Top 10 Guest Questions

All the answers to your toughest etiquette dilemmas

1. If the invitation is addressed to my husband and me, can we bring our kids?
Children under 18 aren't listed on the outer envelope; if they're invited to the wedding, their names will appear on the inner envelope, along with their parents'. If the inner envelope lists only your name and your husband's, leave the kids at home. (If the couple doesn't use an inner envelope, all names of those invited are written on the outer envelope.)

2. I can't make it to the wedding. Do I have to send a gift?
You don't have to send one (although a card is a nice gesture), but if you feel especially close to the couple, it's a lovely way to celebrate their marriage. Alternatively, take them to dinner after the honeymoon.

3. The response card doesn't list a choice of meals. I'm a vegetarian—should I pencil that in on the card?
Put down the pencil. If there's no choice of meals, there might be food stations or a buffet (all of which will have meat-free choices). If it's a seated meal and you aren't asked which entree you'd prefer (highly unlikely), simply let your waiter know: Most caterers have a pasta or vegetable plate on hand. Anyone on a superstrict diet (like gluten-free or kosher) should eat ahead of time or make do with what's offered.

4. If there are two of us attending the wedding, do we have to double the amount of the gift?
Nope. Though it's customary and pretty much expected, a gift isn't the price of admission to the wedding. Choose a gift that would be meaningful and reflect your relationship with the couple—and that you can comfortably afford. For example, if you like to get together for Sunday brunch, you could buy a coffeemaker from the registry and pair it with gourmet beans and a set of mugs.

5. Can anyone stand up and make a toast?
Not unless they're asked. Only those who've been approached ahead of time should stand up to speak, since multiple interruptions will disrupt the flow of the evening.

6. How late can I cancel? I may have to work that day.
Decide for sure if you'll attend before you RSVP. If a conflict arises after you send in your response, notify the bride immediately; she probably has until a week before the wedding to give her caterer a head count, and nobody likes paying for a meal no one's there to eat. If an eleventh-hour emergency (like the flu) prevents you from going, call the maid of honor, not the bride.

7. What's the earliest we can leave the reception?
It's fine to leave after the cake-cutting (it's considered bad luck not to take at least one bite!). If the bride's parents have hosted the event, find one of them and say thanks personally before you head out.

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