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: I have been at weddings where there was no receiving line and the couple made no apparent effort to circulate among and greet all their guests. So I imposed myself on them to say hello, but felt like I was intruding or being interruptive, to judge by their reaction. Maybe it was because I was an aunt of the bride — so not a real guest in their eyes? Face time with the couple is really important in attending a wedding, so I wonder if the guest should initiate that if the couple does not?
Answer: First, every guest — including close friends and family — is a real guest. Second, the traditional receiving line has fallen out of fashion in recent decades, so it’s no surprise that you’ve been to more than one wedding without one. This does create a situation in which either the couple must circulate and seek out their guests or the guests must pursue time with the couple. It’s of course challenging, if not impossible, for the bride and groom to find and chat up every guest even at a smaller wedding. Those couples with the best intentions and a solid game plan will find that they get caught up by chatty relatives and friends or when they happen to be searching for a specific individual, that person might be in another area of the reception hall taking a break from dancing, getting refreshments, visiting with another guest or, freshening up in the powder room. If the couple doesn’t find you, definitely hunt them down. Avoid approaching them when they are eating (it’s so rare that one gets to eat at their own wedding), dancing or cutting the cake and if they are already in conversation with another guest or guests, try to make eye contact so they see that you are “in line,” wait patiently for them to finish and then take your turn. Finally, be sure to keep it brief so they can move on to the next guest.
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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