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