Wedding Guest Etiquette

Northwest Pearls: Wedding Guest Etiquette


As wedding season comes upon us, here's a few little etiquette rules that I try to follow:

RSVP. It's incredibly inconsiderate to not reply, even if you're not planning on going. If you know whether or not you're going to attend, then RSVP.

RSVP ASAP. The couple is probably stressing out about wedding stuff so waiting until the last minute to RSVP isn't very nice. Not everyone has an RSVP date on their invitations, but you should try to RSVP as soon as you can.

Buy a gift. This is a rule that I think may have gotten lost in translation for younger generations (or maybe it's just people that I know in the Northwest), but if you are invited, you should get the couple a gift.

Send the gift before the wedding.

Don't show up with an extra person or two if they haven't been invited. The couple has a head-count for the caterer and if they wanted you to bring the person you've been dating or your children, they would have specified and it would be okay. But if they haven't said "and guest" or listed your children's names, then you shouldn't bring them.

And here's a little tip:

When invited, since you're going to get them a gift, buy them something early. That way, if you're buying from the registry, you have many options to choose from.

You can check out more wedding etiquette from Emily Post.

Is there anything you'd add to the list?

A Few Reminders

Some reminders for us all, myself included, to remember in our daily lives:

  1. It's polite to wait until everyone has been served to start eating.
  2. Similarly, it is polite to wait until everyone has sat down to start eating. (Probably not going to happen at a college cafeteria, but out with friends, or at someone's house? You should wait.)
  3. Your napkin goes in your lap before you start eating. I've noticed that my mom, aunt, and grandmother do it automatically when they sit down. I usually forget until I'm about to be served.
  4. "Excuse me" is nice to say when you need to get around someone/walk in front of them at the grocery store.
  5. Thank you cards are so rare nowadays, that writing one makes you that much more impressive.
  6. Sit up straight.
  7. Don't talk with food in your mouth. We all do it. Let's try not to.
  8. Try not to interrupt.
  9. Cover your mouth when yawning.
  10. Say 'please,' 'thank you,' 'ma'am,' 'miss,' and 'sir' more often. It shows respect.

(Thought through with the help of my wonderful mother, the daughter of a very Southern woman.)

Do you have any other suggestions for little manner reminders?

Thank You Cards

Thanking people for their time or for help or for their generosity is important. Before I left for college, I made sure that I had some thank you cards. But even with my thank-you cards, my birthday cards, and my monogrammed cards, I lacked just a plain thank you that would work for a certain occasion. I needed a card to thank a couple for letting my friends and I use their mountain cabin for a weekend. And I didn't have a plain thank you card that didn't look like summer. And because we went to the mountains, a summery card didn't work. And because all twelve of us wrote on the card, I didn't want it to be my monogram on the front.

Some cards like these would have been good for me to have on hand. As it was, I had to get a nice, plain card from a friend.

Thank You - Foil Many Thanks 50 Ct

Letterpress Thank You Cards

Thank You - Foil Silver Thanks 50 Ct

So just a little something to keep in mind. Plain thank you cards can be very useful (and pretty.)

Have you found any others that you've loved?

Some Lost Arts

I've been thinking lately how we've lost a lot of nice things in our desire to be quick and streamlined. And while there are times that these aren't possible, I think that there are some lost arts that we as a culture could benefit from. 1. Manners-I go to a school where everyone holds the door open for everyone else. And while there have been times when I've been in too big of a rush to hold the door open for the person five seconds behind me, I feel regret and hope that they don't hate me for not opening the door for them. But when I go to other places, I notice that not everyone does that, not everyone says "excuse me" or "sorry" and I think it's too bad. I try to say "excuse me" when I pass in-front of someone at the grocery story, and I appreciate it when someone says it to me. It shows regard for a stranger.

2. Civility- We live in an age where we can be anonymous online, or at least, talk to people we've never met. If you look in the comment section of pretty much anything you can see arguments and insults. We forget that these usernames that we're interacting with are people too. They woke up this morning, ate breakfast, ran off to work, maybe had a bad day, maybe their kids were sick, maybe they don't know where their next month's rent is going to come from, etc. And we insult them like we have a right to.

Everyone has the right to their own opinion, don't get me wrong. I believe in the right to free speech and while I do believe that everyone has the right to say what they want, even if it offends people, I do think that they should take more personal responsibility and think about what they are saying.

At the same time, just because you're insulted something someone else says, doesn't mean that they can't say it. Free speech is incredibly important and we should value it, even if horrible, ignorant things are said, the benefits to free speech are more than worth it.

3. Thank You Notes- There are lots of occasions to write thank you notes for. Gifts are one of them. And I know that it's not fun to write them, but it's best to write them all as soon as possible to get them in the mail. I've written thank you notes recently for gifts, internships, rides to events, hosts, and scholarships. And I've had a co-worker write me a thank you note for helping her with a campaign. It's nice to receive them and it's nice to send them knowing that it makes you stand out.

4. Conversation- Recently I bought a pair of shoes from Nordstrom. The salesperson was great. He asked me questions that were above and beyond your standard questions. He asked me what the shoes were for (my college graduation) where I went, what degree I was getting, what I wanted to go into, what my dress looked like, etc. He seemed genuinely interested in my life. Which makes him a good salesman. Last year I read a study that found that having a cell phone on a table lowered the quality of your conversation. It's something that I think about pretty much every time I put my phone on the table at breakfast, lunch, or dinner, when I'm eating with friends. I think we should put the phones away and focus on each other, ask each other meaningful questions, find out if there's anything big going on in their lives and how they feel about it and how you can help.

5. Cursive- Remember when your teachers told you that you would be using cursive for the rest of your life? Me too. As soon as I got into high school and wasn't required to use it, I quit using it. But lately I've been using it to write myself reminders and to-do lists. It makes things look prettier and it makes it look like you put more effort into it. When I was writing my scholarship thank you letter, I wrote it all in cursive on my monogrammed stationery. They would have taken it emailed to them, but because this person had donated money that had been awarded to me, I wanted to put effort into my thank you. I wanted them to know how I valued it and I wanted them to keep on donating to future students.

Are there any other lost arts that you can think of?