Bad Etiquette: How To Be The Worst

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

Gracious Gift Getting

Keeping It Classy During Your Wedding (And Life In General)

From the moment you get engaged through the first year of your marriage, you’ll be receiving gifts and presents as people start celebrating your newly formed partnership. It’s definitely a perk of the process, but it can be easy to take for granted; let’s be clear, you shouldn’t be getting married for the gifts/money/attention. You don’t want to end being that bride that everyone remembers as ungracious, ungrateful and self-centered.

Assuming you’re a good person, you’ll want everyone that is showering you with love, affection, and yes, presents to know how much you love and appreciate their attention during this special time in your life.

To start, lets tackle some of the basics.

  • Never assume you’re getting anything, ever. Even if you end up disappointed, you’ll still be the one that can hold your head high. Would be weird for someone to come to your wedding or shower and give nothing? Yes, very weird, and rude. But you don’t know if they have something else planned, possibly sent something in the mail, or where their head is at in general, and it’s not a good look to inquire about a gift. People with class and manners don’t call those out who don’t, because that would also be (even more) rude.
  • When you’re in a situation where you are opening presents in front of the gift giver, and especially with an audience, get your poker face on. Even if you receive something odd or not to your taste, the gift giver is most likely excited about it. Your initial reaction should always be gracious and appreciative. If you need to address a return, you can do it later in private (more on that later).
  • Always send thank you notes, and the quicker you can send them the better. Handwritten personalized notes are better than generic thank you’s that don’t specify what your thankful for. It will seem forced and disingenuous.

Unfortunately there are also quite a few scenarios that come up from time to time during their engagement and wedding that could leave even the sweetest bride in an awkward position, wondering what the right way to handle it is. We all want to be the best versions of our selves, so taking a step back to evaluate the most polite way to tackle a situation is always the right choice. Let’s talk about a few situations that could arise, and how to handle them like the classy lady that you are.

Getting Duplicates, Scenario One. If you get two of the exact same thing, then take one back to the store for store credit. You don’t even need to cop to it – you’re technically keeping the gift they gave you, and they’ll never be the wiser. Write your thank you note for the gift they gave, no need to explain that it was a duplicate. Even if it did somehow come up in the future, which it probably wont, a simple “we got two, so we were able to use store credit for one” is a completely acceptable reply.

Getting Duplicates, Scenario Two. If you get two of the same thing, but one is a newer/better/more expensive version, then take the other one back for store credit like you would in the first scenario. The difference here is that you should tell the truth in your thank you note. You should NOT point out that they gave you the cheaper or older version, but you should tell them that you received two coffee makers or two mixers, so you were able to use your store credit for an amazing new serving tray/toaster/ice bucket.   Keep it generic so you aren’t lying, but you aren’t pointing out that someone gave you a better version of the same gift (because that’s rude).

Returns/Exchanges, Scenario One. So it’s not a duplicate, but it’s not ever going to be used.   Is this gift somehow sentimental to whoever gave it to you? Is it some form of tradition? Does your Grandma always give her granddaughters the same oversized wedding frames when they get hitched (even if they don’t match your living room)? Be cautious here; if its something with even the teeniest bit of sentimental value to the gift giver, you should just hang on to it. You don’t need to put it on your mantle, but you shouldn’t return it or sell it or whatever else you have in mind.   This would be called “not being a brat”.

Returns/Exchanges, Scenario Two. Again, not a duplicate, but it’s just really not your style or taste. It’s okay to exchange it, but you should get something similar. Is it an awful throw blanket? Get a different throw that you like. Is it just something completely useless to your home? An extravagant wine rack for a couple who only drink beer, or an espresso machine for people who hate coffee? Then you can exchange it for something you’ll actually use.   If it ever comes up, these are all acceptable reasons as to why you made an exchange. But mind you, I’m using the word exchange here. It’s tacky to return any gift for cash; you were given a gift and if it needs to be exchanged you should remember that you should be replacing it with something that’ll still be that persons gift to you – not just cash back for spending money or your next bar tab. Tacky.

Broken On Delivery. This doesn’t need even need to be addressed with the gift giver if it’s sent to your home, it is something that can be resolved with the stores customer service counter. If you end up opening it in front of them only to find it’s broken, then make sure you let them know that it’s no problem for you to go to the store and get it replaced. If they insist on doing it for you, let them, and be grateful about them taking the time to do that for you. If you take it back yourself, make sure you let the gift giver know it was handled and you have happily received your new, not-broken gift!

Bounced Checks. A lot of the presents you’ll be getting will come as monetary gifts, cash and checks. If you end up receiving a check from someone and it bounces, that can be extremely awkward. This one might be debatable, but my advice is to let it go. In the sake of being classy and taking the high road, you could just choose to overlook the situation, not pursue an awkward conversation that will likely embarrass whoever wrote the check. If your guest realizes what happened, or reaches out to you, then you can let them know that it bounced, but be kind about it. Make sure you let them know that the best gift they could give you was their presence on your wedding day. Being kindhearted about the situation is better than making someone who may be struggling financially feel bad. If they want to rectify the situation, let them. If you don’t hear from them at all, then just forget about it.

Untimely Thank You Notes. This one is on you, not your family, friends, and wedding guests. Whatever has caused you to put off writing thank you notes should most likely be addressed in your (now late) note.   You can be vague, but you might want to start with a quick apology for your delay, after all this is about channeling your inner lady, and do you think Jackie O. or Grace Kelly would allow months to go by before sending out a thank you note? Sure wouldn’t. Try to get them out as quick as you can, it’ll be one thing off your to-do list and people won’t have to wonder whether or not you actually got that present they sent you months ago.


Alright you classy ladies (and gentlemen?), I think this about covers how to be the most gracious gift-getter you can be. Remember that the key is to always be polite and to never make anyone feel bad.   Making people feel appreciated is a great character trait. Cheers to being a class act, not only during your wedding, but for your entire life.


Mrs. Newman