I was recently asked a question that I think a lot of people may have had confusion over. Recall, if you will, an invitation that you’ve received for a wedding or other formal event. Chances are it opened with the line “request the honor of your presence” or “request the pleasure of your company” as part of the wording. Believe it or not these phrases actually have etiquette guidelines on when they can each be used and are not entirely interchangeable.
The phrase “…the honor of your presence…” is reserved for wedding ceremonies taking place in a house of worship, be it a church, temple, mosque, synagogue or another religious institution.
Meanwhile the phrase “…the pleasure of your company…” is used to invite guests to a wedding ceremony taking place anywhere else. Examples of this would include a country club, resort garden area, the beach, etc.
This rule does not take into consideration a religious ceremony, but rather the location. So if you have a Jewish ceremony, complete with a Chuppah, at a resort, you would still request the pleasure of your guests company.
If you want to stick with tradition in this area though, then each has an appropriate and specific use.
Is this etiquette rule breakable without being totally faux pas? I say, yes! Only the trained eye will notice that you used “…the honor of your presence…” to invite them to your beach front wedding. After all, God is everywhere and one could argue that the beach front is just as sacred as the Chapel. I personally believe that God is not limited to a building and that many things can be sacred, so I would have no problem using “the honor of your presence” to invite people to an outdoor wedding.
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Although I remember hearing about this story a few years ago, it can still be filed under: deplorable! The young lady, who I think we can appropriately label as the victim, recalled a story of attending a wedding, and not too long after receiving a message from the Bride expressing her dissatisfaction with the $100 wedding gift she received from she and her date. You can read the message for yourself below, but we must warn you: Your blood WILL boil.
“Hi Tanya, how are you? I just want to know is there any reason or dissatisfaction of Mike’s and I wedding that both you and Phil gave 50$ each? In terms of the amount we got from you both was very unexpected as a result we were very much short on paying off the reception because just for the cocktail + reception alone the plate per person is 200$ (as per a normal wedding range with open bar is about) and Mike and I both have already paid for everything else including decor, photography, attire etc and didn’t expect we had to cover that huge amount for reception as well. As I know you both live together and work, so I did not see any reason for that amount, when it comes to your wedding hopefully you’ll know what I mean. I hope for the best as from what we receive is what we will give back. Anyways, good luck on everything.”
Now, I’m not sure if the Bride was aware but the young lady whom she is berating had recently graduate, was only working part-time and didn’t know the couple very well. Regardless, I think it goes without saying that this is a most inappropriate response to any gift.
But….just in case anyone reads this that is unsure, let me take this moment to clarify: there is no rule that states that a guest must give a gift to a party to which they are invited or what they should give. No, not even a wedding. And as the recipient, it is just poor etiquette to question the amount of the gift that is given and you should NEVER rely on gifts to pay off the balance for your wedding vendors.