CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Here are some wedding stories for the history books:
Eating for two?
The bride did not receive a return RSVP card from her invited guest. She did, however, receive a text message on her cellphone that read, "We're coming, but during the dinner reception, my date wants two entrées because he is a big man and can't decide between the steak and the chicken." The dinners were $50 to $60 a plate, and, the date was not invited!
The bride and groom watched in horror as their inebriated best man began performing a striptease on the dance floor at their wedding reception. As he approached the bride's grandmother wearing nothing but his skivvies, he was quickly escorted away.
Cut the cake
During the reception a bride and groom started to cut their beautiful, and quite expensive, wedding cake, only to find that hungry and offensively rude wedding guests had already cut rather large pieces out of the cake for themselves before the couple had arrived.
This is not funny
Shortly after the rehearsal dinner, those invited by the groom decided to throw an impromptu "last-minute fling" bachelor party. As with many bachelor parties, this one got out of hand, and the groom was so intoxicated that those attending were able to get him on a plane bound for Las Vegas with nothing but a one-way ticket (this was obviously before the increased security at airports). Keep in mind, the wedding is scheduled to take place in less than 24 hours.
This is really, really not funny
During the wedding reception, several of the guests were able to sneak away and rig the couple's getaway car so that every time the groom hit the brakes the horn would sound. However, during the "rigging," they also damaged the brake line. As the bride and groom sped away from the reception, the brakes failed and the car crashed into an embankment. Fortunately, no one was hurt in what could have been a horrible tragedy.
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Much has been written about the proper etiquette for the bridal party, but what about the manners of those they invite to share their special day? What responsibility do they have? What is the etiquette of the being a good guest?
Before the big event
RSVP! Not doing so creates utter chaos for the couple.
If a preprinted reply card is not enclosed within the invitation, then you should respond with a handwritten note. Here's an example of a proper written response:
"Mr. and Mrs. John Goolsby accept with pleasure Mr. and Mrs. Gary Good's kind invitation to their daughter's wedding Saturday, the seventeenth of November, 2012."
If you cannot attend, then write "We regret that we are unable to accept the kind invitation of Mr. and Mrs. Gary Good."
If a preprinted response card is enclosed, then fill in the blank, Mr. and Mrs. John Goolsby "will" or "will not" attend. Feel free to add a note of congratulations on the card if you like.
Unless the invitation specifically states that you may do so, never bring an additional guest or your children. Do not add any name to the reply card that was not on the invitation. If their name is not included, they are not invited.
The presence of very small children is up to the bridal couple; however, whining children may detract from the wedding and create an annoying experience for all. If you do bring children, be prepared to exit the ceremony immediately following the first whimper.
Most bridal registry consultants say it is best to send a gift to the bride and groom before the wedding. This way they do not have an additional burden of transporting the gift home after the reception. Sending a gift beforehand reduces the chance that it will be lost or misplaced. If you must take a gift to the reception, it is best to place the card inside the gift before it is wrapped. This helps to eliminate the risk that the card may become separated from the gift.
If the couple is registered at a particular store, it is not mandatory to choose a gift from the registry. It does, however, assure that you will purchase something that is wanted.
Etiquette dictates that the couple has up to one year after the wedding to write a thank-you note for a gift received (talk about cutting some slack!). If you haven't gotten a thank-you note within a year, then it is appropriate -- and perhaps a little uncomfortable -- to contact the couple to inquire if they have received the gift. However, if you had a gift sent directly from a store, then you might want first to contact the store to confirm that the gift was delivered.
If sending a check in lieu of a gift, be sure to make it payable to the bride and/or the groom. This way they both do not have to endorse the check. When doing this, it is best to use the bride's maiden name. It usually takes some time before her name changes (if she chooses to do so) on a bank account.
If you cannot attend a wedding or you receive an announcement that the wedding has already taken place, then it is not mandatory that you send a gift. However, you should at the very least, send a note of congratulations to the happy couple.