When I first met Belle and Michael, there were no red flags. They were a cute, young couple who seems so in love and excited to be married that it oozed from them. I pegged them as a simple, chic and classy wedding from the beginning. They hired the I Do Decorator for all of their décor, the I Do Florist was coming in to do some fresh flowers, there was a complete host bar and everything seemed to be coming together smoothly. I didn’t have any problems with either Belle or Michael while planning the event. They were nice and generally even tempered with very few “bridezilla” moments. Actually, very little of the whole planning process even sticks out in my mind. I don’t remember much at all, except for one faux pas, and in my professional opinion a huge one!
I don’t know if you will find it in etiquette books or not, but it has become very popular for brides and grooms to have gifts for each on of their guests who attend the wedding reception. The expense of the favors as well as the type of favor varies quite dramatically from reception to reception. Sometimes it is a box of candy with the newlywed’s name or monogram, sometimes a picture frame or a donation to organizations special to the bride, groom and their guests. Belle and Michael decided on a glass frame that matched the color scheme for the event with the words “Thank you!” in the picture area of the frame.
I know, you are all reading this thinking, everything sounds so nice, I wish I could have attended. Wait for it…..wait for it……
At the center of each table, on top of the linens, next to the centerpiece was an envelope. Each table had one envelope labeled simply with the table number on it. The guests noticed the envelopes as they sat at their tables. There were no directions.
Wait for it…..wait for it….
After everyone had taken their seats, the surprise was revealed.
If this were a scene in a movie, a black screen would pop up and in big white letters it would say “Three Days Earlier.”
During a meeting we were doing a final meeting to go through the timelines and details for the big days ahead.
“We are NOT doing the dollar dance.” Belle blurted out with a tone of disgust.
Good, I thought. I know it is come to be a “tradition” of sorts at wedding receptions, but I am not a fan of the dollar dance. You are in a room surrounded by family and friends who you have invited to spend your special day with and who have also likely sent you a gift or brought one that night for you (not to mention gifts to your bridal showers, engagement parties, or gifts just because) and you are asking them to give you money to dance with you. Please. I have never participated in a dollar dance and don’t know that I will. I get the idea behind it. Help the poor newlyweds start their lives together with some money, or give them spending money for their honeymoon, but isn’t that want the birdcage jam packed with envelopes filled with money are for?
Sorry about that, let me get a ladder to step down off of my soap box to continue the story.
After Belle announced they were not doing a dollar dance she continued,
“But we have come up with something really fun! Instead of having to dance with people, we are going to put envelopes on the tables. We are going to have the DJ announce that everyone at the table is supposed to pool money together to put into the envelope and the table with the most money will get to go through the buffet line first.”
I think that I sputtered a series of “Um” and “Hmmm” statements while picking my jaw up off the floor and trying to form any sort of complete sentence.
“Well not first, but first after the bridal party.” Belle corrected herself.
Phew!!! That makes all the difference in the world Belle! I was of course most concerned about the etiquette of you going first through the buffet line after you have asked your guests to PAY for the chance to go through after you, but before all of the other guests.
I was beside myself. Actually, anytime I think of this story, I just get so embarrassed for the couple.
If I would have been a guest at that wedding, I would have gotten up, dug through the gift table to find the gift I brought and left.
I remember being in the room when the DJ announced the “game” with the envelopes. Looking around the room, some people were mortified, shocked and appalled. I am guessing the only people who thought that this was a “good” idea were the bride, groom and possibly their parents (since they didn’t veto it from the beginning).
I am guessing that you could look in every etiquette book and will never find it acceptable to ask for people to pay to be at your wedding, pay to dance with you or pay to be the first to go through the buffet line. If you do find something stating that this is acceptable behavior by any adult, burn it!
I Do Expert