(Closed) Bride giving wedding guests jobs to do?

posted 4 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 61
7137 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

Well in all fairness, it’s a pretty common southern tradition to have a guest book attendant. Someone who stands at the guest book (typically at the church, prior to the ceremony) and asks guests to sign as they come in. Likewise, there are typically also 1-2 people standing there handing out programs. 

That being said, I do feel it’s one of those dated things that is unnecessary. Furthermore, I am sooooo opposed to making guests work at your wedding. I completely understand that not everyone has the budget to hire everything out but that’s why I’m also a huge advocate for hosting what you can afford. Nothing irritates me more than making your guests work at a wedding. If you’ve invited someone to your wedding to celebrate they shouldn’t have to spend their time guarding your guestbook, bringing out food, or setting up tables. 

Post # 62
1987 posts
Buzzing bee

aspasia475:  BothCoasts:  I appreciated reading both of your responses.  I agree with aspasia in that it is necessary for a good host or hostess to rely on the graciousness of skilled guests to help create a good atmosphere at a large event where the host or hostess cannot be everywhere at once.  I have greeted/served snacks, I have done introductions, and I have fallen on my sword and conversed with the people no one else wants to talk to.  I am ideal to perform these functions as I am unattached, I am a patient conversationalist, and I remember details about people, so I can bring those with common interests together quickly.  The key here, as aspasia notes, is that a good host or hostess will not take advantage of my assistance for too long and s/he will be willing to assist me when I am hosting a larger event.

Unfortunately, as BothCoasts notes, this sort of grace, skill, and reciprocity/recognition of those guests who do help make these large events flow is not especially common among hosts and hostesses anymore, and I find that, more often than not, hosts and hostesses take advantage.  Far too often I am left stranded in conversation with certain individuals in our community who, due to their prominence, must be invited to large events, but, due to their personalities, are miserable to have to talk to.  Even when I send my host or hostess signals that I am not enjoying myself, it is rare that relief is sent.  Indeed, the expectation seems to be that as an unattached woman I should expect to perform the function of distracting the unpleasant guests so that everyone else can actually have a good time.  As BothCoasts suggest, there is a strong gendered component to these duties and expectations that I am not comfortable with.

In response, I have stopped attending events hosted by the people who treat me this way, as it is clear that they do not care if I actually enjoy myself at all.  If the OP perceives that the bride-to-be is treating her with the same indifference as to whether or not she actually enjoys herself at the reception, then I don’t think she has any duty to accept the “honor” at all (I would argue that even making the sign shows she is going above and beyond).  I think for it to be an honor to be asked to help at an event like this, the host has to have honorable intentions in asking.

Post # 63
2600 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

MarriedToMyWork: I think you encapsulated both sides eloquently. On a separate note, I can tell you would be an incredibly wonderful (“skilled”) guest!

Post # 64
1692 posts
Bumble bee

MarriedToMyWork:  Thank heavens for you! BothCoasts:  You are in fact echoing what I was saying: etiquette is complex and nuanced, andvery few parties nowadays, even weddings, have individual place cards or that level of skilled and gracious organizing.  I am sure we could have a lovely discussion — I, for example, consider etiquette to be a leveling and equalizing force, not one that bolsters classism. We will have to compare those ideas some day.

In the meantime, I’m just glad there are two sides now showing up, and some recognition that guests do have social duties over and above relaxing and having a good time.


Post # 65
2600 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

aspasia475:  This is very true. 

(And I do love etiquette as a social construct. It DOES yield interesting discussions.)

Post # 66
3443 posts
Sugar bee

I’m not a fan of giving guests jobs at weddings if they would rather socialize or just not do the job. My sister and I both had unusual guest book. Someone drew a giant penis on hers, and the flower girl wrote her name in giant letters over the wedding date on ours. And even though I’ve shared that info on WB before, it is literally just now dawning on me that my teen niece and nephew were the designated guest book watchers at both weddings. LOL.  Luckily my sister and I don’t really care about our guest book thingies. 

Post # 67
8998 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper


Well, apart  from the  the fact that  I think signing  rocks  is perhaps the silliest thing I ever heard, It is  boring  ( not really rude , just  tedious ) to be asked to oversee  such a thing.

I think is is above and beyond to do the signage  thing, but I can see it probably makes you feel better than  refusing,  so .. . But I would just make the sign and leave it there , not  spend any of  yourr precious  time getting people  to sign rocks  ….

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