This blog post is written by my friend Janet Parnes who is an exceptionally polite etiquette expert. She knows, as I do, that a lot of children and tweens attend weddings and may not yet be familiar with the etiquette do’s and don’ts of wedding receptions. For all of you parents of young children who may be attending a wedding this year, here are some wedding etiquette tips from Janet to help them be on their best behavior.
So, you Mom and Dad are going to a wedding! I know you’re giving this about as much thought as yesterday’s cheeseburger. More important concerns, such as how you’re going to get around without your Hoverboard, are tying up most of your brain space.
Mom and Dad, have a different take. For them, the wedding will be a frolic of friends, food and nostalgia! Right now, however, they’re harboring concerns about you in the manners department. You, and only you, have the power to show them their worry was for naught!
Below are a few pointers that will help ensure you don’t tick when you’re supposed to tock:
Receiving-line etiquette: When you approach the mother of the groom, whom you have never met, introduce yourself, saying, “Hello” instead of “Hi”; in addition, give her some idea of the way you fit into the wedding landscape: “Hello. My name is Janet Keefe. The Hollands [parents of the bride] are my neighbors.” When she introduces herself, respond with, “It’s nice to meet you, Mrs. Stone”.
Look her in the eye and offer a firm handshake. This will convince her that you have matters under control.
If someone asks, “How are you?” say, “Fine, thank you.”
The correct response to “Thank you” is “You’re welcome”. (As opposed to “No problem”.)
Say more than “Yes” or ‘No” when answering a question. For example, if someone asks, “Do you have a favorite subject in school?” You might say something like, “Yes, I love history! We’re learning about the Civil War.”
There will likely be other kids your age there. This presents a great opportunity for you to show you can work the tweens in the room; introduce yourself and engage in conversations. You’ll look scared and small if you sit out the reception on a couch face-to-face with your phone!
It is disruptive to leave the table in the middle of a meal. Visit the restroom beforehand.
Do not touch anything, including the napkin, until the adults at the table do so.
Remember the way your mother taught you to cut your meat? Do it! That way, if a slab of roast beef goes airborne and then nosedives into Aunt Josephine’s lap it will have come from someone else’s plate.
If you find a bone or piece of gristle in your mouth, remove it with your thumb and first finger; then put it on the side of your plate.
If a napkin or utensil falls on the floor, leave it there. Tell an adult or ask the server for a replacement.
Rather than reach for something, ask for it to be passed. “Please pass the butter”.
I’ll wrap up with a warning: your displays of courtesy may carry an unintended consequence: Mom and Dad may keel over from the shock of it all! I guarantee, you, however, they will recover and rise beaming!
Janet Parnes is a first impression & etiquette expert. Her clients ages 5 – adult learn skills that help them to be at ease and appropriate in social and professional situations. Visit www.EtiquetteForToday.com