Diaries Magazine

Do's and Don'ts(for the GUESTS!)

Posted on the 22 June 2014 by Yhenbarron @yhenbarron
Being a guest at a wedding, we usually think that it’s just as simple as getting dressed up, shedding a tear or two and then partying all night long. But just like the entourage and the wedding vendors, being a guest have responsibilities too. To ensure that you do not mistakenly be a “sakit ng ulo,” below are just some simple rules to follow:1. When you get an invite, don’t let it get lost in the coffee table. Please RSVP promptly. The bulk of the budget for any wedding is allotted to the Reception. Thus, it’s important for the couple to know who’s coming so they can give their caterer a final headcount no later than two to three weeks prior to the wedding date. Ultimately, whether you can’t decide or plainly not going, it is crucial to inform the couple of your decision. Don’t add to their stress by procrastinating.2. If you all-of-the-sudden can’t make it. Please do let the host know of your cancellation. You wouldn’t know how crucial this information is for someone who, dissimilar to you, all-of-the-sudden changed their minds from “not going” to “going”.3. It is a well-known fact that there are guest who arrive even if they have made a “Not going” RSVP. Please do inform the host if you changed your mind and all the sudden wanted to be there in the couple’s big day. Even if the couple wanted you to celebrate with them, it is still important to note that you might not have been included in the guest list so there might have been no seats available for you, hence, no food for you.4. Don’t bring a date and/or take your children and/or other family members with you, whom were not in the invitation. Nowadays, most invitations refer to a number of seats allotted for you. So if the invite only says, for example, your name plus guest and it allots 3 seats for you, it only means that you can bring yourself plus two other people. (I would presume that the couple knows them or would love to meet and have them as part of their guest.)5. It is expected of you to wear the attire written in the invitation. For men, if it says “suit or barong for men” then you are expected not to wear khaki pants and collared polo. For women, if the invitations specifically say “gown for women” then you’re expected not to wear a colored striped haltered top chiffon knee length dress. Dress as you would for any other social event held at the hour and during the season of the wedding. Black used to be taboo for weddings, but these days a black dress is perfect for evening, just as it is for a night at the opera. Female guests should not wear white -- it's really, really not polite to take away from the bride on her special day by wearing her color. Try to avoid off-white and ivory, too, if at all possible. It's not as if you don't own or can't buy something another color, right?6. Avoid being late, if possible, be 30 minutes earlier. So if the wedding invitation says that the ceremony begins at 2:00pm, be sure to arrive there by 1:30pm so as to give yourself time to find a seat and get settled. This is not an event to be fashionably late so if you do get there after it's begun, seat yourself quietly in the back. If the procession is going on, wait until the bride reaches the altar to enter the sanctuary and find a seat.7. You are not expected to participate in any religious rituals (for example, if you are a protestant attending a catholic wedding, you are not to receive the communion). Most congregations have parts where you are asked to sit or stand and even kneel. The program or the lector/commentator will tell you when to do so and it is polite to just follow the ritual. It may also help to follow the lead of the people around you or the family of the couple in front of you.8. Avoid taking photographs during the ceremony, that’s what the photographers and videographers are for. Leave this to the professionals and just respect the sanctity of the ritual in front of you. I know it would be nice to have your own copy of how your son or daughter wore his/her suit/gown and walked down the aisle. Or how beautiful you and your partner are all dressed up. But do not worry, the couple already have too many photographs of your child or you and your partner to forget to give them all to you. :)9. As for the reception, cocktail hour is an opportunity for the guest to mingle and get to know the other guests and family. It is also the best time to check to see if there's a seating chart and sit where you're supposed to. Don’t just park it anywhere. You’ll know when it’s officially time to be seated for the program and meal.10. As for the bouquet throw and garter toss, if you’re not crazy about these traditions, don’t just avoid them by hiding out in the bathroom. If you're not one of those who's going to dive for the bouquet or garter, just go out there and stand in the back -- and smile. Even if you think these traditions are silly, or that something else about the wedding is tacky or inappropriate -- keep your feelings to yourself. Maybe this isn't how you'd do it, but it is how the bride and groom chose to do it, and (as much as we'll all like to sometimes) it's not your place to complain.11. While a wedding is a time to enjoy yourself, no one appreciates a drunk guest embarrassing themselves. Drink alcohol in moderation.12. When can you leave? Receptions usually last about three to four hours, and you'll know when things start winding down. Many brides and grooms stay until the bitter end these days, so it's hard to leave after them. When you decide to leave, find a member of the bride's immediate family (like her mom) and thank them. Also attempt to give the couple a last hug before you depart.Above all these, it is still important to enjoy the celebration and express your gladness for the couple. Don’t forget to express how much you are honored and truly appreciative of having invited you.

Q and A for Guests

By: John & Benz Rana (Founders, www.weddingsatwork.com)Q. I got an invite but have no plans of attending; should I still send a gift?
A. First thing's first. If you won't be able to attend for whatever reason, please RSVP. A big chunk of the wedding budget goes to the reception and it will be utterly inconsiderate to just give up a reserved seat without letting the couple know. Give them the chance to assign that seat to another guest in their "waitlist." Having that out of the way, let's get to your question: YES, it is customary to still send a gift.Q. The envelope bears only my name. May I ask if I can bring a date?
A. Don't bring a date unless your invitation specifically says "and Guest." Bringing unexpected guests is very impolite. Neither should you ask the couple's permission if you may bring one or not. Don't put your friends on the spot. We Filipinos don't really like turning down people. So how would you know if their "Yes" means yes or not? Spare them that trouble.Q. The invite says "Mr. & Mrs." Could we bring our kids?
A. Never bring the kids unless "& Family" is indicated. Soon-to-weds don't usually invite children for a good reason. Kids get bored or cranky during hour-long masses. Their tantrums might disrupt the solemnity of the ceremony. Weddings are usually formal events typically not appropriate for the little ones. To be blunt about it, inviting a child at the reception means added two mouths to feed - the kid's and the yaya's.Follow-up Q. But my son/daughter is the bearer/flower girl. I'm sure it's understood that my other child is invited.
A. Which part of the answer above didn't you understand? Seriously, if the couple wanted to invite your other kid, they would have specified that on the envelope.Q. I don't have a clue what gift to give them. Any ideas?
A. The average Pinoy soon-to-wed would always prefer monetary gifts more than any other gift. It is the unspoken fact. We're telling you now to make it easier for them to let you know what they REALLY want; unless they indicated that already in their invites.Q. I'm convinced. So how much cash should I give them? I don't want to give too little or too much.
A. That's a hard thing to answer. It's really a case-to-case thing. Try to put yourself in the couple's shoes. How much should a guest of your stature give you without being branded a cheapskate? Also consider your relationship with the couple. If you're good friends of the couple's parents, you'll probably shell-out more than if you were simply the bride's Girl Friday.Q. Could I skip the ceremony and head straight to the reception?
A. You can. BUT you shouldn't! You are invited to THE wedding -- that's the part where they exchange their "I dos." The reception is where the Receiving Line is. You can't be 'received' if you are already seated in the hall, right? "Patay-gutom" is too harsh a word and we assure you that it's by no means what anyone would think if indeed you decide to go straight to the reception. But admit that it struck a nerve just mentioning the word in that context, isn't it?Q. Speaking of the Receiving Line, what should be the proper greeting?
A. Here's the rule: Say "Congratulations" to the groom and "Best Wishes" to the bride. The reason behind is that "congrats" implies that someone has caught something or won a prize, and it is rather improper to imply that the bride "caught" the man who married her. If this rule gets mixed-up in your head come wedding day, just say the two phrases together and look at both of them. That usually works!
Likewise, saying "Good Luck!" no matter how pure your wishes are will also sound very inappropriate for obvious reasons.Q. Nice try, but what if the couple makes a Grand Entrance and left the Receiving Line to their parents? What then should I tell them? Note that I don't even know which sets of parents are whose.
A. Didn't we tell you already not to skip the ceremony? The bride and groom usually walk alongside their respective parents at the very start!
Anyway, make your pleasantries short and sweet. Shake their hands and say "Hello! I'm (your name) and I went to school with (name of bride/groom) in (school's name)/an officemate of (name of bride/groom) at (name of company)." They usually respond with "Nice meeting you." Just smile, nod politely, and move on to the next person. If one replies "Hi! I've heard so much about you!", simply smile and nod just the same. No lengthy conversation; just make small talk at most. If you can't find the words to say, just smile again, nod politely, and move.Q. During the banquet, is there anything I need to know?
A. Nowadays, the Reception Program usually have the guests on each table stand up and have their picture taken with the couple before being led to the buffet. This is done to resolve two issues of past weddings: (a) for the couple's convenience and skip the tiring Table-Hopping ritual just to have their picture taken with all their guests; and (b) for the guests' convenience so they won't have to wait very long for their turn in the buffet line.
Keep in mind that Buffet is NOT synonymous with "Eat-All-You-Can." Do not pile your plate full. Be courteous of those who have yet to be served. Don't worry. You can easily go for seconds.Q. I'm used to a Buffet setting, but what if it's a formal Sit-Down Dinner? Which fork do I start with again?
A. You're on your own, pal. Watch "Pretty Woman" again and see how Julia Roberts nailed it!Do's and Don'ts(for the GUESTS!)

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