Friday, March 19, 2010

For the guests...

Most are obvious, but bear repeating!
  • Be nice: It may not be your special day, but it's someone's special day, so be on your best behavior. Just because you have a fully hosted bar, doesn't mean you get trashed. All the way from the ceremony speeches to the obligatory 'rail gaddi' dance marathon...
  • Don't Be Fashionably Late:  Be there on time...not indian standard time! Allow enough time to get to there 15 minutes early or more no matter what weather, traffic, or other acts of divine intervention pop up. Print out directions to both the ceremony and the reception (if it's at a different location). Many a wedding has been hampered by guests who got lost and showed up an hour late.
  • Don't Produce Sound Effects: While at a wedding and reception, turn off your Blackberries and cell phones, put them on vibrate, or better yet, don't even take them!
  • Don't Talk Trash: It may sound obvious, but it happens all the time at indian weddings. No matter how big or how loud a wedding is, things get overheard. So, be on your best and most polite behavior. No gossip about any of the other guests. No complaining out loud about anything - whether it's the food or the long line at the ladies' room. And no comparisons to other weddings! As far as the bride and groom and their families are concerned, this is a perfect day, and so it should be!
  • Don't Come Bearing Gifts: Whether you're planning on gifting the happy couple another toaster oven or cold hard cash, do them a huge favor and don't bring it on the wedding day. I know this goes against the typical indian custom of walking up to them/parents and showing your face but please don't! If you do, they have to keep track of it and haul it home at the end of the night. Send the gift ahead of time, or after the actual ceremony - at a time when they can really relax and enjoy it.
  • Don't Over Dress or Dress Down: Lord knows there's enough ostentatious display of goodies at indian weddings but RESIST the urge to deck out like a christmas tree. Whatever you choose to wear, make the effort to look your best for the bride and groom. They'll appreciate that you got dolled or duded up for the occasion. If the invitation doesn't specify dress code, put in a friendly email or call to the bride, groom, their parents, or close family to get more info.  
  • Be Patient: Contrary to your opinion, you don't HAVE to have a picture taken with the couple. Let the family and close friends take priority. Wait until the bride and groom start mingling to walk up and congratulate them. And puhleeze, don't start or stand in a line next to the riser, waiting to go up to them. Similarly, wait until dessert is brought out - don't send your kids to the kitchen asking for cake.
  • Kids: And as much as you may love your kiddos, don't take them if children aren't invited. If they, make sure your children are at their BEST behavior. How they behave reflects on your parenting skills - and no where is more obvious than a wedding when a certain child walks up and starts dancing next to the couple during their first dance and the parents adoringly gush at "how cute he is" from the sidelines. There is also nothing worse, if you continue to sit and watch the ceremony while your bawling child is in your lap, being a complete nuisance for everyone else!
  • Don't Steal the Show: Wedding ceremonies take all forms - from religious to poetic, musical, or humorous. Yes, sometimes they're long but be patient. Whatever the vibe, let the couple/family set the tone and follow their lead. If you're normally a loud, life-of-the-party type, bring it down a notch and let the wedding couple stand out. If you're a weeper, bring tissues and sit where you can sob without disturbing the ceremony. Same goes for those who simply can not bring themselves to be quiet during the nuptials. If the ceremony includes religious rituals, find out what you should do (or not do) ahead of time.
  • Don't Pig Out: If food is serve-yourself, avoid the buffet line stampede and wait until the crowd dies down. Also, avoid going back for thirds. Take a break and save room for dessert! Seconds might be okay, once you've seen that everyone has eaten. If the food is served sit-down, eat what is served without requesting substitutions or omissions, unless you have a food allergy. Otherwise, pick delicately or chow down, but don't gripe that you "don't like fish." Worse comes to worst, you can grab something on the way home!
  • Don't Stockpile Party Favors: At the end of the night, as you're saying your thank-yous and farewells, avoid the urge to hog all the super-cool (or yummy) party favors! You don't need to take some for people who weren't able to attend. You don't need extras. Take one for yourself, unless someone in the wedding party urges you to do otherwise.

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