Wedding Wednesday: Manners for Guests

Cherished readers, The Lady loves a good nuptial celebration…and realizes that some people may need to take a refresher on what is considered good etiquette for wedding guests (or prospective guests) Let us take a look a few general guidelines:

  1. Answer all invitations promptly. A general rule is to respond within a week of receiving the invitation.
  2. Although The Lady sees formal invitations sent less and less, should you receive one that is written in the third person, it must be answered in the same way. If a reply card is enclosed (which to The Lady means that it is semi-formal) you indicate your acceptance or regret on the card.
  3. It is bad taste to ask to be invited to a wedding even if you feel you have a close relationship with the bride or groom.
  4. If, after accepting an invitation, it becomes necessary to cancel, call the bride or groom and explain why as soon as possible.
  5. Asking to bring a friend to the wedding is bad form.
  6. Do not ask to bring your children if they haven’t been invited. Even if they are invited, consider their maturity levels before accepting for them. One of the worst things to deal with at a wedding is the bored or hyperactive child who runs around hell-bent on annoying people.
  7. It is rude to skip the ceremony and only attend the reception.
  8. You are not obligated to send a present if you simply receive a wedding announcement. However, if you are given an invitation to the wedding, customarily you are expected to send a gift (even if you do not attend.
  9. Remember that the day belongs to the happy couple. It is especially important not to do anything that will take attention off of them. (No inebriated toasts!)

Best Guest Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Wedding Wednesday: Thoughts on Showers

Cherished readers, The Lady has attended many showers in her life and has been asked about the planning of countless others. Here are some of the more common questions I receive about wedding showers.

Display or acknowledgment of gifts of money: The Lady realizes that at showers, the bride-to-be opens the gifts of those attending, but to open each envelope that might contain a check or cash and to announce to those gathered how much someone gave is quite gauche, in The Lady’s opinion. To announce that someone gave you a modest amount after someone gave you a large amount can cause undue embarrassment. It is better to avoid public discussion of money at all costs.

Multiple showers or engagement parties: The Lady cautions against having too many parties. Should you have an extravagant party announcing your engagement, any showers given by friends should be small affairs. The financial strain placed on those who feel obligated to give multiple gifts is too great.

Work gifts: In many places a group gift is generally what is given by the coworkers of the engaged. Usually, not everyone in the department is invited to the wedding, but is it necessary to give an individual gift if you have already contributed to the group gift? The Lady says that it is not.

Family as hosts for showers: In the past it was frowned upon for the family of the bride to host a shower due to the appearance of the family asking for gifts for the bride. The Lady realizes that times have changed. A better suggestion would be for the host to be a friend of the bride and for the family to perhaps contribute ‘behind the scenes’ by supplying the food or decorations.

Cover charge to attend a shower: Believe it or not, The Lady was once issued an invitation asking for a contribution to pay for the buffet supper served at a shower. This is completely improper. You do not charge your guests for the privilege of attending your shower and giving you a gift! (The HORROR!!!)

Best Shower Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Wedding Wednesday: Addressing Invitations ‘And Family’

Cherished readers, today’s Wedding Wednesday concerns the issuing of one’s invitations to the fabulous nuptial ceremony and reception. It is often asked of The Lady if it is acceptable to add ‘And Family’ or ‘And Guest’ when addressing the envelopes. Etiquette-wise this is a no-no and The Lady personally abhors this practice. When she was a young lady, many invitations used to come to the house inviting her parents to weddings and on all of the envelopes, the words ‘And Family’ were included. This made The Lady sad because it seemed no one cared enough to remember that she actually had a name. Do you wish to make someone feel that you don’t care enough to remember their name but sincerely request the honor of their presence on your big day? The message is incongruous.

Also, your idea of what constitutes family may not be the same as the one receiving the invitation. The person receiving the invitation may invite their second-cousin twice removed just because there will be an open bar. Being specific on your invitation is much smarter.

The Lady advises the following when issuing invitations:

For couples not living together or married, address it to the party that is best known to you. For example, if it is your cousin Cathy that you are close to address it:

Miss Cathy Cousin and Mr. Alfred Snodgrass

followed by Cathy’s address. Do not write the impersonal ‘And Guest’

Send a joint invitation to married/cohabiting couples. Should they have daughters living in the home that you wish to invite, you may include them on the couples’ invitation. The outer envelope is written out in the format below (names and addresses are fictitious)

Mr./Mrs. and Mr./Mrs. Phoebus Cornelius Bicuspid

The Misses Bicuspid

1313 Mockingbird Lane

Quahog, RI 02896

If there are sons living in the home, they get their own joint invitation, with the outer envelope written as below:

The Messrs. Bicuspid

(same address format as above)

On the inner envelope (the one in which the actual invitation and reply card are safely housed) you would write out each name, as below

Mr. Phoebus Bicuspid

Mrs. Fiona Bicuspid

Miss Esmerelda Bicuspid

Miss Ann Bicuspid

and for the sons’ inner envelope:

Mister Figaro Bicuspid

Mister Jack Bicuspid

The bottom line for The Lady: only invite those that you mean to invite and know the name of those you invite.

Best Invitation Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett


Wedding Wednesday: Removing the Engagement Ring

Cherished readers, The Lady hopes you all had a wonderful day yesterday, especially my fellow Americans who celebrated Independence Day. The Lady spent it in the company of family and friends eating the traditional fare of burgers, hot dogs, potato salad and such. There were no worries about calories or nutritional value. A beautiful day, indeed.

One of the young people in the Hooper-Brackett clan is recently engaged and she came to the party ready to show off her beautiful new ring. The Lady heartily approved of the good taste her fiance showed in choosing this particular ring. A problem arose, however, when the young couple wanted to join a game of baseball and the newly engaged young woman wished to remove her ring in order to do so. Her fiance was aghast and claimed to all and sundry that this was bad luck! The young people turned to The Lady for advice. (How she sometimes feels like Solomon!)

Here are The Lady’s thoughts on this matter:

To believe that removal of the engagement ring is bad luck is a quaint old mindset. To remove a large and expensive ring to protect it while playing sports, doing dishes, or even digging clams is an intelligent practice. The engagement is neither made nor broken by the wearing of the ring…the agreement of the person asked is what creates the engagement. The only time there should be concern over the removal of the ring from the finger is if it is thrown at the fiance and the words “It’s over” are spoken.

Best Ring Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett