Etiquette Hell = Where the ill-mannered deserve to go


Main Page/Home

The Faux Pas Archives
Wedding Etiquette

Bridesmaids and Beastmen
Bridal Showers
Bridezillas and Groomonsters
Faux Pas of the Year
Gimme, Gimme, Gimme
Guests From Hell
Tacky Invitations
Wedding Rugrats
Just Plain Tacky
Tacky Toasts
Thank You Notes From Hell
Tacky Vendors
Wedding From Hell
Wicked Witches of the Wedding
Perfect Bride
Bridesmaid Dress Incinerator



Everyday Etiquette

Baby Showers
The Dating Game
Ooops! Foot in Mouth Disease
Funeral Etiquette
Gimme Hell
Holiday Hell
Just Plain Tacky
It's all Relatives
Every Day RugRats
Road Rage

Business Etiquette

Bad Business Etiquette
Merchants of Etiquette Hell
Bad Bosses

Faux Pas of the Year




Press Room/Contact




2000 Archive
Jan-Jun 2000 Archive
Jul-Dec 2000 Archive
2001 Archive
2002 Archive
Jan - Jul 2003 Archive
Jul - Dec 2003 Archive
Jan-Jun 2004 Archive
Jul-Dec 2004 Archive
Jan-Jun 2005 Archive
Jul-Dec 2005 Archive



My sister (we'll call her Joanna) and I recently attended the wedding of our cousin "Marie", for which we were asked to be ushers at the ceremony - Marie would have liked us to be bridesmaids but had already chosen her own sister and two best friends, and couldn't fit us in the wedding party. Joanna was already in a huff because her own boyfriend hadn't been invited to the wedding due to numbers (Marie's family are important figures in their local community and had invited more than 300 people already) and this upset her even more. Although she didn't quite dare to say anything to Marie, neither did she hesitate to make her displeasure felt on the big day. Not only did she make us late that morning by taking hours and hours to get dressed (only managing to pull herself together when the rest of my family threatened to leave without her if she didn't hurry up), but when we arrived at the large hotel where the wedding was being held, she refused to undertake any ushering duty at all and simply stood outside and smoked cigarettes until it was time for the ceremony to begin. When several family members confronted her about it (including our aunt and uncle, the bride's parents) she abruptly replied that "nobody missed her" and it wasn't an important job - there were five other ushers in total, so all the guests found their seats and most had no idea she was supposed to be there.

I thought that would be the end of it, until we all went through to eat in the main dining room and she discovered we hadn't been placed at the top table, which was reserved for the bride, groom and their immediate relations. We sat at another table with our parents and several long term family friends whom Joanna had either never met or not seen since she was a child (she is now in her thirties.) Even though these people were more or less complete strangers to her, Joanna didn't want to make small talk and the only topic of conversation she was interested in was how rude it had been of Marie and the groom not to let us sit at the top table. I could see some people becoming more and more uncomfortable as they tried to find a polite way to say they didn't agree with her, but all attempts to deter her failed and she didn't shut up until the food arrived. As if that wasn't enough, when the conversation later switched to a man our family has known for thirty years but was unable to attend the wedding because he was recovering from a stroke, Joanna leaned over the table and said he was a "dirty old pervert" who didn't deserve to be invited, then, loudly enough to be heard by guests at all the neighboring tables, launched into a graphic description of the rumor circulating several years previously that this man had cheated on his wife. I don't think anyone ever said anything to her, but I did hear from both my parents and our aunt and uncle that a lot of people had been very upset and offended by her behavior, including the bride and groom.

To cap it all, Joanna and her boyfriend are now thinking about their own wedding, and Joanna recently asked me in all seriousness whether I thought Marie would agree to be a matron of honor. The only answer I could think to give her was "Don't bet on it."



When my husband and I got married, we were determined to have a nice wedding, but equally determined to avoid spending an insane amount of money on the event, as we had seen so many of our previously married friends do. Our biggest priority was that everyone have a wonderful time, therefore we spent the largest portion of our budget on great food, drinks and music.

We still wanted to have many of the components to a more expensive wedding (i.e. favors, table centerpieces, etc.) so to save money, I handmade most of these items, and spent a great deal of time to make everything look professionally done. One of the things I did, which took quite a bit of time, is to create small origami boxes to place at each setting. The boxes were filled with candy and a poem, and had the guest's name printed on the top, in lieu of place cards. They turned out great, but took forever to custom print out and fold. I thought it was worth it though, as they looked really elegant when placed on the tables. I had also purchased a beautiful frame and used it to hold the seating chart for the reception hall. It was placed near the entrance to the hall, so everyone could easily find their name/table as they walked in to sit down.

All was in place on the day of the wedding, as my husband and I greeted guests at the reception. My husband's friend Randy arrived, and we noticed immediately that he did not have a guest with him, as specified on his RSVP. We asked him where his date was, and he smirked and said something about her not being able to make it. Ok, here's where it gets good, the name he listed as his "date" on the RSVP card was Jane Doe. So,¦as with all of my guests, I had handmade a place card box with her name printed on it, and also of course included her name on the seating chart. Well, it turns out that Jane Die is a porn star (who knew? not me obviously!) and he wrote her name down as a joke! Everyone got a good laugh over this, even me (after some time had gone by), but I did think it was VERY bad taste on his part.



I just can't believe the nerve of some people! This story took place a little over a month ago at my wedding. But before I get to the actual event, there is a lot of background. My new DH was good friends with "S" throughout high school. "S" was good friends with "A", so in turn by association, my DH and "A" were mutual friends. They got along well enough, despite "A" being quite self involved and the fact that he lacks both tact and manners. 

Well all three graduate and go their separate ways. DH and "S" continue to be good friends even though they don't see each other often. "S" and "A" continue to be good friends, but DH and "A", never good friends in the first place, lose touch. 

Several years down the road, DH changes universities and is now closer to "S", which means he can now spend more time with his long-time friend. This also means that "A" is once again an acquaintance. DH becomes interested in a girl in one of his classes and they start dating. (This is about a 6 months before I even met him.) After about a month of dating seriously, "S" calls up DH and asks if he wants to go on a double date with him . DH says "yes" and plans are set in motion. 

The day before the date, "A" decides he wants to make it a triple date and go with them. Both boys think this is fine. Then "A" tells them that they have to find him a date. I won't even get into the weirdness of not asking your own date out but that's not the point. DH finds this REALLY weird but agrees and finds him a date. ( The girl did it as a favor to DH. She thought it was weird too.) So they go on the date and it goes pretty well. 

Over the next few weeks the girl DH was dating stops calling him, breaks dates, and seems to avoid him. Which is fine, people date and then lose interest. Not a big deal. Except that she kept telling DH that she is just busy and that she really likes him and she misses spending time with him. Anyway, about a month after the triple date, DH is at a friend's house and "S" shows up with "A" in tow, who looks really uncomfortable. They pull DH aside and "S" says, "A has something he needs to tell you." "A" precedes to tell DH that since that triple date, he has been seeing the girl DH was dating. He then explains that they hit it off on the triple date and started seeing each other after that. Both thought DH would be upset. So rather then tell him and end the relationship, she continued to lead on DH and secretly date "A". And "A" avoided both DH and "S" to try and keep it a secret. Well, "S" finds out and makes "A" tell DH what's been going on. So here DH is, finally finding out the truth. Does he get mad? No, he actually starts laughing and tells "A" that it isn't a big deal and asks why they didn't just say something in the first place. So "A" and "S" leave, and right then the girl calls to apologize. DH says its OK, then asks how she knows that he know about the secret relationship. She says," Because I was waiting outside in the car when they told you." 

After this whole thing, DH was mostly just annoyed that they couldn't have told him up front and have been honest. He also decided that neither were worth his time. "A" and the girl ended up getting married a few months later. My DH did not receive an invite. Nor did he want one, but he sent his best anyway. 

A year and a half later, it is mine and DH's wedding. Everything went really well and it was a beautiful day. Its about 9pm and most of our guests have left except close family and friends. I am in the bride's room changing since I didn't want to wear my wedding dress to the hotel we were staying at that night and had a second outfit. My DH was outside cleaning off our car to make it drive-able after 3 groups of people "decorated" it. Which by the way, he had told EVERYONE that his car was off-limits. Not only had the reception center forbid us from it because of the mess, but he hates this tradition just as much as I hate the smashing-cake-in-your-new-spouses-face tradition. Of course no one listened, but I digress. 

So I'm changing, and he is cleaning off the car. A car pulls in, and the occupants walk up to DH. Guess who they are. "A" and his wife! And they demand to know why they weren't invited! Apparently they had called "S" during our reception, ("S" was one of the groomsmen) and asked him what he was doing. He said, "At DH and W's wedding reception." They demanded to know where it was at and came straight over. My DH had not spoken to or seen these two for over a year. And they hadn't invited him to their own wedding. He was never really friends with "A", and his wife was some girl he had dated for a month a long time ago and thought very little of both. Honestly, how could they think that they should have been sent an invitation? And to actually have the gall to show up at the reception and demand why? It boggles the mind. 

My DH just stood there for a minute, completely taken back by these two. He then assured them that it wasn't a mistake that they hadn't received one and walked back inside. It seems they left after that because I never saw them. My mother's jaw hit the floor when we told her. Thank you for letting me vent. Its been over a month and I still shocked by their behavior.



I am a school teacher who began a new job this fall.  At that time, my fiancé and I had already settled on the majority of our guest list for our early Spring wedding.  However, I was sure I would get to know some of my coworkers well enough to want to invite them.    Sure enough I started having lunch regularly with several teachers in my hallway.  One was a woman a bit younger than me -- mid 20s -- who still lives with her mother.  Now, that is not necessarily so strange, but her mother still cooks and cleans for her and the two of them are buying a house together.  I suppose you could say she is still attached to the apron strings.  However overall she seemed like a sweet girl, and I decided to invite her as well as my lunch mates to the event.   

Our wedding is to take place in a small reception hall and will be a cocktail reception without a seating plan.  Due to size and style, we decided against allowing single people to bring "guests."  Now, we worried over this, but since the majority of our friends are single and know each other very well, I didn't think the fact that they couldn't bring a guest would bother them.  Of course we did invite the partners of those who were married or in serious relationships, as the rules dictate.   All the fellow teachers we invited -- including the aforementioned young woman -- are single with the exception of one.  Following our wedding guest list parameters and general etiquette, I invited the married woman and her husband.  The other received an invitation addressed only to them.   

Shortly after the invites went out in the mail, I took the time to speak personally with every teacher I had invited to let them know specifically who I had asked to attend the event.  With schools being somewhat gossipy/chatty places, I didn't want someone bringing up the wedding in front of someone who was not invited, thus creating awkward feelings.  As I mentioned, because our guest list had been mostly determined before I started my new job, I was not able to invite as many new coworkers as I would have liked.   When I told the aforementioned young woman that her invite was forthcoming, she asked bluntly, "And you're inviting my mom too, right?"  I was shocked, but since she's always been a little "rough around the edges" I forgave her breach of good manners and said I was sorry, but the size of the wedding simply didn't permit that  (I don't even know her mother!!!).    

When she heard this, she looked miffed, and then asked, "Well then, you're not inviting "Susan's" husband, right?" referring to our married coworker.  Still in shock that she was questioning who I invited, I explained to her that etiquette usually requires that married people and serious couples be invited together.  I didn't add that I don't normally count a mother as a life partner.    Still appearing miffed, she nodded and the conversation ended.  If only her weird behavior had ended then as well.   

The invites hit, and she arrived at school one morning informing me that she had my reply card.  (I had placed postage on the cards, but I guess she thought bringing it to school would be easier.)  I told her that was fine, and reminded her once again to please be discreet about talking about the wedding around those not invited.   THAT VERY SAME DAY we were at lunch, and a teacher who was NOT invited to the wedding joined us for lunch.  At the end of lunch, the young woman got up, walked over to her desk, retrieved the reply card from her purse, and essentially threw it at me in front of the other teacher.   Since she didn't say anything, I thought I would be able to slip it in papers and the other teacher would never know.  Stunned, I numbly reached for the card and as I did, the young woman actually said, "That's for X's wedding...don't ask her to invite you though.  She can't invite the whole school you know."   I am not making it up.   My cheeks flushed scarlet as I stammered a "I'm so sorry," to the other teacher.  Fortunately, this woman is very gracious and well-mannered, and I know she understood and saw the mistake to be with the young woman, NOT me.  Still, I was beyond mortified.   A

t the end of the day I composed myself and went over to the young woman and explained to her firmly that I did not appreciate what she had done and that I had specifically asked her not to discuss the wedding around those who were not invited.   She actually acted stunned and surprised, and said she had forgotten.  She was playing dumb, clearly.   Now she is coming to our wedding, and I wish she weren't.  Also, what do you want to wager that she will bring her mother anyway?!?!?!      


A former co-worker of mine, "Leanne," was recently married when she joined the company, and I got engaged a few months later, so we ended up talking a lot about wedding planning, wedding etiquette, etc. She and I did not see eye to eye on a number of issues, but I did a lot of nodding and semi-agreeing because she was very vehement and opinionated. Leanne told me about a friend's wedding she and her husband had been invited to recently -- a large-scale event (500+ guests) in a Central European family, meaning that the gift traditionally considered appropriate is an envelope containing cash or a cheque (no gift registry, for example). Leanne thought this was terribly tacky, as the tradition she's familiar with is to bring a wrapped gift to the wedding reception and, according to her, anything else is just wrong. So she bought a gift and wrapped it and they took it to the reception. But guess what? There was no gift table, because nobody was expecting guests to bring gifts larger than an envelope.

But that's not the good part of the story. Leanne's friend's *real* offence was this: she had a cash bar at her reception (although there was wine on the tables). Apparently -- I did not know this before!! -- it's impossible to have fun at a wedding unless you can get totally wasted, for free. At this wedding, Leanne and her husband were going to have to *pay money* to get totally wasted. So you know what they did? They took back their wedding present. Took it outside and put it in their car, and subsequently returned it for cash. Then, assured of getting their $100 (or whatever) back, they proceeded to get bombed.

I'm not a big fan of cash bars, either. But I'm glad I don't have friends for whom the sole attraction of my wedding is the free booze!



I recently attended the wedding ceremony and reception of a "non-traditional" couple. I say this thinking that perhaps the couple thought they were being avant garde or following their hearts when they were being, to my mind, kind of rude.

The couple decided to do things "their way" (which I encourage). They had an extremely traditional, religious ceremony juxtaposed with an untraditional reception. For instance there was no cake, dancing, toasts, bouquet toss, anything you might free-associate with a wedding reception. It was more like an office holiday party in atmosphere and planning (some tables, some munchies and stereo music). I don't think any of this is rude, mind you, just setting the scene.

There reception was outside in a family members backyard, catered under a tent. The problem was the bride, groom, family and many of the grooms friends traipsed into the house most never to be seen again. A house that was off limits except bathroom use to the rest of us. The Bride and Groom spent about 3/4 of the reception inside while their guests ate alone outside in the tent. We socialized, we ate, we enjoyed each others company; but it was as if the one reception had an A and B list party of its own and most of the guests were designated to the B list.

Was it a gift grab -give them hors d'oeuvres and they'll bring a gift? Did the couple have a headache? Had they changed their mind about having a reception last minute so they just skipped it? One can only speculate. I didn't know if you wanted to weigh in with the official etiquette on the matter but it was odd to be at a wedding party that had no one from the wedding party in attendance (but very close by).

While I know moms' kitchen and your old childhood room are a comfort and comfortable place to be, I urge future couples reading this to actually attend their reception or to just skip having one unless they can fit us all into the kitchen.

Weird, and kind of rude, yes?



We were fairly close with our pastor who was going to officiate at our wedding. He had counseled us during our engagement, and we had been to his family's home for dinner a few times.

We love family gatherings, so we invited him, his wife, and their two middle school aged children to both the rehearsal dinner and wedding reception. I sent individual invitations to the children as well, because I remembered how much I enjoyed being treated as an adult when I was in middle school. All four family members RSVP'd "yes" for both the rehearsal dinner and reception.

Our rehearsal dinner was a plated dinner at the hotel where we were getting married. We had prepared gifts for all the attendees since they were either helping at our wedding or family. We also prepared gifts for the pastor's children because we didn't want them to be the only two guests who didn't get a gift. Only the pastor and wife showed up for the rehearsal dinner, and since we had to pay for the dinner ahead of time, this was simply "lost" money. No problem; I know that sometimes children don't feel like going out at the last minute and it's better to leave the crabby child at home than have them be a pain at the event. But the pastor's wife assured me that they'd all be there tomorrow night for the reception.

Instead, neither the wife NOR the two children came to the wedding or reception, costing us non-refundable money. The pastor even left after the wedding as well.

Obviously, in any wedding, you have to expect some no-shows, but I thought this was pretty rude that they had RSVP'd the entire family for all events but didn't show up, and I thought that the wife could have at least told us at the rehearsal dinner if they weren't going to show up for the wedding and reception. After the rehearsal dinner, she even called me on my cell phone at 12 AM, waking me up, to find out if I had found her earrings at the hotel. Later, she never explained why they didn't come, either.



Soon after I became engaged, I called Lola, my childhood girlfriend of 15 years, with the happy news. She asked whether we had set a date, and I told her it would be either September 2006 or February 2007, depending on our work schedules. She said, "Oh, I might be out of the country during February, so you should do it in September." (She travels for leisure quite often, spending months backpacking abroad.) Well, after awhile my fiancé and I realized we would have to wait till spring to have enough time for a honeymoon. So, I called Lola with the dates of the wedding and a BBQ (engagement party), and she said, "Well, I think I'll be gone during the spring, but the engagement party sounds more fun than the wedding, anyway." I figured she had things booked or planned, but she doesn't. Maybe it's self-centered, but it does hurt my feelings a little that she wouldn't even consider delaying her trip a week or two for such a big milestone in my life--she is like a sister to me.



Like most people I have many crazy people in my family. This story concerns my aunt; she's one of those 'Christians' that swears like a sailor and couldn't care less about anyone but herself. We've never really gotten along because we don't have very much in common so I was pretty surprised that she even accepted my wedding invitation; I figured it was just because it was the proper thing to do or because she didn't turn down free meals.

The day of our wedding dawned bright, sunny and really, really windy. Since our wedding was being held on a cliff top this meant that people weren't really hanging around after the ceremony. Basically we started right on time (a couple of my friends were late but everyone else was there) and when the ceremony ended we told everyone to get on the buses we'd provided and we'd see them all at the reception.

We got to the reception, ate, cut the cake and then pushed back all the tables for dancing. At this point my brand new husband and I started making the rounds and chatting to everyone and I noticed my aunt wasn't there; she's very loud and difficult to miss. When I asked my mother she told me my aunt had come up to her after the ceremony and said, "I don't think we'll be coming to the reception" and walked off. None of us heard from her for years my mother tried calling a few times but she was cold) until recently when she called my mother out of the blue. My mother emailed her some pictures of my baby son and her charming comment was, "I don't know why people dress babies in denim, it looks (censored) awful." Truly a lovely lady.


 A friend of mine recently married his high-school sweetheart a couple of years after they both finished college.  At the reception, they received several cards with cash, which were placed on the gift table.  Though I am not a fan of cash bars, making an open bar available to dozens of former frat boy 20-somethings, the groom's friends, was not a wise option.  Unfortunately, the younger guests must have left their wallets at home, because they began funding their trips to the bar with money they removed from envelopes off the gift table, including a large monetary gift from the groom's grandparents.



Ten years ago one of my two best friends, Chuck, is marrying Lisa that August. They have known each other for 3 years and she is now, unexpectedly, one month pregnant. Chuck is still a student, so it's a small wedding reception at his grandmother's house - open bar and tons of home-cooked food. Chuck's closest school mate - also a good friend of Lisa's - comes to the reception briefly. He drops off a gift and runs because he has a keg party to go to.

Chuck's mother invited some friends of hers - their gift was $10 to an all-you-can-eat wedding with open bar. Chuck and Lisa had never met them.

Fast forward a few years and my other best friend, Craig, is getting married. His wife's friend flies all the way across the country from Vancouver (to Toronto) for the wedding, but leaves the reception early because she is going to a Rave party in Toronto. Again, this was an open-bar "full" reception and the friend came specifically for the wedding. And it's not like she was very young - we were all 28 or 29 by then.

All the marriages have lasted. The friendships have not.



I got married in October 2005 to my high school sweetheart, *Brad, after dating for 7 years. We were engaged for only 5 months and were quite limited on our funds. We invited around 150 guests. One guest we invited, *Alex, whom Brad had known since grade school, emailed me to see if he could bring his roommate, *Theo, cuz Theo didn't want to miss the wedding. We told Alex he could bring a guest, but he wanted to bring 2 guests. I politely told him that we didn't have the funds to have another person come, and we couldn't have Theo come, as then we would have to invite all our old high school friends as well (Brad and I went to high school with Theo as well) and this was a sit down dinner and quite formal. Plus, I didn't want Theo coming as he is a druggie and a bum, mooching off people's couches and very dirty. Alex then tells me he will be bringing his other roommate, *Mike as his date, as he didn't have a girlfriend at the time (this was fine for me as I knew and liked Mike.)

Cut to the time of the reception. I see Alex, and start talking to him. I ask him where Mike is, and he says he couldn't come, so he brought *Fred (I despise Fred and have since high school.) But the worst part was, he then told me he brought Theo as well!! Even after I told him not to, he RSVPed for 2 and brought 3! I had to have them set another place setting at an already crowded table. And to make matters worse, neither Fred nor Theo talked to me at all during the reception and neither brought so much as a card.



My high school sweetheart and I were getting married. One family we invited, the husband was my dad's best friend from grade school. We invited him, his wife, and his only child, a 19 year old girl. We were limited on funds, so we weren't able to allocate the girl a date, and put the invite as Mr. & Mrs. John M----- and family. We didn't put "and guest" at all.

When they RSVPed, they put down 4 - the 19 yr old wanted to bring her boyfriend and didn't even ask first. They were close to my dad, so I didn't make a big deal out of it and just made room for the guest. But to make matters worse, neither of them showed up! Only the mom and dad did. When they got to the reception, they said she couldn't make it. So she made me pay for an extra plate for her boyfriend when he wasn't even invited in the first place in addition to paying for hers, when she didn't even show up!



My fiancé and I were high school sweethearts, but we were getting married 6 years after high school, and hadn't kept in touch with many people or old friends from high school. Some of our old friends were still friends with my older sister though, and we'd see them occasionally at parties. We couldn't afford to invite them, so we told them if they really wanted they could come AFTER dinner for drinks and dancing. We invited about 4 people to do this. 3 decided to come, 2 of them dressed up in suits, and the 3rd one wore ripped jeans and a polo. This was a pretty formal wedding and we told them, even if they come for just drinks, they have to dress up. To make matters worse, every picture that the 3rd guy (who wore ripped jeans) was in, he was flicking off the camera! So a perfectly good picture got ruined many a times.



As a little background to this story, I am from an area of England which is, to be honest, not well regarded. Your stereotype of someone from Essex is a single mother who's not too bright and her brothers are all criminals. You get the idea.

A friend of ours had trained in law and now worked in London, mixing in very new social circles. As such, he was now the fiancé of a girl from a very well off and respected family. They were to get married in a church near their country estate, with the reception in their manor house. Now we were all pleased for Ben, but the idea of a society wedding terrified us. We had all been brought up to be polite and courteous but had no idea of the ins and outs of polite society.

The last term at university before the wedding, we were all students, was terribly busy. We spent all our time working extra hours to buy nice shoes to wear and presents for the couple, with any spare hours spent reading every etiquette book we could find. The books would then be used so we could practice walking. We even watched those "Ladette To Lady" makeover shows for tips! We scoured society magazines for dress styles, and I made us all dresses that would be fine for the wedding and we could also use for our May Ball (like your proms). Just in case you are worried our dresses were all very different, we didn't want to look like the wedding party. Now, we are not particularly vain but we did not want to embarrass Ben in any way.

The day of the wedding came, and we were nearly passing out from fear. The first thing we heard from anyone was a person I assume was an uncle saying "wa-hey! The Essex girls are here. Time for some fun!" We were all mortified, because we had been picked out so easily and because we are all well behaved and not at all promiscuous. We took our seats and decided to just keep quiet to avoid any more embarrassment. The groom's side was far smaller that the bride's and we were all feeling rather ostracized. Despite being as tense as we were it was a lovely wedding and we were pleased we could be there for Ben.

Then came the reception. The uncle who had shouted to us earlier came over to us, making lewd comments. He was then joined by a few other men who, if anything, said even worse things. One of them even propositioned my friend. We made it quite clear that we were there for Ben and weren't interested in their advances. Before the wedding we had planned on mixing at least a little, but it seemed no one wanted us there. A few of us were on the verge of tears, we felt so uncomfortable. Thankfully, the bride's mother came over soon after this, thanked us for coming and talked to us like we were actual human beings. She introduced us to another group and we got on very well. By the end of the night we were all enjoying ourselves and felt brave enough to dance outside of our little Essex group. The snide comments from some people continued, one woman asked if our dresses were from a charity shop and another actually had the nerve to tell us to keep away from her husband! Despite this we had a very nice time and I think Ben was surprised and pleased that we got on so well with his new friends and family.

I would like to finish with a plea. While there is no excuse for rude behavior, please bare in mind that some people have not been taught all the conventions you would take for granted. Etiquette is designed so people feel appreciated and not awkward, so if you see a breach then remember the feelings of the person who has made the mistake. A polite correction or tip is far more helpful than belittling someone who may well be trying their best.


 At our fairly classy wedding reception that my father graciously paid for, my uncle came up to my father to tell him, "That beef tasted like s**t."  No Hello, or thanks for having us.  My dad told him, "Well I guess you should have had the chicken then."



I just got married last summer, and everything went well--no major screw-ups or anything like that. My husband and I dated for four years before getting married, and in that time his family has not ceased to amaze.

Let's start with his brother's wife. His brother was going to be in Iraq during our wedding, and everyone was feeling sorry/apprehensive for his wife, as they have three small (but very cute) boys. She asked if I minded if she left her sons home for our wedding, because she knew that I loved them but she wanted to relax and not have to watch them every second of the day. This was great, as I hadn't wanted kids at our wedding anyway, after seeing how these three boys in particular acted at weddings (running up and down the aisles, squirming, being loud, etc.) I understand, though, it's hard watching 3 boys by yourself. She confirmed at least once after this that she wouldn't be bringing the kids. I sent out her invite to her husband and herself, leaving kids off. Fast forward to RSVPs...she's RSVP'd for 3 (herself and 2 oldest boys). Oh well, at least they're cute.

I arranged for one of my sister's friends to baby-sit any kids that manage to sneak in during the ceremony, got the room in the church set up, etc. Fast forward again to the wedding...not only does SIL bring all 3 boys, she also brings their two cousins (not related to me or hubby). Hubby's cousins also brings their kids, a 2 year old and a toddler, although RSVPs were for (adult) dates. So we have to pay for 5 adult meals for 2 babies and 3 kids under the age of 5 when we could have gotten $3 happy meals, which was my original plan that was abandoned after it looked like only a couple kids would show up. We had disposable cameras on all the tables for candid pictures, and she let each of the kids use a camera. Half our photos were blurry or of the floor or the ceiling, and about 1/3 of the remainder are of themselves or their mom.

Hubby's grandpa doesn't know my name. After 4+ years and he still doesn't say it correctly. My name is Annie and I've been called "Amy", "Emma" and "Emily" (NO idea where he got an "m" sound from "n"...) I think people have talked to him about this, but rather than trying to say my name correctly, now he just mumbles something that might or might not be my name. Perhaps he was surprised on the program when it said his grandson was marrying Annie and not Amy.

One of the cousins who brought her baby wore a tank top and tennis shoes to the wedding and reception. My mom and I had a bet about this--mom wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt, and I knew better. Yup, she's wearing a tight spaghetti strap shirt (she's on the big side, lots of post-pregnancy and beer belly weight) and totally visible, dirty tennis shoes, with no laces.

Other cousin who brought his baby was our usher. He shows up 15 minutes before the ceremony. After the ceremony, we were supposed to ride around in limos before the reception. He doesn't get into a limo, and we're calling out, asking where he's going...he went to a demolition derby instead of our reception (but he left his son with his mom.) This cousin's already in e-Hell, under Just Plain Tacky, but was it wrong of us to expect that our reception would have precedence over mullets and trucks?

Cousin on the other side, who was married before us, is known to be a little antisocial, but RSVPs for herself and her husband, equally antisocial. (husband has driven her to family functions where she stays for a while and then sets him up a plate to go...while the whole time he's waiting outside in his truck.) She shows up, but no hubby. He has to "work." (FYI we were engaged for a year and a half and had the date set almost right away, so it's not like he didn't have enough time.) She got smashed. Guess we shouldn't have expected any better than them.

Oh, family. They mean well...gotta love them...!


 The wedding takes place approximately three hours away by car.  Most of the bride’s family makes the trip for the wedding.  Not a problem, MOB, my mother, and 2 other aunts gladly make the trek a few days early to help with any last minute details, meet the groom’s family, etc.  The family and most of the out of town guests are staying at the same hotel, so there is time for everyone to visit.  My daughters have been invited to be flower girls, but because they are young (6 and 7), we drove down on the afternoon of the rehearsal.   We arrive at the hotel –my husband goes to our suite to unpack, drop off the gift, etc.  Daughters and I go to the room my mother and aunts (Aunts of Bride) are sharing (this is important later) – we visit, pick up the flower girl dresses.  MOB is staying in a private room, courtesy of the groom. Everyone meets for the rehearsal and everything goes relatively smoothly.

 Next wedding day – starts late because the bride has decided at the last minute to include another 2 flower girls (from the groom’s side of the family, naturally).  There is a mad rush to get the 2 girls ready, waiting for additional flowers to be delivered.  Did I mention the MOH was late because she didn’t like the way her hair had been styled?  Otherwise, the wedding proceeds relatively smoothly.  There are photos with the wedding party and then everyone returns to the hotel to wait for the evening reception.   Where’s the tacky you say?

 We arrive that evening for the dinner – we miss the cocktails because there is only so long that you can entertain 2 small children at a reception.   I catch up with the AOBs to let them know that we have arrived.  They are furious.  Usually, these are the most accommodating ladies in the world.  I ask my mother what the problem is.   My mother asks if I notice a particular guest that has been hanging around the bridal couple.  You see, this guest is the bride’s EX-BOYFRIEND (EB).  She has invited him (without her family’s knowledge and they were too stunned to turn him away at the church). She has told the groom he is an old friend of the family, almost like one of the cousins and that we all grew up together.  I have never seen this man before, as I live in a different city.  Apparently, they lived together before the bride dumped him for the groom. (EB is a slacker, groom is an extremely wealthy older man anxious to start a family - draw your own conclusions).  

The bride’s family is keeping quiet because they don’t want to upset the groom on his wedding day.   The bride’s extended family is seated at tables together.  My mother tells me that the bride had asked that my brother be moved from the family tables so that her EB can sit there.  Seeing smoke coming from the AOBs’ ears, the bride backed down.  Now, the bride has always been kind of clueless etiquette–wise, I knew that couldn’t be the only reason for the fury.  The thing that really has the AOBs steamed is that  night before the wedding, the EB had planned to meet with the bride so they could spend some “quality time” before the wedding.  Alas – karma is sweet as he knocked on the AOB’s door by mistake.  They sent him packing (with an earful), moved the bride into the MOB’s room just in case.

 But that’s not all, during the reception, the bride and groom moved from table to table to have photos taken with guests.  Guess who was in the majority of the photos.  At one point, one of my aunts had to pull him aside and tell him to stop STANDING BETWEEN THE GROOM AND BRIDE for the photos.   

The happy couple are still married 5 years later and just welcomed their second child.


 I don't know that this is really a faux pas, but I thought it was funny and kind of cute since the bride and groom didn't mind.   My husband's cousin got married in a beautiful setting - it was an outdoor wedding on one of the Rocky Mountains just outside of Boulder, CO.  It was in a State Park, so although they got permission to conduct their ceremony there and had the site reserved, it was a public place.  Right as the ceremony was about to begin, a family of tourists wandered onto the site.  They didn't speak a lot of English, and we didn't speak any Japanese, but we were able to communicate well enough to explain that we were having a wedding.  They stayed to watch, and even had us take some pictures of them (with their camera) posed with the bride after the ceremony.  The bride didn't mind as she is a very open and gracious person, and this was a fairly casual ceremony.  They are in the background of some of the more candid wedding pictures which makes it even funnier, and whenever we talk about the wedding at family gatherings, someone always brings up "The Tourists."  


 My husband and I had eloped since we had been living together for several years and were in our mid 30's.  Our families wanted to throw us a reception about a month later.  It was a lovely reception with about 100 people.  My husband felt that he had to invite one person who I really couldn't stand.  "Elvis" needs to be the center of attention at all times.  He is under the delusion that he is some sort of musical genius.  When he called my husband after receiving the invitation he mentioned how he was sure that we wanted him to entertain at the reception.  My husband explained that we had a DJ and had already selected our music.  He was invited as a guest and would not need to perform. 

Halfway through our lovely reception (our families did a wonderful job with the arrangements) I went outside for some air and to chat with a couple of friends from out of town who I hadn't seen for months.  My husband came running out to tell me that Elvis had taken over the DJ's mike and was playing harmonica and singing along with a CD that he brought with him!  The other guests were staring in horror at the spectacle of his off tune howling.  He was already on his 3rd song with no signs of stopping.   Elvis had told the DJ that "The bride and groom requested that he play".  I had the plug pulled on him, literally.  He did receive a nice round of applause then, or rather I did when I cut him off!



Page Last Updated July 30, 2007