Thursday, August 13, 2009

Etiquette Challenge Workshop #1: The Endless Wedding Weekend

Welcome to the first Etiquette Challenge Workshop. All readers are invited to suggest a gracious solution in Comments to the question of the week below.

Etiquette Challenge Workshop Question: You have been invited to be guest at a weekend of destination wedding events for a couple you know well. You are not in the wedding party. The events begin on Thursday afternoon and end after brunch on Sunday. They will include three dinners, (including the wedding), one luncheon, one brunch, golf and beauty outings (all of these events being separate invitations), as well as numerous sideline outings. Will you attend all these events? If not, how will you decline?

I would love for you to contribute! Future dilemma questions can be emailed to me at

Photo credit: Martha Stewart Weddings


Deanna said...

Dearest Blushing Hostess,
With individual Invitations to each event, I would think that it would be appropriate to RSVP each of the individual Hosts by mailing a personal note to each Host of the event. Even if the event were hosted by the same individual, I'd keep the replies seperate since all events were by seperate invitation.

If the invitation has a reply form with stamped envelope, I would use this to reply. If not, a personal paper reply in envelope would be used and mailed in a timely fashion.

Since this marrying couple are dear friends of my husband and self, we would be attending all of the activities to celebrate this couple during this festive week-end. It would be an honor to participate.

If for some reason during the events, we couldn't attend one or more due to illness or emergency, a personal telephone call with regrets to the Host of that particular event would be given a short gracious explanation with apology for any inconvenience it may have caused. Best wishes and will visit with you later.

Afterwards, a personal letter would be written to Host as well as to the marrying couple.

Blushng Hostess, Thank you for hosting this Etiquette Challenge Workshop. This is a fun exercise!

I look forward to reading the comments.

May you have a very Blessed day,

Pigtown-Design said...

I am not a huge fan of destination weddings. Since most Americans only get two weeks of vacation, I do not really want to spend a couple days of that at a place where I most likely wouldn't have chosen (think Mexican coastal resort) with people I do not know, doing things that someone else has decided will be fun.

Unless it's a very close relative, I'd decline. I've been to enough of these events to be a little wiser in my old age.

Sorry to be such a downer, but I think that destination weddings are a very selfish concept. Bridezillas at home are bad enough, but being captive for days on end with one is beyond what I can bear.

Southern Aspirations said...

Hehe! Have to laugh at Pigtown... Because I was a destination bride! But not a Bridezilla--a gracious hostess the entire time. In my defense, we asked key guests beforehand if they would attend, gave lots of advance notice, took care of everyone while there, and had a very limited guest list (35 people). That is the beauty of the DW- the people we truly love (and love us) and will be a significant part of our lives together-were there. The "friends for right now" were not. Plus, if folks have to travel for the wedding anyway, (which was the case for all of our guests) why not go to a great place?

So here's my thoughts- depends on where the DW is (i.e., do you want to spend time there), your relationship to the bride and groom, and (oh to have to be practical) your ability to take time off.

Since you seem to have separate invites for each event, I would RSVP separately. Are separate RSVPs provided? If not, a lovely little note- like the traditional written-out RSVP card, would be a great way to specify which events you can attend and which you can't.

I think brides (perhaps in part because of all the negative reactions to DW) want to host people the entire time so provide lots of activities. If you don't want to be there for that long (or can't) it is perfectly reasonable to attend only a few of the events. Just be sure to make it to the key event (the wedding!) :-) I really don't think one should feel any obligation. That said, if it's a place you really want to go- or are quite close to the couple and other invitees- by all means go to as many events as possible!

It's amazing to me how the subject of Destination Weddings get people riled up. And now, having had one, I admit I'm a little defensive. But, for what is hopefully a very significant and memorable life event, I don't think you can beat having your nearest and dearest gathered to celebrate and to be able to spend quality time with your guests. I much prefer that to the running around to each table at the reception to say a quick hello to hundreds of people. But like design/fashion, each of us has our own preference!

The Countess of Nassau County said...

I have two small children, and destination weddings with multiple events can be exhausting for the kids and taxing for parents in terms of finding child care in an unfamiliar destination, to say nothing of the fancy events that the kids will find torture. I would have no hesitation declining an invitation if I thought it was in the best interest of family sanity. Child care could also put you in a situation where you have to cherry pick events, and I would offer an explanation only if asked, ie. "hubby was more than happy to stay back at the hotel with the kids during our beauty outing". I would RSVP to each event in the same way I would to any other invitation.

Blushing hostess said...

Deanna - masterful strokes, Emily Post should have consulted you!

Pigtown - When I was in my twenties with tons of disposable time, income, energy, and frequent flier miles, I did not hesitate.

Now, there are too many thigns i love right here and if I am not vacationing with them, I cannot give up the time for four days of activities either...

SA - The dw takes all kinds and I have seen and wished for brides like you, and known and been a victime of the other type.

Indeed, you make a good point, if there were very close, if I knew them well enough to know I did not need to go to every single event, I might be more into them when I once again can travel at length.

Ultimately, the best suesstion I can give is to the bride is that the DW is a great idea for a laid-back soul who can roll with the punches, so to speak. If she doesnot have many guests or many who attend each event and will not be hurt, then she is the girl for this party. But it is a hard event for someone who wants everyone and everything just so...

Ah-hem, and now, owning up to my own shortcomings: I planned a destination wedding for us in Newport where we had lived for a time and my anxiety about every potential disaster kept me up night after night 18 months in advance. We moved it to my family's home church in the Hudson Valley because we knew all the ins and outs. Newport was not right, the HV was great and is my home, but looking back, I should not have allowed my family to talk us out, initally, of going to the Stella Maris Chapel at Sullivan's Island. In hundsight, I would have withstood any amount of insults to be married there. Live and learn.

Countess - Yes, I sigh exhaustedly after getting, I think four hours of sleep int he last six months and know exactly how you feel. Honestly, if I had all the help in the world, I would still have to be selective because at this stage in our young family's life, I just do not have it in me and it is hard for me to say, six weeks in advance if we can manage. I find it difficult to commit unless it is the wedding of one of my closest pals but, this too will pass...

Be well and g'night ya'll. See you next week when we have a Blushing letter write-in: bring your sense of humor!