I Need A Break From Etiquette

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
4 posts
  • Wedding: May 2014

Just remember this day is about you and your future husband. There are things people won’t like. There may be things people hate. As long as the two of you are happy, that’s what matters. You have taken more than enough steps to accommodate everyone and now is the point you get to enjoy the start of your new life with your husband. 

Post # 4
2419 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I know I’ve said this before but ultimately, etiquette should be interpreted as a guideline to making things run smoothly and considerately so that your guests get the greatest enjoyment from the event. However it is equally important to recognise that many so called “etiquette rules” are rigid and outdated.

If you start from the principles of good manners and treating people how you would like to be treated then you can’t go very wrong. So yes, adequate seating, nice things to eat and drink and clear invitations that don’t cause confusion are essentials. But never let etiquette become a monster that threatens to take over or that makes you doubt your own abilities to host and enjoy a really great wedding day.

Although people tend to think we have a more formal society in England, I really don’t think we are so tied down by the sort of rigid etiquette as appears to haunt US weddings. I come from a family background that could, in some aspects, be described as “privileged” although I’m afraid that doesn’t come with wealth any longer since earlier generations were cheerfully profligate! However, I can honestly say that while there’s a “right” and “not so right” way of doing things, the higher echelons of English society really don’t trouble their heads with a million and one rules of “etiquette”. In my experience, most people who try and impose their utterly rigid ideas of etiquette (like my former MIL!) do so in order to conceal their basic insecurity about doing things properly. 

So please relax and enjoy your day. As many now married brides will tell you, the little details might have looked great but they mainly go unnoticed! The best weddings are those where guests get to bathe in the happiness of the bride and groom. 


Post # 5
5392 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2014

@Steampunkbride:  This.

I find the US rules on etiquette extremely rigid.

I do think etiquette is important; however, I think it is best to come up with your own etiquette rules based on the area you live in, your social circle, etc, and NOT on what some rule-book is telling you, or the advice of strangers on-line.

According to many posters on here, we are awful human beings because we’re not providing a fully-open bar all day. However, in England, and among the people we know, a fully open bar for the duration is a massive rarity, and what we are providing would be considered extremely generous. Likewise when it comes to plus 1s: over here, it is totally acceptable to invite, say, work colleagues or single friends as a group, and not extend plus 1s to all of them; in fact, most people would only give a plus 1 if someone won’t know anyone else there/will only know 2 other people who are a couple/etc.

Conversely, I see that on here it’s pretty common for men to wear tuxes during the day; this absolutely would not be done among our social group, tuxes are strictly for evening only, and anyone doing this would get side-eyed.

And I should say that our social circle would be considered middle-class; we have a decent amoutn of money in our group, and are also sticklers for manners and etiquette.

The point I’m making is that you need to base your decisions and etiquette rules on your social group; it’s pointless to do otherwise. If I’d listen to ‘advice’ on here, not only would we be facing something like a $12-15k alcohol bill, but some of our guests may see us having a fully open bar has a huge, unnecessary extravagence, and comment on it; and not in a good way. Etc.

Obviously it’s a bit late now in your case; but it sounds like you’ve thought a lot about your guests throughout planning so I think you now need to let go, relax, and enjoy the day. You will never please anyone; but the point of a wedding is for people to come and celebrate your marriage with you. If they’re going to bitch and whinge about your food choices, the activities you’ve set up, etc, then really, are they people you even care about?..

Post # 6
7289 posts
Busy Beekeeper

A lot of the things you have mentioned have nothing to do with etiquette at all. I think the biggest problem is that most people don’t know what etiquette really is.

As long as you have ensured the comfort of your guests (seats, shade, restrooms, heating/cooling if needed etc) and are providing them with appropriate meals then you are meeting the etiquette reqirents as far as guests are concerned. An open bar is not required under etiquette. Providing your guests with refreshments is but it certainly doesn’t have to be alcohol or certain level of alcohol.

As long as you have the basics covered you will be right 🙂

Post # 7
6194 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2013 - The Liberty House

@DaytonaBound:  Sweetie, you joined the wrong wedding board! Don’t worry, everything will be more than fine. If you took your guests into account as much as you say, it won’t go unnoticed.

Post # 8
9859 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2014

I went to The Knot first and also got my ass handed to me.  The ladies over there seem to be exceptionally obsessed with rules and have very little regard for regional norms.

There are ladies here who are quite ‘up’ on etiquette but they’re a little gentler with their advice.

As long as people got their invites in time, you have a chair for everyone and no one is going to starve or die of dehydration I’m sure you’re fine!

Relax, breathe, accept that SOMETHING will probably go wrong, and remember that nothing matters except the fact that you’re getting MARRIED!!!

Post # 9
752 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I feel for you! Big ol’ Internet hug!

Bottom line is you tried your best…you can’t please everyone, and the people are truly happy for you will appreciate your thoughtfulness and love every minute of the day. 

If you have guests who pick things apart and complain (I have some aunts like this) then forget them. Something is seriously lacking in their lives IMO. 

Post # 10
3389 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@DaytonaBound:  Sounds like you have everything covered. release the stress and live in the moment..your wedding will literally fly by so fast make sure you enjoy it! no one will notice most of the things you’re stressing about. trust me on this one..DH and I suffer from wedding amnesia. We can’t remember a thing about our reception except we danced the night away:) and chances are none of our guests do either. 

Post # 11
36 posts
  • Wedding: September 2013

@DaytonaBound:  I understand so much what you’re going through 🙁 My wedding’s in less than 2 months and I am starting to wish so bad that we’d decided to elope instead! I keep thinking of the guests. The FREAKING GUESTS. I just wish they would all cancel. I keep thinking people will be bored with the live jazz band, people will fight, they’ll find the reading at the ceremony too long… Our wedding’s a semi-destination wedding (everyone has to drive about 6-8 hours to get there) and I get anxious about people not being able to afford hotels… We’re already paying for some of our guests’ accomodation only because I was feeling too guilty. Thank god it’s a very small wedding. But then that’s causing me anxiety too! Will I regret having such a small wedding? Perhaps if the crowd was bigger there would be more distractions and so less chance for my feuding family members to quarrel etc etc etc etc ARGHHHHHH 

Post # 12
1466 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

@DaytonaBound:  This day is a celebration of your marriage. It is not someone’s entertainment. The Knot can be great, but they are also trying to market services and are going to convince you that you have to buy everything for your guests. And you DON’T. Have you ever been to a wedding where you had a bad time? I haven’t and I’ve been to really low key and really upscale weddings. You have done all in your power and now it’s up to everyone else to be there for you on your special day. Maybe you should start being a little selfish now. That’s okay to do! Just start thinking about yourself, what you want on that day, the things you want to say to FI (future husband!) that day, how glorious your day is going to feel for you. And most of all, when your mind is racing with etiquette shenanigans, just close your eyes and take a deep breath. And take another deep breath. Taking up meditation may be an awesome thing for you to do right now, actually. I recommend Wherever You Go There You Are by John Kabat-Zinn (I may have miswritten the name of that book…)

Post # 13
1644 posts
Bumble bee

@DaytonaBound:  If you truly need a break from etiquette, then you probably should not come to the etiquette board Innocent. But I don’t suspect that you do. Would you ever say “I need a break from courtesy”? or “I need a break from thoughtfulness”?

“Some” wedding etiquette boards tend to feature a brutal style of communication led by a strong clique engaging in unvaried group-think. The tend to present etiquette as a set of black-and-white simple rule, when actually etiquette is complex and nuanced and, above all, adaptable. By oversimplifying it, many would-be etiquette mavens actually violate the basic principals of etiquette (not to mention that the brutal style of communication they use is itself inherently discourteous, which one would think would make its victims question the credibility of the advice they are getting.)

Etiquette is the language of social interaction, and its intent is to make people comfortable. Think of it as you think of language: “The Queen’s English” might be one’s official language, with all its proper grammer and clear diction — but if you are speaking to a community of people whose dialect is different and who use the same words in different ways, then you are not communicating. “Standard formal protocol” does exist (and does forbid cash bars) but if you are socializing in a community that has no clue what standard formal protocol is in the given situation, then following it is probably not making your guests comfortable. As the redoubtable American manners-writer Samuel Adams wrote: “never disrupt even a low accord.” Getting on with the people who are coming to enjoy your hospitality is far more important than getting the approval of strangers on an internet advice board (who may actually be wrong!)

You know your guests. Your guests are coming to be your guests because they love you. You understand how to make them comfortable and you will. They would themselves be in the wrong (according to true etiquette) to take a judgemental attitude. Etiquette is all about the double standard: holding yourself to your highest standard, while making every allowance imaginable for other people. They will do that for you. Expecting them to do otherwise would be, well, discourteous of you. So instead, relax and enjoy your guests. It will all be well.


Post # 14
2962 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

I didn’t last long on the knot at all!! They disrespected my mother.  I was hesistant to join the Bee but when I did, I have LOVED it and never regreted it!

Post # 15
337 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

@DaytonaBound:  First …. you’re wedding is so close!!! Congrats! Second – I kinda know what you’re talking about.  When it comes to etiquette, I usually read about specific topics or things I’m concerned/curious about, and ultimately I think how I would perceive it on the other side of things.  BUT I think that you are extremely courteous because you are putting so much thought and detail to make sure your guests have a great time.  I know the day is about you and your future husband/life/love, but you are hosting your 20 or 200 nearest and dearest and I totally get you wanting to make sure they are happy, full and comfortable.  Right from the get go we said our wedding is obviously for us! but it is super important that our guests know just how much they mean to us, which would make us happy in return!  The fact that you care so much should reassure you that ‘etiqette’ is check for your big day!

Post # 16
2460 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

I feel your pain! I just had a little etiquette meltdown because we don’t have inner envelopes and I decided that my invitations must all be wrong and everyone will remember my wedding as the wedding without inner envelopes. I also decided that there’s no way I can address the envelopes correctly because I only have one of them.

For my small 25 person wedding! I don’t even need 20 invitations!

My advice for you right now is – this is your wedding day, ENJOY IT!! It’s going to go by so fast and the things that you’re stressing about right now won’t matter, trust me! You will have an amazing day, your guests will have a fantastic time and you will be married to the man of your dreams!

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