Category Archives: Etiquette

Wedding Etiquette: RSVP to Avoid The Naughty Table

I’m not going to lie, my parents seldom RSVP’d until recently. In their generation, it is understood that no-answer means yes. Only those people who are not coming let you know in advance.

Times have changed though – it is rude and inconsiderate not to RSVP. Don’t worry, I’m here to help you (and your parents) understand the concept of RSVPing. Seriously, please sit down with your parents and explain that they need to RSVP to weddings.

What is RSVP
RSVP is short for Respondez, s’il vous plait. In English, RSVP means “Please Respond/Reply.” Hence, when you receive an invitation, the proper etiquette is to reply by either confirming or declining your attendance.

Why You Should RSVP
Allow me to be blunt.

  • It is rude not to notify the host of your attendance
  • Besides the fact that it is rude, each guest at a wedding has a cost associated with their seat. With the host paying $40-50/guest (on average), do you really think they would like to see an empty chair?
  • Another reason for you to RSVP is to save the host the headache of chasing each guest for a reply. With 300+ guests at any given desi wedding, can you imagine how time consuming it must be to call all the guests for a confirmation?
  • If you don’t care about any of the above reasons, then you should know that it is in your own best interest to RSVP. Many people have assigned seating… so you know what happens if you don’t RSVP, right? You’ll be sitting on what I call “The Naughty Table.” This table is for all the people who do not RSVP but show up at the wedding and expect to be accommodated.

No Shows
This category is the worst. There are always a handful of guests who say they are attending, but actually don’t show up. No, I am not talking about people who have genuine reasons for not coming. I am referring to the people who don’t show up because they “forgot,” or “something came up,” or they “ran late.” The reasons are endless. If you RSVP and don’t attend, your one seat is a loss of $40-50 to the host. Do the math – if 10 people are no shows, at $40/person, that is $400 wasted and the food that gets thrown out is an additional waste.

Hopefully, you understand the importance of RSVPing. The little section at the bottom of wedding invitations, that says “RSVP,” is not just there for decoration. Please encourage your parents, aunties and uncles to RSVP!

Via Google Images

Reminder: We would greatly appreciate if you can RSVP for our wedding by the deadline – May 25th (if you can let us know earlier, that is even better 🙂). For those of you who have RSVP’d – in person, over the phone or through email – THANK YOU! 🙂

p.s. I think I’ll be done emailing, mailing and handing out invitations by the end of this week. If all goes well, I’ll post pictures of my cards next week. YEAY!


Wedding Etiquette: Looking at Kim Kardashian’s Divorce

By now, everyone in the world knows that Kim Kardashians’ married life is over – in just 72 days [insert desi moms voice: “Aaj kal ke bachay… *tsk tsk*… bilkul bhi compromise nahi karna ata. Hamaray zamanay mai bohot sabr kartai thai” <– loosely translated: “Kids these days don’t compromise at all – we had alot more patience in our time“]. I’m sure the male population is extremely happy – ahem, Nouman.

I’ve never watched the Kardashian show but honestly, you’re not surprised, are you?

Yeah, I wasn’t either.

Anyway, I wouldn’t be writing about her divorce except that it raises a good question: should Kim Kardashian return all her wedding gifts?! What are the proper etiquette’s if you divorce in such a short span of time?

According to some etiquette experts (whoever that is), unused wedding presents should be returned if the marriage dissolves in less than 1 year (some say 6 months). Others say that she should keep them.

My opinion? She should keep the presents! Sure, her wedding ended so fast that we’re all suspicious of why she even got married… but a present is a present. Seriously, people shouldn’t be expecting to get gifts back. If the wedding had been cancelled (i.e. the wedding never took place), then it’s definitely rude not to return the presents. Since Kim’s wedding did take place, I think she should be keeping the presents. When you give a present, you don’t give it with a return policy attached to it – there is no refunding back if the marriage fails in 90 days. For that, you need to go to Walmart.

Obviously, I’m using Kim as an example – yes, her marriage seems dodgy but if it was just a random couple you know, I really don’t think I’d expect them to return my gift. One thing she (and any other couple in Kim’s position) should do: send her guests a card – thanking them for coming to her wedding but also informing that the marriage has ended (like they don’t know anyway).

According to ABC, Kim Kardashian is donating her wedding gifts to charity – who would’ve thunk it?!

What do you think? Return gifts or no?!

p.s. what is with people saying they feel betrayed?! Are you kidding me 😐 YOU wasted your time watching her wedding, she doesn’t owe YOU an explanation. Geeeeeeeeeez.

Wedding Etiquettes: You Plus One (or Your Children)

If you’re Pakistani and single (or dating someone), it is safe to assume that most of the weddings you’re invited to will not invite you + 1. Similarly, you may get an invite that is addressed only to Mr & Mrs Dhoodhwala. No, your children (and family – insert mother/father in laws, brother/sister in laws, cousins, etc) weren’t accidentally left out. No, you may not ask if you can bring your boyfriend/fiance/children to the wedding.

Rude? Not really. Here’s a reasoning behind why your date isn’t invited:

  • Cost: With a guestlist of 350+, do you really think it’s a good idea to ask half of the guests to bring a date? Unless you’re super loaded, it’s really not cost effective. Do the math: if your venue is costing you $40/person and you have 350 guests, your cost is $14,000. If you add a date for even 75 people, your cost will be: $17,000 – that’s an additional $3,000 for the venue alone… factor in costs such as centerpieces, guest favours, catering… Yeah, not happening.
  • Capacity: Sure, lots of desi halls can accommodate 500 guests but if you’re looking for a unique hall, it limits your choices.
  • Managing the guests: How the heck do you even manage 500 guests? Just asking people to have a seat will take over 15 minutes.
  • The couple might WANT a small wedding: This is unheard of in the desi community.
    “Vaaat… small wedding? They’re just trying to save money because they’re really cheap and stingy”
    Not really. Although small weddings are a foreign concept in the desi community, some couples actually want to have an intimate wedding. It’s their wedding, their choice.

Brides and grooms: don’t be nasty when you realize you have limited seating/budget. Always remember that it is your guests that make your day special – be gracious and kind! Below are some nice ways of containing your guestlist numbers:

  • Children: Address your invites to the couple – instead of inviting “Mr. Dhoodhwala and family,” invite “Mr. and Mrs. Allahditta.” This gets your message across clearly but politely. Do NOT say idiotic things such as “NO KIDS” or “NO CHILDREN.” According to some people in the industry, you can write “Adults Only Reception” – but in the desi world, I think it’s best to stick to Mr. and Mrs.
  • Others: This goes for anyone, including children. Inside your invitation/RSVP card, you can write the number of guests that are invited. Example: “We have reserved ____(insert number of guests invited)____ number of seats for you.” I actually think this is a pretty good way of communicating how many people are invited from each household. Not sure what the older desi’s would think of this though. I can already hear the “Hawwwwwwwww….”

Wedding Etiquettes: The Tardy Party

Ooooh yeah, you know what I’m talking about.

Tardiness is a huge problem in the desi community – I mean, huge. Do you even remember the last time you arrived at the time stated on the invitation card? I don’t.

The unspoken South Asian code of timing is to add an extra hour to the start time you were given. So, if you are invited for 7pm sharp, we all know that we can arrive anywhere between 7:30 and 8:00 and still be considered “on time.” If you arrive before 7:30, you will be among the first few guests. If you actually arrive at 7pm, you are early – most likely, the host is wrapping up the prep work and/or just starting to get dressed. Yup, been there right?

Us sisters are really punctual. We are usually among the first few guests at dawats (parties)… and it sucks.

I don’t really understand why we do this – especially at weddings. There is usually a tight schedule that the bride/groom want to stick to on their big day, soooo why do we feel the need to adjust the day according to our own timings? Nooo idea.

Don’t do it.

Learn to be on time people.

Wedding Etiquiettes: Kids

I love kids but I have to put this out there.

I don’t understand why parents bring misbehaved kids to weddings.

I know many couples opt to have a “no children allowed” policy at weddings (becoming increasingly popular at desi weddings), but I don’t agree with that. Well, not entirely anyway. I think it’s great to have children at weddings – especially since we’re not living in countries where we have our roots. Weddings are a perfect place for children to see and understand the richness of their culture. If kids only hear about weddings, but don’t actually experience them until they are older, I think they will miss out.

Sooo I do think it’s great to have little people at weddings.

BUT, what I can’t ever agree with is misbehaved kids – the ones that hang off curtains; dip their hands in your mehendi (henna) trays and then try to touch your clothes; run around on your stage ruining every picture; dance their way onto the dance-floor when there’s a choreographed performance happening; ruin your entrance/rukhsati by walking between you and your husband… the list is endless.

Kids are kids, they don’t know what’s right or wrong unless someone tells them. Naturally, it annoys me that when I see children acting out at weddings, their parents just sit back and relax. They will literally just sit there and continue talking to other aunties and uncles – completely oblivious to the antics of their children.

Parents – DON’T ruin someone elses big day. Just because you are at a wedding does not mean you can stop parenting. Look after your children, tell them when they are doing something wrong and above all, explain to them about the importance of being well-behaved at such an important event.

And if you can’t handle your kids behaviour, hire a baby-sitter or call an aunty or uncle and leave them home. Teach them and prepare them for the next wedding and when they are ready, bring them along! 🙂

Wedding Etiquettes: The Self-Invited

You know what I’m taking about.

After reading my wedding guestlist post, a friend of mine and I were talking and ofcourse, the issue of uninvited guests came up.

It happens all the time – especially at desi weddings. You’re at the door, greeting the guests and suddenly you’re asking yourself, “ummm – who the heck is this person?” or “that family wasn’t invited, were they?”  or how do you react when someone calls and tells you they’re bringing an extra (or 2 or 3) family members? or when somebody imposes, “I got the invite for the wedding, but I couldn’t find the invite for the reception” (duh, you’re not invited)


I have ofcourse never dealt with this personally, but I’ve heard/seen it happen many times. I think people decide to just show up not because they are rude or have malicious intent (I’m sure some might), but because they are excited to see the bride/groom. Obviously, regardless of how much you want to see the bride/groom, it is inconsiderate to invite yourself/your family to someone elses big day.

So, how do you handle this situation?

A few simple ideas for:

1. Before Your Wedding Day

  • Venue Numbers: Chances are, you have already given your final headcount to the venue. If this is the case, be honest and let your guest know that you won’t be able to accommodate them because you have given your final numbers
  • Limited Seating: many venues can accommodate last-minute changes in the number of guests. However, alot of them can’t. If the space you have can accommodate 300 people, and you already have 300 people who have RSVP’d, you physically cannot add anyone else in
  • Mention Your Budget: At the end of the day, it all does come down to money. You can politely mention that you’re on a limited budget and therefore will not be able to accommodate extra guests.
  • Suck It Up: grit your teeth, put a smile on your face and send out the invite

2. On Your Wedding Day

  • Suck It Up: you don’t want anything/anyone to take away from your day. So smile, be gracious and welcome the guest. Let the uninvited feel invited.
  • Invitation-Only: this is a trend that seems to be gaining popularity. Inspired by celebrity weddings, many brides/grooms are now announcing that entry is by invitation-only. Present your invitation card at the door, and you’ll be invited inside. There is a “backup” guestlist incase someone forgets their invitation card
  • Get Out: probably the harshest thing someone can do. When you spot somebody you didn’t want at your wedding, tell someone from you bridal party or your wedding planner to politely ask them to leave. Too harsh for me but hey, many brides/grooms feel that they paid for their wedding day to be perfect – if someone can be rude enough to just show up, everything is fair.

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide what to do. It is your special day so don’t ruin it by stressing on unwanted/uninvited guests. Whether it is an uninvited guest before or on your wedding day, make your decision quickly and get it done with. There’s no reason to harp on about it.

Oh, and to those who self-invite: DON’T! 🙂