My Little Etiquette Shop: How to handle uninvited guests

Q: I’m worried that my family will just bring relatives who weren’t invited– what do I do?

A:  First of all, unless your family is on the run from the law, take a deep breath and relax. Even if a few people did crash the wedding, the world (or event) wouldn’t come crashing to a halt.

  • If you’re super concerned, station a few strong ushers in the back to escort uninvited guests out. Don’t even let them get in the door.
  • If it’s only a few, hotels and other venues are prepared to add settings last minute.  Depending on your contracts, there may be additional charges, but it won’t make you or break you.
  • As etiquette goes, be cordial to whoever shows up. Hostility takes energy and that’s only going to affect you negatively on what’s supposed to be a very happy day.  Again, employ those usher/buffers to keep them away from you and don’t let a few rude people ruin your wonderful day.

Be well, and love well!

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Coping When Neither The Candlesticks Nor The Happy Couple Dance With Joy At Your Being Their Guest

I posted recently about my hero, Lumiere the candlestick from ‘Beauty and the Beast’, who choreographs elaborate musical numbers to honor his guests. My point was that at its core, the point of party you’re throwing is celebrating with guests, if they are unhappy, something has gone wrong.

Alas, not all couples have gotten the memo.  Amy Dickinson, brilliant syndicated advice columnist and another (non-animated) hero of mine, addressed the issue of dealing with the fallout in her column today.  I repost her wise response to this worried MOB from the Toronto Sun.

Groomzilla plans wedding no one can attend

Amy Dickinson, Advice Guru My Little Flower Shop

Amy Dickinson, Advice Guru and a personal hero

 

   By ,QMI Agency

First posted: | Updated:

DEAR AMY: How can our family move forward from the mess of an overplanned, underattended wedding in Europe? The groom (in his mid-30s) has planned everything and excluded me, mother of the bride, from any of the plans. The bride’s siblings can’t afford (or can’t get vacation days from work) to attend.

Tuxedo Shirt 6-10-08 -- IMG_0638

Involved grooms are a good thing – don’t overgeneralize!

Yesterday, the groom called our son and offered to fly him to Europe for the wedding but made no such offer for the bride’s sisters. Of 200 invited guests, only 40 are expected to attend — no aunts, uncles or cousins. As the bride’s parents, we gave a fixed sum of money for the wedding but now, due to the small gathering expected, the couple will be making money on the deal.

Yesterday, the groom announced that the one family friend who can attend is not invited to the rehearsal dinner, after traveling 6,000 miles. A destination wedding sounds, at first, like a good idea, but when the day nears, it feels exclusionary, hollow and pretentious. As the mother of the bride, I am filled with sadness.

The couple has been engaged for two years, and we feel so burdened by the build-up, the bad decisions, the exclusions, waste and self-centredness of this event. How do families recover from this? I can’t see these relationships ever going back to normal.

I love my daughter very much, but I believe the consequences of this wedding will be the unravelling of our family. Is there any hope? — Heartbroken

DEAR HEARTBROKEN: You aptly describe the challenges when couples pour all of their attention into trying to create a fantasy day while causing real-world problems. Often these couples return home after their fantasy weddings seriously let down by the reality of marriage and family.

You and your husband should meet with the couple. Do not pile on and accuse them of creating a hollow and pretentious event, but do ask that they commit some of the money you contributed to helping family members attend the wedding.

Otherwise you should accept that this is not what you would have planned and not what you want (and perhaps not what the couple wants at this point, either). If your daughter is completely dominated by a “groomzilla” who is demanding and disrespectful, she is going to need your support moving forward. You may also have to accept that you and she have very different values.

Though this event might rend the fabric of your family, don’t make the mistake of assuming it will unravel.

Now That’s What I Call A Wedding Crasher

You’ll see stories from time to time about a couple who had an unexpected guest show up at their wedding – but not in such a bad way. If your uninvited plus one or two is a celebrity, somehow that turns a nightmare into a crazy, fun wedding memory.  There’s a couple who had Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez come strolling down the beach into their tented reception, and then a lovely English couple who found the cast and crew of “The Iron Lady” attending their ceremony. (At least Meryl Streep is well raised – she brought a gift).

But by far, this weekend’s instance of a celeb turning up unexpected (though not uninvited) is one that will be tough to top. This couple invited Queen Elizabeth to their wedding as a bit of a lark, never expecting her to come.  Indeed, they received a polite decline.  But lo and behold, on wedding day, Her Majesty and Prince Philip dropped by to wish the couple well. Now that’s a crash to end all crashes! And such a cute hat, too.
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Just goes to show, you’ve got to think outside the stationery box.  Want The Clintons at your wedding? Cher? Send the invitation. You never know who’s going to take you up on it.  But that also goes for people who get the “obligatory invitations” that you might rather not see.

The take-away: don’t send an invitation to people you can’t stand OR that are beyond your social circle thinking “they’ll never come” because they just might surprise you. Good advice all around, if it’s applied to Barry Manilow, or Uncle Eugene. You’re rolling the dice, and you might end up with a floorshow, but you’re also risking a monologue about the war years in Moldavia.

Be well, and love well!

Dinah

 

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