Bad Etiquette

…In The Least Rude Way Possible.

In weddings, and in life in general, there are about a million faux pas and etiquette no-no’s. So many rules and so many ways to break them.

I’m not a huge traditionalist, but I am pretty set on not being an asshole when I can avoid it. But the truth is that everyone’s going to make a mistake at some point in their life.

So when things come up, and you’re put in a position where you’re going to be the one making a social blunder, there are ways to be “that person” in the best way possible.

Step One. Do everything in your power to avoid that social suicide thing that you’re thinking about doing. Step Two. Recognize that the thing you know you shouldn’t do but you’re doing anyways actually kind of makes you an asshole. Step Three. Scrutinize the situation until you figure out how to best rectify your faux pas, and come up with a plan b or consolation prize of sorts. Step Four. Apologize, grovel and follow through with whatever you promised you’d do to make up for it.  Step Five. Let it go, move on and stop making yourself feel bad.

So, do you have something particular going on that you’re stressing over? I thought so.

Here are some wedding-specific problems you might run into, and how to handle them.

Losing Your RSVP. So you know you got the wedding invitation, but where it scampered off to is beyond you. Handle It Best By: Asking a friend or family member that you know for sure was also invited, and ask them what kind of response card it was and if it had meal choices. Mail the couple a note with your response and any other information they had on requested on it, along with a hand written apology for misplacing their invite. Add your reason for losing it if it’s a good one, otherwise don’t and just say you’re sorry.

Changing Your RSVP To Yes. Plans changed and now all of a sudden you’re available for the nuptials, but you already sent in your regrets. Handle It Best By: Contacting the couple if it’s before the response date – that one isn’t really a big deal. If it’s after the reply date, call (don’t text) whomever in the relationship you are closer with.   Give them an easy out by leading with how you don’t expect them to cater to your schedule change, but if it doesn’t cause a problem you would love to come.   If it’s within a week of the wedding, don’t ask.

Changing Your RSVP To No. Listen, life happens. Sometimes things out of your control come up.   Handle It Best By: Giving as much notice as possible. The second you realize you aren’t going to make it get on the phone and let them know. If you’re important enough to be invited, they warrant an explanation as to why your RSVP changed. And it needs to be a good one.   It may seem like a minor infraction to you, but missing one of the most of important days of their life requires an exceptionally valid excuse, an abundance of apologies and a larger-than-usual wedding gift.

B List Invites. You have all of your response cards back, and you have some back-burner friends that you all of a sudden have room for. Handle It Best By: Being honest about what you’re doing; no one likes being deceived.   Don’t just send out a second round of invitations.   Have a conversation about what’s going on and if they’re receptive to you then you can give them a formal invitation and response card. I would lead with something like “we really wanted to give all of our family members a chance to come first, but with the location/travel/time of year, it looks like we have room to also include some of our close friends.” Blah, blah, butter them up type of thing.

Arriving Late. A wedding is a good time to arrive early. But, for whatever reason, your ETA is five minutes after the ceremony starts. Handle It Best By: Waiting in the wings until you can make a subtle entrance.   There will probably be an event coordinator of some sort around to tell you when you’re clear to slip in quietly. Sit in the first seat available and stay in the back. Entering a ceremony late, loud and as a distraction is not fashionable it’s rude. Be quiet and try to blend in. If you’re going to be really late, skip the ceremony and meet everyone at the reception. On the bright side, you’ll be the first one in line at the cocktail hour.

Thank You Notes. They’ve been out of sight and out of mind since the shower or wedding, so now they’re way late, or even worse, you waited so long that you don’t have a good record of who gave what anymore. Handle It Best By: Sending them out ASAP, even if they’re already way behind schedule. They don’t say better late than never for nothing. Not sure who gave what? Go with generic thank you notes, because that’s better than nothing at all. Make a list of VIPs, and make sure you write those people heart-felt notes, and maybe acknowledge your tardiness followed by some gushing over whatever they gave you. Most people can be won over with compliments, and now is a great time to try.

Ditching A Bach Party or Bridal Shower. For whatever reason, you just aren’t going to make it anymore. Handle It Best By: Speaking directly with the MOH or whoever is doing the party planning. Let them know what’s up, and be short and sweet. They have a lot on their plate already so tell them why you can’t make it and then let them get back to making their arrangements. If they prepaid for anything, make sure you pony up for your share. Send along or drop off your gift/contribution if you can, otherwise send it after the fact. It’s a forgivable expense if you cover your bases.   Send a quick apology to the bride, and if she gets mad, let her. It’ll pass and if you’re sincere with your apology it’ll blow over.

Low Budget Gifts. Cuz you’re poor and you can hardly afford your own groceries sometimes. Been there. Handle It Best By: Getting creative. Sometimes the best gifts are homemade. Look up some of the DIYs on Pinterest or handmade gifts on Etsy and see what you can get together on a budget. Small and meaningful doesn’t always equal expensive. If you find something meaningful that you know they’ll like, go that route. If you don’t, or it’s just not a couple that you feel comfortable giving a DIY gift to, wait it out. You technically have a year to send a gift. So if it’s just not a good time, you’re better off waiting/saving a month or two and sending after the fact.

Bridal Party Line Up Changes. Sometimes relationships and people change, and you have to adapt to reality. Best to get out of a sticky situation before your big day, instead of suffering through negative energy at your wedding. Handle It Best By: Ripping the band-aid off. Don’t make any hasty decisions, but if you and your future partner are on the same page about it and have given it some serious thought, go ahead and pull the plug on a toxic bridal party member.   Explain why you think it’s better if they’re a guest instead of a bridesmaid or groomsman, and make sure you still include them in things along the way to help soften the blow.  Whether they decide to participate going forward is on them. If they’re upset, let them be upset. If it’s best for you and your partner and your wedding experience, it’s the right choice. This too shall pass.

Love, Mrs. Newman