Biggest mistakes that wedding guests make

July 26, 2007

In the course of wedding planning, you may know the ins and outs of wedding etiquette, but some of your friends and family may not be aware of what’s acceptable. What can you do? Be proactive. Here’s how.

1. Not Sending RSVPs

What they did: Anyone who’s ever planned a wedding knows the importance of a punctual RSVP — from plotting your seating chart to giving the caterer a final headcount, it’s hard to proceed without a firm grasp of who’s coming. Unfortunately, some of your guests may treat the RSVP as a novelty rather than a necessity.

How to deal: Give it a week. After that, it’s time to give them a call. Recruit your maid of honor to help you with phone duties if you’re really struggling with missing RSVPs. Or, better yet, send out a group email (use a blind CC) saying that you need to know by [insert deadline] if they’re planning on attending. Keep the tone nice, but firm. Then, you only have to call those who don’t reply to the email (which really is a double-duty foul).

2. Sending RSVPs With Extra Guests

What they did: The good news is that the guest has returned the RSVP. The bad news is that she’d love to attend. . .with a person you never invited — maybe never heard of. Whether she believes every invite bestows the right to bring a date, or a child, adding a name on the RSVP puts everyone in an awkward position.

How to deal: To avoid potential hurt feelings, you need to establish a no-exceptions guest list policy (significant others only if engaged; no children under 18). Then, call the misguided guest to explain the circumstances. Apologize for the misunderstanding, and tell her that unfortunately the limitations (a small reception space or a tight budget) require a strict guest list. The person most likely didn’t intend to thwart your list with the addition of another guest, and will gladly come to the wedding solo.

3. Bombarding the Bride

What they did: As soon as they received the invite to your wedding, the phone calls began. Guests are treating you like their personal concierge, with questions about transportation, accommodations, and fun things to do while they’re in town.

How to deal: Make sure every guest has all the info they need by creating a wedding website. Include a link to the hotel where you’ve reserved a block of rooms, local museums and restaurants, and driving directions. Put together a welcome basket for out-of-towners with the weekend’s itinerary, so that no one feels the need to ask you about the wedding game plan.

4. Buying a Non-registry Gift

What they did: Some guests feel that buying a present from the registry is impersonal. Instead, they go and purchase a gift with a little more — er, imagination.

How to deal: Shopping off the registry can result in a pleasant surprise, or leave a couple cringing. You cannot, however, be anything but gracious for any gift you’re given. If someone has eschewed the registry and bought you a present you know you won’t use (or, even worse, they’ve given you a gift you know you’ll have to hide), check whether they sent it with the receipt. If so, they may have realized their gift might not be your style, and it’s fine to return the present. Otherwise, write a thank-you note for the thoughtful gesture, and keep the gift for as long as you can stand having it around.

5. Showing Up Late

What they did: You know how some people show up late to movies because they know there will be 20 minutes of trailers? Some guests may have a similar notion for your ceremony. We know one maid of honor who saw a late guest stroll in directly behind the bride as she walked down the aisle with her father!

How to deal: For those who are really late, ask an usher or your day-of coordinator to hang out near the rear of the ceremony site so they can make sure your processional goes undisturbed, and to have them help any late guest quickly and quietly find a seat.

6. Bringing a Big, Heavy Gift

What they did: It doesn’t sound so bad: Someone brought a huge gift to the wedding. While you really can’t complain about receiving presents at your reception — or, at all for that matter — it can be a pain to lug them home.

How to deal: Ask one of your attendants to store all the gifts in one place — preferably a locked, separate room in your reception space — so that nothing gets left behind. At the end of the evening, that attendant can account for all the gifts and then take them to the most convenient location (probably your home rather than your honeymoon suite).

7. Drinking Too Much

What they did: A few too many signature cocktails turned one of your guests from the life of the party into a bit of a mess.

How to deal: While it’s not your responsibility to babysit your guests, you can’t turn a blind eye to someone who’s had way too much to drink. If there’s any risk that the guest will try to drive, ask your planner, a responsible attendant, friend, or family member to call a cab, and to make sure they take the ride. It’s not much fun to send someone home early, but making sure everyone gets home safely is incredibly important.

(Taken from www.theknot.com)


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