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Wediquette Wednesday: Can we skip the dinner and briefly attend only part of the reception?


Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. (Note: Questions may be edited for clarity and brevity.)


Question: We are attending an out of state wedding in an area that, compared to New Orleans, has lower vaccination rates, higher rates of COVID-19 cases and no proof of vaccination or negative test mandate for events and venues. We’ve made several trips there on family business throughout the pandemic and have been exorbitantly cautious due to my husband’s pre-existing condition (he has asthma). We’d like to attend the reception, but want to minimize time spent sans masks, so we are thinking it would be best to attend only the latter part of the reception, wear masks and to not stay very long. Can we skip the dinner and briefly attend only part of the reception?

Answer: As I’ve mentioned throughout the pandemic, it’s important for everyone to a) do what’s best for their health and the health and wellbeing of their loved ones; b) to communicate preferences and comfort levels to others; and c) be flexible and extend as much grace as we can to others. Because the reception generally involves the couple paying to feed people and provide beverages, it’s important to connect with the couple. Communicate your concerns about health and safety clearly and without judgement. Include your husband’s doctor’s advice to your husband, if you have it. Ask the couple if a possible solution is for you to skip the dinner and come for the latter part of the reception. If they aren’t keen on the idea, let it go. Be sure to get with them on this at least two weeks prior to the reception so they can inform the food and beverage coordinators. If they are OK with it, and you are friendly with another guest, ask the guest for a heads up when dinner service has ended and make a nonintrusive entrance into the venue. If you don’t know anyone, use your best judgement. If the couple has expressed that they would prefer you either stay for the entire reception or not attend, tell them that you respect their wishes and look forward to the ceremony. Do your best to catch up with them after the ceremony, but if you are unable to, text, call or email the next day to offer your congratulations. Again, this is all about flexibly and grace.


Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.





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