Monday, January 19, 2009

How to make your guests feel welcome

...I don't know, maybe have enough chairs for everybody?
Since I work Saturdays and get booked sometimes more than two years in advance, I don't get a chance to attend a lot of wedding as a guest. Of course I want to attend my friends' and family's weddings but what am I supposed to do, tell the bride who already gave me half down "sorry, I'm not coming"? This is why scientists need to get moving on this cloning technology already.
This Sunday, I attended a wedding for the daughter of one of the women in my quilting group. I was invited with only two weeks notice--meaning I was probably a "B List" guest invited just to fill in numbers--which is what makes this next part all the more bizarre.
This wedding was gorgeous. I did not have a hand in planning this wedding aside from helping the bride's mother choose invitations, plus giving some general advice about which caterers, florists, etc to use. I did not plan this wedding, but I know weddings and I know $5,000 worth of flowers when I see it. And that was just the ceremony site. The reception was held at an upscale country club. Even taking into account the discounts they would have received for having the wedding on a Sunday instead of a Saturday, this was easily a $30,000 affair from start to finish.
So why, of all things to skimp on, did they choose to only have ten chairs at the ceremony site (for close family and elderly guests) and only about 80 chairs at the reception for the 150+ person guest list? After standing in heels for the duration of the ceremony, I almost didn't show up the reception. When I got there, I found that the few chairs were already claimed, and those who claimed them didn't relinquish them for the entire evening. I left before the cake was cut just because my feet were killing me. I can't imagine why somebody would spend hundreds of dollars to give sugared almonds in little bags to everybody but not spring for chairs for all your guests. This isn't New York. Heavens, you can get folding chairs for a dollar around here. The whole thing made me feel unwelcome--like a party crasher.

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