Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Friday, August 3, 2012

Two Controversial Ideas Clarified for Wedding Guests…

#1. In a little European village many years ago, it was absolutely not possible for a family to entertain their neighbors and friends at a wedding, providing food and drink for everyone. They simply did not have the money. Few people did. It soon became a tradition that since every wedding celebration was a village affair; everyone who came brought something to contribute. Essentially the wedding meal became pot luck. Thus became the tradition that very few today call, “Cover-your-plate.” My research tells me that this idea is still practiced in some areas of the Northeastern United States.

CoverplateIn so many words, some brides – who have a low budgets – are suggesting that all guests have cash included in a wedding card as a gift to her wedding to “cover their plate” at the reception. When I first heard of this, my first thought was: “How ridiculous! That’s utter nonsense! Cut the budget – do anything – but don’t ask the guests to pay for their own meal.”

Let’s be clear this is NOT a reception norm. As a matter of fact some say the cover-your-plate custom is a myth perpetuated by greedy brides. This idea is largely disparaged and denied by every single etiquette expert, including Emily Post and Miss Manners.

Columnist, Carolyn Hax says, “How ridiculous — and grabby, and rude — the cover-your-plate requirement really is.” She continues, “It’s also not a requirement at all but instead a corrupt little myth. You are under no obligation to reduce your love and support for your friends into a quid pro quo with the wedding couple and their caterer.”

I agree!

coupledancing#2. What about “Plus 1?” Single bridesmaids and groomsmen do not get an automatic Plus 1. It’s not okay for guests to ask the bride to make exceptions. Unless your invitation says “and guest” it’s rude to ask the bride if you can bring your boyfriend or girlfriend. Wedding invitations are non-negotiable.

As another way to trim their wedding budgets, “many couples are not including ‘plus ones’ for their single guests,” says Claudia Lutman (etiquette expert). This goes against the once-standard rule that unattached guests of a certain age should be allowed to bring a date. The tricky part about breaking this rule is deciding what constitutes “single” – for example, a couple may have guests who are unmarried but live with their significant others. Sharon Naylor advises making a rule of inviting only “the non-married couples with whom you socialize.” Though some guests might be offended, “it’s one of those sticky things that is necessary in today’s financial era,” she says.

Anna Post writes in the Emily Post etiquette guidelines, “It’s not okay for guests to ask you to make exceptions, so it won’t be rude in the least [for brides] to stand by their guest list.” It may be an awkward conversation for the bride, but she shouldn’t hesitate to reach out and politely let the guest know that her wedding budget (and/or the size of her venue) doesn’t allow for any guest list additions.

Some generous brides invite their whole bridal party with dates or invite many of their single friends with dates. It may be an exception to invite a friend with a date when she is the only single friend in the wedding party. If you are a bride and groom on a budget, you may want to make a rule that you are only inviting guests with dates who are married, engaged or you may want to stretch it to people living together (no matter the sex). As for long-term boyfriends and girlfriends, it’s more or less up to the bride, but it’s smart for her to go with a hard and fast rule – all or none – to keep things fair across the board.

BONUS Article: Cover-your-plate Requirement a Myth by Greedy Brides

Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Website. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 470 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

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