no, you don't have to have perfect calligraphy. If your own handwriting is, like mine, poor, then carefully print or ask a favor-owing friend for help.

Not giving the invited guest proper info on the invitation so they can find the place and come dressed appropriately is not some last-minute glitch. Enclosing a note that says "Give us cash" is not some last-minute glitch.

There are acceptable ways to handle an unexpected delay.

"Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention? Some of you might know there was a fatal accident on I-95 and several guests are still stuck in a massive traffic jam. We have decided to wait about a half hour, then get started at 4:30."

That's fine. I am no longer trapped in my seat, expecting the wedding to start momentarily. I can get up, move around, get a drink of water, go to the restroom.

The airlines do just that when a flight is delayed. Seems to me a polite couple and their officiant could do the same.

" that's not called polite, that's being two faced, And that's not good etiquette. "

Being two-faced is exactly good etiquette. I am responding to you civilly, even though I personally think you are a horse's ass.

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Bride2008 Posts : 3,058 Registered: 3/28/06
Re: What do I, the guest, expect?
Posted: Aug 14, 2008 9:11 PM Go to message in response to: RanAway2Maine

If AOTB is allowed to post her thought on what she expects as a guest, anyone on the boards should be allowed to post their thoughts in response.

 

"I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." - Billy Crystal, When Harry met Sally 

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Fitzer Posts : 643 Registered: 8/7/07
Re: What do I, the guest, expect?
Posted: Aug 14, 2008 9:30 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

Actually, I agree with all of aunt's points.  The brusque manner, it puts people off, but everything listed here makes sense and honestly, most of them come from general etiquette, that isn't even necessarily wedding related.

I guess I'm not sure what points here are so offensive?  That you should indicate food/eating?  That makes sense, for any event I'm invited to, from the most informal BBQ to girls' night out, I like to know whether I should eat before or come with an appetite. 

That the event should start on time?  Well, on that one, I'm flexible but not a pushover.  It's impossible to hit a time exactly on the head (hey, between my phone, watch and computer, apparently it's 3 different times right now!), and a few minutes won't kill anyone.  Always Late Cousin Patty - if she is important enough to necessitate stalling, you should make arrangements to get her there.  Have someone assigned to pick her up.  That's what I did with my "quirky" relatives and friends.  Assign them handlers.  Not tough.

Every guest deserves a hug and a hello.  I don't think anybody would disagree and say it's OK to let a guest go un-greeted.

You don't need to focus your wedding entirely on guests.  It is after all, above all, your wedding day.  It's not just a party, it's a ritual, and really, just about the only American rite of passage we have left.  So guests can wait while you dance a full song with your dad.  They can deal with a few tasteful toasts.  But they also deserve to feel comfortable and welcome. 


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Beachwed Posts : 782 Registered: 9/19/06
Re: What do I, the guest, expect?
Posted: Aug 14, 2008 9:36 PM Go to message in response to: Bride2008

That was a really rude response though, AOTB had really valid points. OK I don't necessarily agree with everything (I didn't hand write our invitation envelopes, I explained this in a different post) but yes, if you write "Wedding at X location" without indicating that it will be outside on the beach, guests will assume it will be in an air conditioned location and dress for that. It's not that hard to say "It will be outdoors, dress accordingly" (we did this for our wedding)

Same with if there won't be any sort of food, that is perfectly fine, or if it's a dessert reception, great. But I do agree with AOTB, just let people know so that they can plan to eat ahead of time.

Yes, people can post whatever they want, but there's a common courtesy in the way that people respond, mister kelley was a bit rude in his response.

She listed things that are really common courtesy, not a big deal.

 

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TanisJ Posts : 2,669 Registered: 4/25/07
Re: What do I, the guest, expect?
Posted: Aug 14, 2008 9:41 PM Go to message in response to: Fitzer

It's not just a party, it's a ritual, and really, just about the only American rite of passage we have left. 

Fitzner not picking on you, because generally I think you are cool and I don't think that comment particularly offensive, but brides.com while may being hosted by an american website is not "American" so sometimes there are different opinions so as a Non-American some of the things I read here are absolutely bafling to me. As a guest I expect to see some sort of ceremony, whether it is Christian, Catholic, Buddhist, Chinese, or East indian (all of which I have attended) I expect everything to be different. I dont care about labels or such things. I hope I can fit in somewhat and I know my hosts, regardless of culture or religion appreciate whenever I have done my most to fit in. This whole "having do to things perfectly" is so foreign to me, any weddings I would attend, and my own guests its just weird to contemplate my guests would think I was disrespecting them over a label.

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Fitzer Posts : 643 Registered: 8/7/07
Re: What do I, the guest, expect?
Posted: Aug 14, 2008 9:47 PM Go to message in response to: TanisJ

Sorry!  That makes sense, I didn't think about it that way.  Where I was coming from is my own experience, which is that my wedding was kind of my one shot, formal ceremony/ritual of my life.  Not being religious or of any ethnicity other than white/European mix, I've never had a communion, confirmation, bah mitzvah, etc.  So for me, and many, a wedding is the only rite of passage I get.

My point was, this isn't just a party, it's a special event with special, ceremonial meaning.  If some of my pageantry/ceremony/etc gets in the way of your (guest's) perfect evening, deal with it.

Sorry for the confusion, I did not in any way mean to imply a wedding NEEDS to be American.


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