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Tips on Weddings from Emily Post's 1960 Etiquette, The Blue Book of Social Usage

So, Andrea's mom picked up this deliciously anachronistic book a while back. It was written back when old money was king and people had debutante balls. So, as a service to our potential guests, I will start summarizing from Chapter 22, The Wedding Guest:

On Gifts...
"Objects of plain silver or of untooled leather are enhanced by engraved or tooled initials." So, any one wanting to buy Andrea and I matching leather pants (see the inappropriate gifts ) - we expect our names covering the seat and large enough to view at 10 yards.

On What to Wear...
"As a general rule, at a formal evening wedding the women wear low-neck-and-no-sleaves evening dresses, with flowers or feathers of hair ornaments, or perhaps a lace scarf over their hair and shoulders, in church." Break out the ostrich honey, we're going to the Weinstein-Tamres wedding.

On Where to Sit...
"It is entirely proper that you keep your aisle seat, no matter who or how many enter the pew [or row] later...The Guests without reserved cards should arrive first in order to find good places should they with them." That's right, since we know what a high demand there will be on seeing us walk down the aisle, we will be giving out those precious seats for winning petty and menial party games. Want to reach out and touch the bride during the procession? Better be able to drink 2 beers, eat a pack of saltines and then blow up a balloon the fastest. Details on when these qualifying events will be held are to come...

On What you do at the Reception...
This definitely sounds like what our reception will be like... "Whether in a house or hotel, you will be met at the entrance by someone who tells you, 'Ladies' dressing-room to the right' (or wherever it is). You leave your wrap, if you choose to, but you do not take off your hat or your gloves. And then you go to the door of the room in which the reception is held. You will see people going in and hear a man announcing their names. As you approach, he asks you, 'What name, please?' and you give your name with title. If he says nothing, you say to him, 'Miss Pauline Panic' or 'Mrs. John Jones.' He then repeats in a clear rather than loud voice 'Miss Pauline Panic." The you go to the door. [After meeting and greeting the bride's mother] You then join the queue of guests who are waiting to greet the bride and groom. You congratulate the groom, but you wish the bride happiness, because it is a breach of good manners to congratulate a bride on having secured a husband."
That's right, since we all know how much question there was as to whether Andrea was going to be able to catch some guy, especially over the last 2-3 years, let's not point it out. OK?

9/25/00 Update
Conversation is never a fixed grouping of words that are learned or recited like a part in a play; the above examples are given more to indicate the sort of things people in good society usually say. There is, however, one rule: Do not launch into long conversation or details of yourself, how you feel or look or what happened to you, or what you wore when you were married! Your subject must not deviate from the young couple themselves, their wedding, their futureWhat you should say in congratulating a bridal couple depends on how well you know one, or both of them. But remember it is a breach of good manners to congratulate a bride on having secured a husband.

If you are unknown to both of them, and in a long queue, it is not even necessary to give your name. You merely shake hands with the groom, say a formal word or two such as "Congratulations!"; shake hands with the bride, say "I wish you every happiness!" and pass on.

If you know them fairly well, you may say to him "I hope your good luck will stay with you always!" or "I certainly do congratulate you!" and to her "I hope your whole life will be one long happiness," or, if you are much older than she, "You look too lovely, dear Mary, and I hope you will always be as radiant as you look to-day!" Or, if you are a woman and a relative or really close friend, you kiss the groom, saying, "All the luck in the world to you, dear Jim, she certainly is lovely!" Or, kissing the bride, "Mary, darling, every good wish in the world to you!"

To all the above, the groom and bride answer merely "Thank you."

A man might say to the groom "Good luck to you, Jim, old man!" Or, "She is the most lovely thing I have ever seen!" And to her, "I hope you will have every happiness!" Or "I was just telling Jim how lucky I think he is! I hope you will both be very happy!" Or, if a very close friend, also kissing the bride, "All the happiness you can think of isn't as much as I wish you, Mary dear!" But it cannot be too much emphasized that promiscuous kissing among the guests is an offense against good taste.

To a relative, or old friend of the bride, but possibly a stranger to the groom, the bride always introduces her husband saying, "Jim, this is Aunt Kate!" Or, "Mrs. Neighbor, you know Jim, don't you?" Or formally, "Mrs. Faraway, may I present my husband?"

The groom on the approach of an old friend of his, says, "Mary, this is cousin Carrie." Or, "Mrs. Denver, do you know Mary?" Or, "Hello, Steve, let me introduce you to my wife; Mary, this is Steve Michigan." Steve says "How do you do, Mrs. Smartlington!" And Mary says, "Of course, I have often heard Jim speak of you!"

The bride with a good memory thanks each arriving person for the gift sent her: "Thank you so much for the lovely candlesticks," or "I can't tell you how much I love the dishes!" The person who is thanked says, "I am so glad you like it (or them)," or "I am so glad! I hoped you might find it useful." Or "I didn't have it marked, so that in case you have a duplicate, you can change it."

What's the take home message from all of this? When you see A. and I you can only talk about how happy WE should be in the future and you will only will hear a "Thank you" in reply. Any deviation from the above will result in lots of wispering about you behind your back psss psss psss psss.

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