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Here come the wedding guests

So you’ve been invited to a summer wedding!Sure, it’s a pain in the butt to RSVP, figure out how much to spend on a gift, find something appropriate to wear, sit quietly through the ceremony and try to remember which fork to use at the reception.But never fear – we are here to help you with some handy, dandy tips on wedding etiquette, which should ensure that you will be invited again at the bride or groom’s next wedding …InvitationsAlthough nobody knows for sure, we’re assuming that the tissue that typically comes in the invitation is to blow your nose on because you’re so overcome with emotion at the news of the nuptials. However, it is considered rude not to RSVP by the date marked on the invitation, just as it is to stuff the used tissue back into the return envelope.Also, unless the invitation says your name “and guest,” don’t feel free to bring one of your single on-the-make girlfriends to scout out prospects or your bar room buddies. If the person you are invited with has since dumped you, simply cross out the name and write “deceased.”If you can’t or don’t want to attend, refrain from writing things such as “no way in hell” or “over my dead body.” A simple “will” or “will not” will do.GiftsHow much do you like this person is really the bottom line. Are they worth the bad check you’re going to have to write to cover the costs? This is a personal decision, of course, but there are some standard wedding guidelines to gift giving.n Co-workers or distant relatives: $50 to $75.n Relatives or friends: $75 to $100.n Close relatives or friends: $100 to $150 and up.n People you privately can’t stand: priceless.There are cheap gifts and then there are really BAD gifts.Husband-head and I received numerous presents that made us look at each other and go “Huh?” When corn came into season the next year, we did not invite these people to our annual “ears and beers” party …The gifts included items such as pickled vegetables in a jar, an ugly picture frame with the Wal-Mart models still in it, a ceramic frog and a troll doll with yellow hair.Couples – meaning the wife – want kitchen, entertaining, bed and bath items. And they want them to be state-of-the-art. They want their house to look nicer than yours.Books can be nice wedding gifts, but some titles, such as “He’s Just Not That Into You” and “Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them” are probably not suitable.What to wearOK, so you’ve recently lost a bunch of weight on the Jenny Craig diet and you think you look better than Kirstie Alley, but that is no excuse to vamp it up for the wedding. The black mini skirt and thigh-high boots are not appropriate wedding attire. Black is OK these days at an evening wedding or if the groom is an ex-boyfriend who unceremoniously dumped you for the bride.White is also not considered a good choice as you don’t want to steal the show from the bride. But then, neither is laughing out loud that the bride is wearing a white virginal veil, when you KNOW how many men she slept with when you were in college.We suggest mustard yellow because it makes most people’s skin tone look sallow and unattractive. Which is what the bride wants you to look like next to her in the wedding pictures.Men should refrain from wearing T-shirts that sport their favorite football team or slogan. As the groom, husband-head had wanted to wear his T-shirt that said, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” That didn’t happen.CeremonyTry not to be late to the wedding itself, pushing the bride aside as she walks down the aisle so you can get a good seat.If it is a religious ceremony where Communion is being taken, do not ask for a second shot of wine. There will be plenty of time for that at the reception.In the receiving line after the ceremony, it is appropriate to give each of the couple a hug and wish them well. French-kissing the bride or the groom is not nice. Unless, of course, one of them is an ex that dumped you …ReceptionNow it’s time to let your hair down and have fun. However, getting stinking drunk and becoming violently ill in front of the other guests is not recommended.Dancing is usually part of the reception and is the opportunity to listen to the worst music ever made by man. Husband-head had a blast doing the “chicken dance” at our reception, although it was painful for him to watch it later on the wedding video.All in all, enjoy the wedding and celebrating the couple’s marital bliss as they embark on a new life together. Ask for the gift back when they get divorced.Heidi Rice is a staff reporter for the Post Independent. Her column runs every Friday. Visit her Web site at http://www.heidirice.com.


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