Etiquette Emergency 1/30/14

author , posted in Etiquette/Support
CELEBRATION SEATING Q: We’re considering hosting a reception with hors d'oeuvres, drinks and dancing. What kind/how much seating and tables do I need to have for an event without a sit-down dinner?A: For a cocktail type party, the idea is to keep people mingling and circulating (possibly even dancing).... read more

CELEBRATION SEATING
Q: We’re considering hosting a reception with hors d’oeuvres, drinks and dancing. What kind/how much seating and tables do I need to have for an event without a sit-down dinner?

A: For a cocktail type party, the idea is to keep people mingling and circulating (possibly even dancing). A good guideline would be to have seating for just less than a third of your guests. If your venue has the option, some low 4-person tables with chairs along with some high-tops without chairs. However before you make a decision; you will need to do a solid demographic analysis of your particular guests. If 90% of your guests are under 30, fabulous, the fewer the chairs the better. However if 50% of your guests are 50 and above, then more seating will be required. Also try to keep in mind perchers, those guests who try to use their coats or purses to “save” the chairs. Consider having a coat-check so that guests have a safe place to store their belongings.

 

INVITATIONS: TO SEND OR NOT TO SEND…
Q: If I know ahead of time that a guest will not be attending the wedding, do I still send them an invitation?

A: Life is funny, plans change and obligations shift. If this person is important enough to have made your guest list, you should send the invitation.

 

SHOWER FOR THE BASHFUL BRIDE
Q: I’ve been on the fence about my bridal shower. I guess you could call me a bashful bride since attention is not my thing. I’ve also been living with my fiancé for a few years and we have most of the things we need for our home. After close family and friends have insisted that they need to “shower” me… I’ve decided on a very small and intimate gathering. How do I put this gently to wedding guests that inquire about a shower who are not invited to this very small affair?

A: Remember, showers serve multiple purposes. Of course, they allow guests to shower the bride with gifts. But they also allow the bride and groom’s families to interact, cousins to catch up, and friendships to form which makes the reception more fun for everyone. If you still prefer to have only a small shower, then that is your answer. It is never easy to tell someone bold enough to ask that they were not invited. Make it quick and then focus on the time you will be spending together. “Oh, you are so sweet to ask. Billy and I already have a fully stocked home so our shower will be really small, if we have one at all. I am just so excited about the wedding and we look forward to seeing you there.”

 

INCLUDING INLAWS
Q: My fiancé and I are paying for our wedding ourselves and are working with a very small budget. Though we are making choices to fit a small budget, we are making sure to include all things that are very important to us, using creative and alternative ideas to make the day unique and personal. My fiancés mother, however, is very set on traditional ideas and thinks we are “nickel & dime-ing” everything and has expressed her worry that we will regret all of our decisions. We are very excited about our choices and know we would regret straying from the things we really want. We’ve been crushed a number of times when we’ve expressed plans that we are really excited about and are met with a scowl, disapproving look or a flat out “I don’t like that”… We don’t want to hurt her feelings or offend her but she is bringing us down. Help!

A: You are so busy planning that it is hard for you to see how sad your future mother-in-law is about being excluded. This is a woman who raised the man you love. Who did midnight feedings, dressed him for his first day of kindergarten, kissed his boo-boos when he fell, cheered his triumphs and softened his heartaches. Now, for this next major milestone of his life, she is being treated as a guest. Choose something, a rehearsal dinner, the flowers, the band, wedding favors…something that she can help you plan. She may even be willing to help with the budget too, making including her a win-win for everyone. You are building a relationship with your MIL that will last a lifetime. Choose to be kind, it is the best wedding gift you can give your husband. Good luck.

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Jodi R. R. Smith is a nationally known etiquette expert and author. She is the president of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting. You are invited to email her your etiquette emergencies at Salem@Mannersmith.com

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