Miss Manners: The DL on Weddings

[I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the epitome of prim and proper- heck, who really is nowadays? But looking around at the misguided youths of today *ahem drinking buddies*, I’m starting to think that Miss Manners might have been onto something.

While you may never need to know how to greet a duke or how to tell which fork is REALLY the oyster fork, knowing how to deal with people whom owe you money, how much to tip, and how to address the ever annoying licorice-in-teeth conundrum without being rude might actually come in handy in the real world. I’m not trying to be your mother – oh goodness, no – I’m just here to help you out of those little etiquette dilemmas. So here goes: a quick lesson in etiquette. The sh*t you might actually need to know]

One of my oldest childhood friends is getting married this Saturday and, quite frankly, I am horrified by the thought of attending his wedding. Not that I have anything against the lovebirds; on the contrary, I’m glad he’s happy. It’s just, well… I never know how to act at weddings. There are just too many unspoken rules, too many unanswered questions: What do I wear? Black? White? Should I go casual or dressy? What do I bring? Who do I bring? Can I bring someone? And so on.

It’s enough to keep you from going to the blasted wedding at all. Well, I’m here to speak those rules and answer those questions. Buckle up my lovelies…

Dress code:
Can I wear white? NO! Never, ever wear white to a wedding.

What about black? Yes, black is perfectly acceptable at weddings. In fact, most people do. As long as you keep from looking like part of a funeral procession, you should be fine.

How revealing can I get?
Well, the way my book put it, “Don’t dress like you’re there to sell anything Tupperware, insurance or yourself,” and I think that’s pretty darn good advice. Also if the ceremony happens to be in a place of worship, remember to keep yourself decent: spaghetti straps and tube tops should be covered up with a sweater/shawl.

Overdressed or Underdressed? When in doubt, always go for the overdressed. No one will say anything if you tell them that you just came from a really fancy party/lunch/meeting/whatever. However, if everyone is standing around sipping champagne and eating caviar in cocktail dresses and you roll in wearing jeans, expect a couple of glares.

The deal on dates:
Can I bring one? Well, it depends what your invite says. If the invitation names both you and your significant other, then he/she is allowed to come. If the invitation bears your name + “guest,” then you’re welcome to bring anyone, from your dorky lab partner to that hottie bartender you’ve been drooling over. If the invitation says your name and your name only, then it’s non-negotiable. The couple is inviting you alone and unless it’s absolutely crucial for you to bring a guest (and this also depends on how close you are to the couple to begin with), then don’t bother asking. This will put them in the awkward predicament of rejecting you flat out.

Do I HAVE to bring one? Nope. Even if your invite allows it but you don’t want to bring the guy you’ve just started dating or you can’t find a date, you don’t have to bring anyone. Plus, it’s more fun flying solo anyway – you don’t have to worry about “babysitting” the new guy or introducing him to all your friends. And if you’re single, even better! What better way to meet guys than at a wedding? They already know some of the people you know and they’re less likely to be serial killers or drug dealers. Maybe you’ll even score with a couple of hot wedding crashers a la Owen Wilson (a girl can dream!).

Your presents will be your gift (Ha!):
What the hell do I give them? I remember how my mother used to freak out whenever she’d have to find her best-friend’s-half-brother’s–second-cousin’s-uncle’s-daughter a gift. I also remember telling her, “That’s why God made wedding registries.” But honestly, the wedding registry is definitely a win-win solution. Basically, the couple makes a wish-list of everything they need/want to start their new life together and it’s up to everyone else to cough up the gifts. This helps the couple because they get exactly what they ask for and it keeps you from showing up with a set of shot glasses (apparently married people don’t use those as often as we do….).

What if the couple isn’t registered anywhere? Well, then you’re screwed, aren’t you? Kidding. If the couple’s not registered, play it safe with a gift certificate or a check written out to the couple. The amount should be equal in value to how much they mean to you (seriously) or how well you know them, whatever comes out to more.

Is straight up cash acceptable? I’m not going to lie, I don’t see why not. I’ve done the “wads of bills (wads… who am I kidding?) in an envelope” before. Some couples even go around with money bags strictly for this purpose. It’s okay in most cases, but keep in mind who your recipients are – while some people will lap up the bills faster than a stripper during a lap dance, others might see this as a sign of disrespect.

Drinks in my cup:
Can I drink? It depends. Are you legal? Do your hosts care if you drink illegally? Just know that if you’re going to drink, try not to get piss drunk at someone else’s wedding. It’s rude, especially if you oh-so-classily get wasted before the ceremony. Or worse.. during!

Does open bar mean that I don’t have to tip? No.

So that’s all folks. And just in case you guys were wondering: I’m totally open to cash at my wedding (whenever that may be). Remember that.

And on a side note: I’d love to get your opinions on this feature. What do you guys want to hear about? Are there any topics you want to see featured on next week’s Miss Manners? Sound off in the Comments section!

He Said/She Said: Going for Gold (And Dolla Dolla Bills)
He Said/She Said: Going for Gold (And Dolla Dolla Bills)
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