Taylor Swift, Conor Kennedy, and the etiquette of RSVPs

There has been much talk about Taylor Swift’s controversial appearance at the Boston wedding of Kyle Kennedy last weekend. Mother-of-the-bride Victoria Gifford Kennedy has claimed that Swift and her boyfriend, Conor Kennedy (Kyle’s cousin), showed up without RSVPing to the event and were asked to leave twice before they disappeared. Meanwhile, Victoria’s stepmom, “Today” cohost Kathie Lee Gifford, who was also at the wedding, criticized Swift on national television for showing up without permission.

The incident got us wondering about wedding etiquette and who was in the wrong — Taylor and Conor for crashing the party without a proper RSVP, or Victoria Gifford Kennedy, who asked a relative to leave the wedding and then whined about the family drama to the Boston Herald?

According to Massachusetts manners expert Jodi R. R. Smith , author of “The Etiquette Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Manners,” Swift is the biggest offender in this mess. Smith says that under normal circumstances, when an unexpected guest shows up to a wedding, the host should simply alert the caterer and pull up an extra chair. That rule goes out the window, however, if the unexpected guest is an international pop superstar. Smith says that even if Conor Kennedy and Swift had RSVP’d for the event on time, it was on Swift, as a celebrity, to ask the bride and groom if she should provide extra security for herself that night. Even though Swift is only 22, she should know that her presence greatly affects all events, Smith said. “She can’t go to the bathroom without someone reporting that she flushed,” Smith quipped.

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Smith believes that Swift can make amends by buying the newlyweds a big gift from the registry (“She should not be sending her latest CD,” Smith said), and that “in a month, she should send the mother of the bride a giant Winston floral arrangement.”

Of course, not all etiquette experts side with the mother of the bride. Robin Abrahams — also known as Miss Conduct from the Boston Globe Magazine — believes Swift is the innocent bystander in this debacle. Abrahams says Swift was just the date, and that it was on Conor Kennedy to make sure the singer would be welcome. Abrahams also maintains that Victoria Gifford Kennedy should not have aired her gripes about the superstar to the media, no matter what. “That’s the worst — going public about it.”

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