You’ve spent a fortune on a new hat, frock, hotel stay and train tickets to Compton Pauncefoot, the Somerset village 300 miles away, where the happy couple insisted on celebrating their nuptials. Oh, and you’ve shelled out on the luxury Egyptian cotton towel bale. In short, you’ve invested a lot into your friends’ wedding day, so it’s perfectly OK to take something back for yourself, right?
“You’d be shocked by the amount of stuff guests take from weddings – silverware, flowers, votives, the lot,” one former wedding planner tells Emerald Street. “In fact, the latest trend in the States is to provide lots of goodies for guests to take home so that they don’t steal other stuff, such as pashminas for women and flip-flops for dancing.”
But what about the lonely-looking bottle of sancerre left on the table at the end of the night? If we don’t take it home, it’ll only go to waste…
“It’s never acceptable to just take something from a wedding. You wouldn’t steal from someone’s house so why should a wedding be any different?” says etiquette expert Dana Gornitzki. “Of course, some things that get left over at weddings that are OK, providing you follow a few rules. If you’d like to take flowers, centre pieces, wine or food then it’s polite and proper to ask the bride first. Vases, cutlery and anything provided by the venue are a complete no-no because the bride and groom will probably get charged if things go missing.”
There’s also a pecking order for who gets what at weddings. If you’re the girlfriend of the groom’s work colleague from 1999, then you can probably forget about going home with a nice memento. “If the bride or groom is a close friend or relative then go ahead and ask if you can take something. If they’re not, then you absolutely must wait to be offered something,” says Gornitzki.
OK then, Dana. We’ll try to remember that next time we’re feeling light fingered. We’ll also try to remember this cautionary tale from Emerald Street reader, Kyla.
“I once stole a pink flashing canapés tray from a colleague’s wedding, thinking it would be a fun way of presenting her with a cup of tea when she came back to work. My idea didn’t go down too well. She came stomping into the office with a face like thunder. Apparently the marquee hire company refused to give her back the deposit because of the missing tray. The whole thing became a real issue in the office and it was later named ‘Traygate.’ It was only meant to be a laugh, though. Besides, who has a pink flashing tray at their wedding?”