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Etiquette Quandaries Solved

DILEMMA
The sweetheart table: Cheesy or acceptable?

SOLUTION
Seating yourselves at a sweetheart table (a small table for two) is the path of least resistance, but frankly, they’re off-putting and bizarre—a trend best left to gaudy banquet-hall weddings from the eighties. Just go the traditional route: Sit with your parents (make sure both sets are included), your immediate families, or your bridal party sans guests. Practicality (table size, style of service) will dictate what works best.


DILEMMA
What’s the best way to keep rampant roasting in check?

SOLUTION
There’s nothing worse than an inebriated guest mistaking your reception for a soapbox. Consider setting a preapproved, predetermined toast order (bring it up casually at the rehearsal dinner so as not to seem control-freakish). This is neither the time nor place for the father-of-the-groom to catch the crowd off-guard with a Socratic-method question-and-answer trivia session about the bride and groom. If you start to feel squirmy or victimized, jump out of your seat screaming, “Conga time!” like a maniac.


DILEMMA
How can I make all my guests feel welcome?

SOLUTION
The traditional receiving line came into existence for just this reason: Get everyone in one spot at ceremony’s end, give them all a kiss on the cheek, and then proceed to your party-of-a-lifetime with a carefree conscience. That said, there’s nothing sillier than a casual party of twenty queuing up like so many line-dancers to take part in an admittedly stiff, unnatural ritual, so use your judgment.


DILEMMA
I want a theme wedding. Will my guests be annoyed?

SOLUTION
How do you define “theme”? If you want everyone in white, no big deal. If you ask guests to embrace a retro theme, that’s just vague enough. But if you obligate them to wear eighties frocks and high hair, expect skimpy gifts and withering glances from irritated guests. Unless your wedding date is October 31.

In consultation with Elise Mac Adam

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