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05.29.2003: Etiquette Schmetiquette
common-sense manners
for real-world living
1 2 3
wedding guest blunders ...
Q: I'm 21 years old and have been invited to the first wedding of my adult life, and I think I have committed a major wedding mistake.  I recently received an invitation to a friend’s wedding, and RSVP'd, indicating that I would be attending with a guest, a new boyfriend of mine.  However, after I mailed the letter I started thinking that maybe I shouldn't have assumed that I could bring a guest, let alone one who the couple getting married does not know. 

I asked my mother and she said that I probably shouldn't have done that, but I should ask the couple getting married if it would be alright to bring a guest, explaining to them that I don't know anything about being a proper guest.  They said it was fine to bring a guest...but of course they are going to say it.  At this point it would be rude not to.

After getting their permission I still do not feel any better about inviting a potentially unwanted guest.  How can I remedy this situation?  Should I still bring my boyfriend?  Or should I go solo like I was supposed to in the first place?  And if so, how do I nicely uninvite my boyfriend?  Will I be the only one there who brought an uninvited guest?  I need help!!!

The wedding is June 21st.  Please give me advice before then.

for the love of blunders,

A: Oy, that is a quandary. At this point, you’ve made your little etiquette faux-pas, and realized it, unfortunately just a tad too late. Such things happen to most of us at one point in our lives or another, so don’t beat yourself up too much more over the oops. Yes, you rather unfortunately, and obviously unintentionally, committed an etiquette breach when you replied to their initial invitation. And you subsequently put your friends into a bit of a pickle when you asked them whether it would be okay to bring a guest to their wedding; obviously, in hindsight, you no doubt realize it might have been better to apologize and then let them know you wouldn’t be bringing the boyfriend after all. But given the fact that your friends have already said it’s fine, I’d take their word that they really meant it when they said they’d be okay with you bringing your new boyfriend. It would in all likelihood be more irritating to them if, at this point in time, so close to the wedding, you suddenly called them up yet again to let them know that you’ve changed your mind about bringing a guest. They’ve no doubt already dealt with the little hassle of factoring in the extra guest to their plans, and have moved on to stressing out about a billion other things by now. The less you contribute to the last-minute chaos, the better. So go to the wedding, bring your boy with you as well, and help your friends celebrate their happy day. And definitely, definitely, definitely make sure that you and your boyfriend send them a really, really nice gift along with a thoughtful card, and preferably right away.

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