Sex Ed in Higher Ed

College instructor teaching human sexuality rants about the dumbing down of America, the lost art of manners, grammar and (the perfect combination of both) the thank you note. Also includes random rants about life, pet peeves, and sometimes raves about favorite things.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

How to be a Good Wedding Guest: More Life According to Teacher Lady

Another wedding yesterday. This one was (for the most part) really quite lovely. The bride could not have been sweeter. The usual suspects (the mother of the bride and the maid of honor) were also charming and low-key. It was a few of the guests, unfortunately, who were the problem.

A few people have told me I should write a book. I don't really think I have it in me to write a book, but I could write a hell of a pamphlet. And for a few years now, I have been meaning to publish a pamphlet about weddings. I realize the world does NOT need another wedding book - it doesn't even need a wedding pamphlet. But this wouldn't be like Jessica Simpson's "How to Have Your Dream Wedding on a Budget of only $1.5 million" book. (Actually the title is Jessica Simpson I Do: Achieving Your Dream Wedding. Now having a wedding is an achievement? Sheesh. No wonder the divorce rate is stratospheric.)

Oh, no. This would be a completely different spin. It would be entitled, "How Not to be a Huge Pain in the Ass at Someone Else's Wedding." And it would never sell a single copy because no one ever thinks they're being a pain in the ass. Although - can you IMAGINE the social scandal that would ensue if some bride bought hundreds of copies and enclosed one with each invitation? That is a delicious scenario and I relish it like a bite of expensive chocolate mousse. I know - see you all in hell, etc.,

Anyway, since I adore all of you dear readers who take time out of your lives to read my yammerings, I now present you with an exclusive! sneak! preview! of my never-before-seen Teacher Lady/wedding planner pamphlet!

How Not to Be a Pain in the Ass at Someone Else's Wedding:
  • Don't vomit in public.

The end.

Just kidding. But that's probably one of the most important ones. Here are a few others:

  • Last night, post-ceremony, pre-reception, a guest approached me. "Are you the event planner?" she asked. Fuckin' stupid radio. That and my sour expression probably give me away every time. Yes, I'm the planner, nods, smiles. "I didn't want to bother the mother of the bride, but I'm lactose and gluten intolerant. I'm just wondering what will be available for me to eat?" How about the bottom of my shoe, lady? I'm pretty sure you won't find any dairy OR gluten in it. Seriously!!? Seriously. Now is the time to inform someone of your food allergies? The plated salads have already been pre-set, the band is playing the standard, "Let's all sit down and eat" music and now is when you tell me you're lactose and gluten intolerant? I can't imagine a better time for you to give anyone that information. I had a copy of the menu and double-checked it. I could barely contain my joy, "We're having seared salmon!" I declared. "Oh, thank you, Jesus, for the seared salmon," I thought. I was almost dancing with joy. Until she said those hated words, "Well, I can't eat it if it's been prepared with butter. Can you please go check?" Again. Why now? Why not 35 minutes ago? Because you know, if you had told me (or, heck, someone in the family, oh, I don't know, when you got your freakin' invitation), perhaps I could have said to the chef, "Hey! Please don't put butter on that one because it's for the lactose-gluten-guest who wants to rain on everyone's parade." So folks, those of you with dietary restrictions: While guests are being seated for dinner? Not the time to mention the 74 things you can't eat. I think that should be easy to understand.
  • I may offend some people, but: Do. Not. Take. (Under any circumstances!) a place card/table number/seating thing that is not your own. Unless (and this is a very specific unless) you have said to the other person, "When I get to the reception, I'll get your place card/table number/seating thing." And really, you shouldn't do that because here's what happens. At EVERY wedding!!! Every one! EVERY damn one! (Am I making myself clear!? This drives me crazy!) Mrs. Smith walks up to place card table, where I am often stationed with a back-up alpha-numeric list. (You'll see why this is important in a minute.) Mrs. Smith says to her hubby, "Oh, look! The Crapmeisters are here. I wonder where they're sitting?" And then she takes the Crapmeisters' card, looks at the table number and says, "Oh, they're with us at Table Number 'we'll-make-the-planner want-to-kill-herself.' I'll just grab their card for them." And in the instant that Mrs. Smith says she'll grab their card, someone turns to me to tell me they're sad because they didn't get their netted tulle Jordan almond favor or the ring bearer wet his pants and do I have any extra Pull-ups and I miss a crucial piece of information. Because 10 minutes later, the Crapmeisters are in front of the table and all three of us are combing through 300 place cards, trying to figure out why we can't find their card. Then Mrs. Crapmeister says, "I have never been SO offended! I've known the Peoplepleasers for 35 years. I can't believe they don't have a table for us!" And luckily, my alpha-numeric list comes in handy and I tell the Crapmeisters where their table is and apologize profusely for any confusion, knowing perfectly well that some yahoos took their card. But on the way to the table, the Crapmeisters will run into the Peoplepleasers and say, "Clearly, your wedding planners are not up to snuff. Can you believe they didn't have a place card for us?" and we're off and running. So people: Trust me. Your dear friends the Crapmeisters will never in a million years think that you just "did them a favor" by grabbing their place card, so don't do it. Hands to yourselves, okay? Your card, and your card only. Thank you.
  • Back in May, a guest walked into the reception with her two daughters. She looked at me, giggled in a pretend-embarrassed way and said, "Now, don't be mad at me." (I guess my snarky bitterness exudes from every pore.) I pretend-smiled. "Oh, come now. Why would I be mad at you?" Guest says, "Well, I only RSVPd for one, but BOTH of my daughters came home from college to surprise me for Mother's Day and I couldn't just leave them at home, could I? So, I didn't think it would be a big problem if I just brought them with me. How hard can it be to find two extra plates, right?" Lady. Ahem. Lady. You have two daughters. Do not tempt the Fates. Karma is a bitch, and when your daughters get married, you will find out exactly how hard it is to find two extra plates when some clown brings two extra people to your reception. And I hope, as it was the case the day that you made some other bride's mother (ostensibly your "friend") freak out, that the ballroom is packed, and each table is a 10-top, and there are not any no-shows, and there is absolutely no place to seat two additional people, except maybe in the corner on the floor. And I hope I am there to see it. Even if it's looking up at you from the burning flames of hell.
  • No, you cannot switch tables. Have you been living under a rock? Don't you know that doing wedding reception seating charts is only slightly more daunting than the seating chart for the White House Press Corps dinner? Aunt Millie hasn't talked to Cousin Myrtle in 17 years, so they have to be across the room from each other. Susan dated Mary's husband back when they were all in college and they can't be anywhere near each other. Rick and Uncle Paul used to be best buds until someone borrowed someone's socket wrench and never returned it, so we're going to have to split them up and put them with the other side of the family. It's just a few hours for one night of your life. Who cares if you're at the "losers' table?" You probably deserve it. I know - me, hell, handbasket.
  • And finally: Do not be late. Do not, do not, do not, do not be late. Do not come crashing into the church/temple/museum/field of daisies/primate house at the zoo with your faux whisper (which happens to be louder than your normal voice would) telling me your sob story about getting lost or losing your hotel room key or whatever your problem is. The bride could give a rat's ass. She will give a rat's ass however, that everyone is not staring at her stunning bridal glory, but is now turned around and staring at you. And you lose points for asking the obvious. As you look at me and then look up at the front of the church/temple/monkey house at the zoo, you must see the officiant, the bride, the groom, the assembled maids and men standing underneath the chuppah, the three-piece string quartet musicians, their bows hovering over their instruments, as the bride and groom slide cool metal rings on each other's fingers. So why do you ask in your loud whisper, "Oh, am I late?" What do you think?

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Blogger Oh, The Joys said...

At my first wedding (my PRACTICE marriage), the best man gave a toast... Top 10 reasons why the groom and I were perfect for each other. (I had NEVER met him before the wedding.) All ten reasons involved me being totally wasted drunk and or peeing on myself. My mom yelled from the reception room, "There's still time to call it all off!" Immediately after, the best man passed out on the terrace. With a blessing like that - is it any wonder that groom and I didn't make it?

July 23, 2006 6:37 PM  
Blogger liberalbanana said...

Oh, have I mentioned lately how much I hate weddings? I HATE WEDDINGS.

I guess when you work with the public, you're going to inevitably run into some morons. But your stories just blow my mind! I mean, who thinks it's okay to bring more people to a wedding than you've RSVP'd for?! That's insane. If the lady didn't want to leave her daughters alone, she should've stayed home with them. Or just shown up for a brief bit and then hit the road.

It's great of you to post these tips though - I hope someone out there learns something from it. (I did - who knew that throwing up in public was a no no? Oopsie!)

July 23, 2006 6:51 PM  
Blogger denise said...

LMAO! your funny. I love the idea of slipping the pamphlet into the invitations. seriously we all underestimate how many people acctually need those. I think your right and brides all over the world will make you rich rich rich. Moms will forever say "and the most important NOT forget to put the how not to be a pain in the ass pamphlets into the invitations."

July 23, 2006 8:02 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

I would buy a box of those pamphlets to mail with the invites in a heart beat. But, I'm the odd duck and don't give a rat's ass if people are offended. Most that know me would laugh their asses off at something like that. Those I offend wouldn't situation if you ask me.

And this whole seating chart thing baffles me. You see, I come from the land of find-your-own-fucking seat. Seriously. I've never been to a wedding with assigned tables, not even my "favorite aunt" (the nickname P has give my snobby-ass-social-climbing-aunt-who-married-money). Baffling I tell you, baffling. Around here, a couple tables are marked "reserved" for immediate family and the rest is kind of like flying on Southwest. LOL!

July 23, 2006 10:53 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I found you through Toddled Dredge and love your blog. The pamphlet is hilarious but even funnier are the reviews of Jessica's wedding book on Amazon.

July 24, 2006 6:25 AM  
Blogger Erika said...

WHY do people take other people's placecards? As if they are a chore to be completed and they are "helping out"? DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND THEY SERVE A PURPOSE?! FOR GOD'S SAKE!

July 24, 2006 7:40 AM  
Anonymous Ginny said...

My goodness...that make me super-extra glad I did't have a fancy-pants wedding. What a nightmare.

We had no assigned seating and a potluck dinner that family helped provide. Call me WT, but it was great. :-)

July 24, 2006 8:24 AM  
Blogger Art Nerd Lauren said...

kfqpiCan I add a tip? Please don't fight over the garter, boys. It never ends well. There was a fight over my garter at my wedding, and the guy who rightfully caught it was a gentleman and let the dirty garter stealer have it. Would have been more entertaining and a great deal less awkward if bachelor number one had done the deed.

Yes, I know the garter toss is pretty tacky. I didn't care, I had a Sixers garter and wanted the world to see it!!

July 24, 2006 8:54 AM  
Blogger Lazy Lightning said...

LOL! I'm getting married in just over 2 weeks. Thankfully I overestimated the amount of plates just in case extra people show up... And I'm aware already that two of my guests are diabetic, one has celiac's disease (no wheat gluten), and one is a vegan. (I heart you, fruit and veggie platter!)

And I'm not doing assigned seating. That just seems ridiculous to me because at every wedding I've ever been to, nobody wants to sit with whoever the bride and groom thought they should sit with. Also, we have no wedding planner, so people with problems can aim them directly at me, if they dare. And knowing me, they probably won't dare.

July 24, 2006 8:59 AM  
Blogger Lazy Lightning said...

Oh and did I mention we couldn't even INVITE my groom's gramma, because history of family weddings shows that she would have told the whole family, then brought along with her TWENTY OR MORE unwelcome-but-nosy distant relatives the family doesn't exactly mesh well with...

July 24, 2006 9:02 AM  
Blogger Meg said...

You know you have talent when every time a reader finishes your latest blog entry she thinks, 'that was her best one yet!' I laughed to myself thinking that about this latest one. As a tomboy who hated every minute of her wedding planning, I don't know how you survive these events without drugs, alcohol or both. The lactose-intolerance narcissist, bringing extra guests and doing the 'favor' of picking up someone else's place card just proves truth is funnier than fiction. If just for the purpose of entertaining your fans, please don't quit this event planning gig anytime soon.

July 24, 2006 1:58 PM  
Blogger Mamacita said...

Holy scheisse on a shingle, I think I adore you. May I put you on my blogroll?

July 24, 2006 3:26 PM  
Blogger Teacher lady said...

Thank you, Mamacita, you MAY put me on your blogroll. I'm flattered!

July 24, 2006 5:13 PM  
Blogger Fraulein N said...

How ... how is that HELPING, to take someone's place card? Damn, people are stupid.

July 25, 2006 8:53 AM  
Blogger desiree said...

I am so utterly annoyed for you that I cannot post a coherant comment so I will just say: Liked the post. Hate the people. We will be in hell together.

July 26, 2006 6:09 PM  
Blogger desiree said...

Also? The gluten lady? I might have sucker punched her.

July 26, 2006 6:11 PM  
Blogger Rae said...

can we add one:
Don't make off with the centerpieces.

Even if, by some strange fate, the couple/MoB/whatever owns said centerpieces...there may be plans for them...or it may be part of a set that they said "oh, we can use it like this for a big deal" Usually, the centerpieces are rented. Which means said bridal couple/parents/folks footing the biil will suddenly go into shock.

July 27, 2006 9:58 AM  

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