Stepping In: Giving etiquette tips at a wedding

by epi on August 29, 2012

Q: At a very unorganized wedding recently my sister, who was a wedding planner had gone up to the Grooms Mother to let her know that the etiquette for eating was that the Bride and Groom should be the first to go through the buffet line. Did she do something wrong or was she out of place by helping her with the correct etiquette. It was a total mess because everyone started eating before the Bride and Groom even stepped foot into the room. She was just trying to be helpful and now the Grooms Mother told everyone that she does not like her. My sister is devistated by this.  Is there anything I can say to my sister that would make her feel as though she didn’t ruin her friends wedding?

A: Although your sister is correct that the guests should have waited to go through the buffet line until indicated and especially not before the bride and groom were present.  However, there is no “rule” that states that the bride and groom should be the first in a buffet line.  In fact, it is not uncommon for the couple to be brought “plates” from the buffet line.  Nonetheless, it was not your sister’s place to comment on the organization (or disorganization) of the reception.  Even though your sister’s intentions were meant to be helpful, her comments could have been interpreted as being critical since the damage, so to speak, was already done.  Your sister might look at this as a learning experience for the future but she certainly shouldn’t feel she “ruined” her friend’s wedding.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

DM September 3, 2012 at 11:38 am

My understanding is that part of etiquette is making others comfortable. Providing advice on how things should be properly done when there is no reasonable way to rectify the situation was unlikely to help the groom’s mother to enjoy her son’s wedding, so I think it may have been out of place. What could the groom’s mother do? Agree that the guests were rude? Tell those already at the buffet that they were not following the proper protocol? She certainly didn’t ruin the wedding, but she did put the groom’s mother in an uncomfortable position on a day she should be enjoying.

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