A few weeks ago I was at an engagement party and really bonded with the groom’s mothers over a discussion regarding etiquette. Apparently, I am not the only one who still puts a premium on the use of proper manners and traditional ethos when it comes to how people should behave while attending and planning a wedding. We had a delightful conversation about our similar favorite etiquette rules, pet peeves and which rules we think have been completely forgotten or overlooked by my generation, which really shouldn’t be, and some that are just so outdated they should be forgotten altogether. The times have clearly changed. I decided then that I would do a few posts honoring my favorite etiquette rules as well as provide a reminder to anyone getting married this
My Top 3 Etiquette Quirks
Everyone on the outer envelope is invited. So if you really want the ENTIRE family in this household that the invitation is sent to attend, children and all, then you may address it to “The Smith Family” or “Smith” but if your intention is only to invite the adults of the household then the outer envelope must only have their names, “John & Judy Smith” otherwise prepare to get a response for a number you weren’t expecting.
No matter how many times I say it, I still see all summer long, but the registry info does not belong inside the formal invitation. I see this happen so much and to those more traditional guests who receive your invitations, they are really quite offended by it. I myself have been offended when I open someone’s wedding invitation and the very first slip of paper I see is the “We’re registered at…” which really reads, “I’m more excited about you buying me something than the actual wedding,” or “Your admission fee to enter is a gift” or many, many other interpretations. I am sure that this is not at all meant to be offensive by the couple, or even a selfish “gift grabby” request at all as we hear it called in bridal magazines.
Many couples don’t even know that this is against etiquette because everyone does this and it is perceived as common practice. Truth be told, gifts are not required of guests at all. Your guests, those whom you have chosen to share your special day with, provide honor and “gift” enough by their presence and attendance. AND they should receive a thank you card (handwritten) for attending even if they did not send you a gift!
This is such a traditional rule and has been way, way overlooked by our generation. It is also one of those truly “etiquette rules” where it’s just a rule because it’s a rule. When someone (best man, etc) makes a toast to the bride and groom, etiquette requires you to remain seated, avoid raising your glass and not taking a sip. If you do, it is sort of like patting yourself on the back or applauding yourself. Now I’m sure some of you are sitting there thinking, “well what’s wrong with that? Go me! I’m getting married, I’m awesome” which may be the case and all true, but we want you to showcase that in a humble and gracious way such as being thoughtful of your guests’ comfort and showing a lot of gratitude towards others.
Now that I have finished writing my 3 top etiquette quirks that I always address, I want to be very clear and offer the full disclosure that I am not a trained etiquette expert, nor am I at all claiming to be the end all authority on etiquette rules. In fact, while researching for this post I stumbled across maybe resources that cover these three rules, all of which provided different histories, meanings, reasons and rules for each. So the whole lines for etiquette have clearly been blurred over the past decade. Many people believe very strongly about exact etiquette and that it should be at the forefront of any social gathering. This reference that I researched was
This reference that I researched was “Miss Manners” & Judith Martin whom
I was told I would “just love” if I agreed with etiquette but, in fact, I did not love her. I agree with many of the etiquette rules she champions but her delivery of such rules is just not what I was hoping for and I found it very difficult to be inspired by her and to even keep reading her book. You may love her style and it might resonate well with you, it just wasn’t for me. She is obviously a very successful and well-educated authority on etiquette that is much respected in her field. However, I found that the same rules can be taught to brides, and us wedding coordinators in a more proactive language from resources such as
However, I found that the same rules can be taught to brides, and us wedding coordinators in a more proactive language from resources such as Anna Post from the Emily Post Institute. She is a “modern” etiquette expert whom I found to be much more relaxing to read. I felt educated, not lectured. A key example here is that Judith thinks a wedding registry is entirely greedy to even have, whereas Anna provides guidelines for making your registry appealing to guests, as well as not making you feel terrible for having one.
Trust me, I think that etiquette is important and many times overlooked by my own generation, in truth because it isn’t taught as well as it used to be. I believe that not only brides but wedding guests need to pay better attention to etiquette rules too. If they did then much of the notorious “wedding drama” and bridezilla effect would be minimized. My very few “bridezilla” moments that occurred when planning my own wedding were a direct result of someone, a guest, a wedding party member, a family member or a vendor not being aware of the proper etiquette protocol for a wedding, easily avoidable if we could get the education out there, but as proactively as possible.
Read through both of my references, Miss Manners and Anna Post and let me know what you think. You may learn something new, I know I did!
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