Planning a wedding, and want to make sure your guests are happy? Think about ditching the receiving line.
That's the least popular aspect of a wedding from a guest's perspective, according to a new Associated Press-Brides.com poll.
The preferences, in order:
Watching the ceremony; the music and dancing; the food; seeing the bride's gown; toasts and speeches; cutting of the cake; seeing the bridesmaids' dresses; group dances; throwing of the bouquet; throwing of the garter; and finally, that receiving line.
You might think there were differences between male and female guests on the subject. You would be correct.
For women, the ceremony was tops, followed closely by seeing the bride's gown. For men, food at the reception was the winner.
Women's least favorite? Again, the receiving line. For men - ouch! - the least favorite was seeing the bridesmaid's dresses.
The poll found that the rituals of attending weddings and giving the couple gifts, while not totally recession-proof, are still deeply important to family and friends.
Only 3 percent of Americans said they'd declined an invitation to attend a wedding in the past two years for financial reasons. And 90 percent of those who'd attended a wedding recently said they'd bought a gift for the couple.
But that doesn't mean couples should assume they're getting one: Only 28 percent of those surveyed feel couples should expect a gift. And yet most Americans (63 percent) feel obliged to give gifts nonetheless - including those who know they can't really afford it.
The median price people paid for wedding gifts over the past two years was $80, though 10 percent said $300 or more. And the median total cost of attending the wedding - including gifts, travel, lodging and clothing - was $200 for those who traveled out of town, double for people who had to travel more than 100 miles. Six percent of those questioned spent $2,000 or more. *