Manners & Misdemeanors

How To Be the Perfect Wedding Guest, According to the Truly Rich Lady

Avoid becoming the guest of horror.

E-mail the Truly Rich Lady: [email protected]

Hello, lovers! I am writing to you from an undisclosed but painfully chilly location: a medieval castle dressed up for a wedding in the style of Game of Thrones. Because a pair of "direwolves" has taken interest in me, I find myself wedged inside a coat closet (full of fur), where I am having my third glass of wine. While fear and giddiness are commingling in my brain, I feel that now is a good a time to brush up on wedding guest etiquette. Here are the rules:

Do confirm.

RSVPs are a matter of courtesy. They let the bride and groom know that, yes, you are happily available for this most important day of their lives and will partake in the lavish food, overflowing Champagne, and international entertainment. Or let them know that unfortunately you have another important engagement and are thus freeing your spot (and their investment) for another guest.   

Do dress up.

A BFF from grade school called me up recently to invite me to her Manila reception. She had already had her intimate Georgetown wedding but still wanted to celebrate with all her loved ones, including me, an old friend from that long ago time when we all still had our natural hair color. I inquired if it was a formal affair, and she told me that it was, “very casual, Si-si! Very!” So I put on a pair of fluid pants with a conservative top, day jewelry, and closed heels. When I arrived, the men were in suits and the Doyennes of Manila wore their best May Flower Parade gowns. The lesson: It’s best to be dressed. Also, I am going to have to re-evaluate this friendship. 

Don’t be late.

If you are arriving 30 minutes after the appointed start time on the invitation, it is probably best not to enter the church. Nothing is more aggravating than the screeching of a 100-year-old door being opened or the clattering of heels across stone floors or the general bumbling of a late and lost person—all of which interrupt the magic of the moment. If you insist on attending the ceremony despite your lateness, enter very quietly. I suggest floating. 


Don’t bring a date.

I know. The temptation to show off your latest squeeze—an investment banker with a Clooney-ish face—to other women will be high, but unless it has been specifically indicated on the invitation that you are welcome to bring a plus one, do not bring Clooney. Bringing another body is very inconsiderate to the bride, bridesmaid, and/or mother of the bride, who have worked tirelessly to perfect the most politically neutral seating arrangement.

Don’t get too drunk.

I myself like to get into that perfect zone of light intoxication when my fingers start to tingle, my movements feel like half a second slower, and all of Uncle Daddy’s lame jokes become funny. But because this is not my party, I know to stop at two—okay, three—glasses of wine or Champagne or clear spirit. Beyond that, I risk making a fool of myself and, worse, ruining the party. The bride will never forget it. 

Do send a gift.

I have a friend who thinks that her presence at parties is a gift unto itself. It is not. Please send a gift because it is the proper thing to do. Pick from the carefully curated wedding registry. Or if you cannot find anything on the list that you are comfortable with giving, provide a cash gift. Just send one as a token of your love, well wishes, and congratulations. 

Do participate.

A lot of thought has been put into the wedding ceremony and activities, from the traditional throwing of the bouquet to the extras like the photo booth, food truck, or direwolves. You may feel uninterested or uncomfortable about taking part in, say, the religious ceremony or the wedding games, but you know what, this isn’t your day. Catch the bouquet, take the cheesy photos, eat the lemon cake, and pet the wolves! It will make the couple happy to know that their party is a success. As for me, I will slowly open the door now and meet my snarling fans.


About The Author
C.C. Coo
The Truly Rich Lady
C.C. Coo—also known as Town&Country’s Truly Rich Lady—is not a professional seeker of leisure as many people wrongly assume, for she has a real-life occupation: a SHE-EO of Important (Sub)Company of an Empire, for which she works very hard to make sure that the people in her care are not left wanting. She believes that manners are utterly important: “If society is like one of those costume jewelry worn by Jackie O or Diana, it would be the glue that keeps the veneer of a most beautiful thing from falling apart,” she says.
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