For Our Guests

printed on W@W by John and Benz Rana
Here's a simple Q&A for the wedding guest - the person who gets to prepare the least during the wedding.

Read on the DO'S and DONT'S to get through such a social event.

I got an invite but have no plans of attending; should I still send a gift?
First things first. If you won't be able to attend for whatever reason, please RSVP. A big chunk of the wedding budget goes to the reception and it will be utterly inconsiderate of you to just give up a reserved seat without letting the couple know. Give them the chance to assign that seat to another guest in their "waiting list". Having that out of the way, let's go to your question. YES, it is customary to still send a gift.

The envelope bears only my name. May I ask if I can bring a date?
DON'T bring a date unless your invitation specifically says "and Guest". Bringing unexpected guests is very impolite. Neither should you ask the couple's permission if you may bring one or not. Don't put your friends on the spot. We Filipinos don't really like turning down people. So how would you know if their "YES" means yes or not? Spare them that trouble.

The invite says "Mr. and Mrs." Could we bring our kids?
Never bring the kids unless "& Family" is indicated. Soon-to-weds don't usually invite children for a good reason. Kids get bored or cranky during hour-long masses. Their tantrums might disrupt the solemnity of the ceremony. Weddings are usually formal events typically not appropriate for the little ones. To be blunt about it, inviting a child at the reception means adding two mouths to feed -- the kid's and the yaya's.

But my son/daughter is the bearer/flower girl. I'm sure it's understood my other child is invited.
Seriously, if the couple wanted to invite your other kids, they would have specified that on the envelope, don't you think? So there goes your answer, NO...

But I'm breastfeeding, I'm sure my friends will understand, won't they?
Granting that it's an infant and he or she won't eat at the reception? Let's even assume that your baby won't wail at the church. The answer is still NO! Not even if you've perfected the art of being a cow in a long gown. Four words: Breast Pump and Babysitter!

I don't have a clue what gift to give them. Any ideas?
The average PInoy soon-to-weds would always prefer monetary more than any other gift. It is the unspoken fact. We're telling you now to make it easier for them to let you know what they REALLY want, unless they indicated that already in their invites. 

If you're not comfortable giving cash, you may ask the couple where they are registered or even if they are registered and choose from the items listed under their names in the store. You can also ask them where they're residing after the wedding and take the cue from there. If you know they will be migrating abroad or living with their parents for the time being, monetary gifts would be the most logical and practical to give.

I'm convinced. So how much cash should I give them? I don't want to give too little nor too much.
That's a hard thing to answer. It's really a case-to-case thing. Try to put yourself in the couple's shoes. How much should a guest of your stature give you without being branded a cheapskate? Also consider your relationship with the couple. If you're good friends of the couple's parents, you'll probably shell-out more than if you were simply the bride's Girl Friday.

Could I skip the ceremony and head straight to the reception?
You can. But you shouldn't. You are invited to THE wedding - that's the part where they exchange their "I do's" The reception is where the receiving line is. You can't be received if you're already seated in the hall, right?

Speaking of the Receiving Line, what should be the proper greeting?
Here's the rule: Say "Congratulations" to the groom and "Best Wishes" to the bride. if this rule gets mixed up in your head come wedding day, just say the two phrases together and look at both of them. That usually works.

Likewise, saying "Good Luck!" no matter how much pure your wishes are will also sound very inappropriate for obvious reasons.

During the banquet, is there anything I need to know?
Nowadays, the Reception Program usually have the guests on each table stand up and have their picture taken with the couple before being led to the buffet. This is done (a) for the couple's convenience by skipping the tiring Table-Hopping ritual just to have their pictures taken, and (b) for the guests' convenience so they won't have to wait very long for their turn in the buffet line.

Keep in mind that Buffet is NOT synonymous with "Eat-All-You-Can." Do not pile your plate full. Be courteous of those who have yet to be served. Don't worry. You can easily go for seconds.