etiquette and meal choices for weddings

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-12-2002
etiquette and meal choices for weddings
12
Mon, 07-21-2003 - 10:47pm
I just don't understand what the deal is here. Could someone PLEASE explain to me what could possibly be rude about putting a "reply" card in with a wedding invitation? I think I heard one or two people say it is. Further, what on Earth would be rude about offering 2 or three meal choices on that reply card for the guest to check prior to mailing it back.

I JUST DON'T GET IT!!!

And does anyone else, besides me, think all these "etiquette" rules are WAY too relied upon? Personally, I don't care if I ever follow "etiquette.

Okmrsmommy-36, CPmom to DD-16 and DS-14

Pages

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 07-22-2003 - 11:27am
I don't think reply cards are rude, however I do think it's incredibly rude to bring someone to the wedding who is not on the invite. People spend a lot of time budgeting their wedding, and # of guests is a big part of that. If half the guests bring someone who wasn't invited in the first place, there will be a big problem! I don't think a single guest should bring a date unless it is specifically written on the invite. A wedding is to celebrate the union of two people, not a chance for a bunch of people they don't know to show up.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
Tue, 07-22-2003 - 2:22pm
Traditional rules of etiquette include the rule that when someone is invited to an event (like a wedding), the invited guest should reply in writing to the host indicating whether or not they will attend. I think people were saying that in order to follow these rules exactly, when we receive a wedding invitation we should write back personally and indicate if we will be attending or not so reply cards are not necessary.

My grandmother thinks that reply cards are tacky because she thinks they assume that (and I quote) "your invited guests are too lazy to respond appropriately to proper invitations." Of course, she's also 80, lives in the Deep South and thinks women should fill their days with Garden Club meetings.

Most people send reply cards because they are the only way, short of calling everyone you invite, to get a response to an invitation. I think it's the reply cards themselves people are saying are not totally proper, not the meal choice.

As far as I'm concerned it's totally fine for you not the care about proper etiquette - I don't usually quote all of the women in my family, but my mother always says that gracious behavior is showing care for the feelings of those around you. If those around you don't care about formal etiquette, then IMHO, you should feel free to ignore it if you want. My grandmother persists in sending handwritten responses to wedding invitations and discarding the RSVP cards - to me that is a not so subtle way to point out an etiquette breach and is the real opposite of gracious behavior.

Jessica

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-1999
Tue, 07-22-2003 - 3:25pm
I don't think the cards are rude. I think their necessity is caused by rudeness, in that people don't respond properly to invitations.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-28-2003
Tue, 07-22-2003 - 4:38pm
IMO -- reply cards, rude or not, is a ncecessity! I bet a good majority of people will not respond if there were no reply cards and imagine having to call each and every one of those people to get an accurate head count for the reception. It made my head spin just to have to call the ones who didn't bother sending back the *reply* cards to my wedding!

As for the meal choices, I did read that it wasn't "proper etiquette" to ask for preferences on the reply card, but I did it anyway. I wanted to have a meat/fish option for my guests and I wasn't about to pay for double the amount of food.

Now, do people think that it is tacky/rude to include in the invitation packet where the couple is registered? I think it may be, but it sure helps when picking out gifts.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
Tue, 07-22-2003 - 6:29pm
IMO, it's definitely tacky to include in the invitation where the couple is registered.

If people want to know they can ask "Are you registered anywhere?" rather than be not so subtly told what to buy and where to buy it. It's pretty easy to ask someone in the wedding party that question and they can pass on the name of the store(s).

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 07-23-2003 - 1:05am
I don't like reply cards because you are implying that the guest doesn't know to RSVP. That said, I did not include reply cards and I only received three written responses, about a dozen if you include email. A few in town guest even verbally told me one thing and then did the opposite. I gather from some other brides, a fair number of people won't RSVP even with reply cards, so I think the problem tends to be more with the guests than the host.

I have never had to make a meal selection in advance, so I think taking a poll on what people would like to eat would be a little strange.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 07-23-2003 - 12:57pm
Meal selection is pretty normal around here, if it's not a buffet. At my SIL's wedding, they had the choices of chicken, filet mignon, or vegetarian. (Bay area.. LOL) I think it is so the caterers/restaurant know how much of each to make. (Roughly, because someone always changes their mind) I think it would be dumb to take a "poll" to decide what to serve in general though.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Wed, 07-23-2003 - 1:45pm
There are 2 issues here: 1) the use of a pre-printed reply card, and 2) presenting your guests with a menu and asking them to make an advance choice from it.

1) I think that reply cards are necessary in some situations, but they are awkward, because they are slightly insulting to your guests. Sending one implies that they are either so ignorant that they do not know that they should send a written response, or that they are simply too lazy to do so. As I said in another post, I sent *some* response cards out with invitations, in situations where past experience told me that the person in question had problems with remembering to answer invitations. I didn't invite anyone I did not know well, so I knew who would respond and who might not. I don't especially appreciate getting them along with an invitation, but I know that the hosts probably mean well, so I tend to compromise with how I handle them. I send a personal handwritten response, and then enclose the printed card anyway, so they can add it to the stack.

2) I've never personally seen a menu choice printed on a response card for a wedding. I have seen them on registration forms for business meetings and conventions, where I (or my company) actually pay for the meal as part of the fee I pay to participate. If I saw a menu choice blank on a wedding invitation response card, I would find it a bit off-putting. To me, it smacks of an attempt to lure guests with the quality of the food.

When you put very specific choices, such as "Chateaubriand, Filet of Sole, or Cornish game hen" on the card, you are also, in effect, offering a choice of price ranges. That sets up ugly possibilities. I have heard horror stories of couples who weigh the value of a gift given against the value of the meal eaten, but until I heard about these cards, I couldn't imagine how they possibly kept track of that. Now I know.

Weddings, in particular, are strange in terms of food issues. For most of us, a wedding is a religious ceremony, and a very significant one. There is a presumption that if you know someone well enough to want him at your wedding, you would also know him well enough to be aware of whether or not he is religiously observant, and of what faith. It is also presumed that you will know if the person has significant health-related dietary restrictions. If you know those things, you should have the information needed to insure that you don't offer any food to him that he is prohibited from eating, such as pork to a Jew, or beef to a Hindu. However, if an invited guest has food limitations that involve preparation conditions, I would expect that the person would write or call in advance to tell me of them, and I would understand if he/she felt he could not attend the reception if I could not accommodate those restrictions. For instance, if someone had a life-threatening peanut allergy, but the caterer could not swear that the kitchen was absolutely peanut-free, then I would expect that the guest would not attend. (Of course, this depends on how close the particular guest is to the celebration. If the person with the peanut allergy was the groom's mother, I would change caterers, of course. If she was Cousin Judy's nephew's wife, I would just accept her regrets.) On the other hand, if the person simply did not care for the entree that was served, I would expect that he/she would just eat around it. That's the expectation for vegetables, even when an entree choice was offered. (Personally, I would not use a caterer who could not manage to come up with a few servings of an alternative meal at the last minute, should the need arise.)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Wed, 07-23-2003 - 4:49pm
I'll address some of your points....<>

Wow! i never thought that people thought i was ignorant or lazy about responding because of a response card. Of course, that could be because my mom never sent a written response, she just always returned the little card. That is the way it has been done in our family for over the 30+ years that i've been around. Therefore, no one in my immediate family or dh and my extended families would even think to be insulted because that IS the way it's been done for many, many, many years for all of the wedding and bar/batmitzvah celebrations.

<>

Again, it never occured to me to be offended or insulted since that's the way it has always been done in our families, at least as far back as my bat-mitzvah over 26 years ago.

Also, we do invite family that we don't know very well because we have relatives all over the country that we don't get to see regularly, but who will make the trip to visit for just such a special occasion -- such as my dad's 80 year old cousins from Philadelphia, my aunt and uncle in Florida, dh's cousins in Seattle and Los Angeles. they're invited to the weddings and bar/bat mitzvot because they're family and to not invite them would be rude and insulting (at least in our family and dh's).

<>

And it's common place around here. So common that no one bats an eye at it or even gives it a 2nd thought.

<>

Having choices available and included on the menu card does not "off-put" anyone in this area because again, it is common place. Why would we need to lure them with the "quality of the food"? They're coming to see my son become a bar-mitzvah (huge milestone in jewish tradition) and visit with family. Yeah, we're giving them a "glimpse" of the quality of the food, but only because we ARE offering CHOICES and I must find out what they like to eat.

It also becomes a more convoluted issue...suppose i put on the response card...BEEF, CHICKEN, FISH....Wouldn't quite have the same impact as Prime Rib, Chicken Marsala and Broiled Filet of Sole....and what if the first three options were given, someone chooses CHICKEN and finds that it's chicken marsala -- and they HATE marsala sauce and mushrooms???

<>

N horror stories here as they are all offered within the same price range at the catering hall that we are using. could we have relatives that do this (weigh the gift against the meal)? maybe, but it would be the extreme exception, not the rule.

eileen

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 07-24-2003 - 11:38pm
You don't typically pay the caterer a different amount based on what meal people choose. You pick 2 or 3 choices to make available for your guests, and pay the caterer or reception hall a flat price per guest. The meal choice is not to "lure" or "impress" anyone, but to make sure they don't have to sit in front of a plate of food that they hate. I would hate if I didn't have a choice - I am a very picky eater, and if I went to a formal event and had a medium rare steak or any kind of fish plopped in front of me, I'd go hungry. I don't think you HAVE to give people a meal choice, but it sure is a nice way to treat guests, IMO.

Anyway, it's probably regional. Here in the NE, meal choice on the response card is pretty standard. The only time I have not recieved a meal choice on my card was for a buffet style reception. My own wedding's invite didn't have a meal choice on the reply card, because I selected a meal with both filet mignon and chicken on the plate. I figured they could eat whichever they liked (or both). Most people like chicken or red meat to some degree. I just special ordered a couple vegetarian plates for a few guests that didn't eat meat and that was it.

-Deb

 

Pages