Post # 1
I’ve seen a lot of posts about etiquette, and what this bride did wrong and what this guest did wrong as far as etiquette dictates.
But that got me wondering about something. How are people supposed to learn what is correct etiquette if no one has ever taught them?
I’m sure I’m not the only person who came from lower-middle class family who never mingled with the upper echelon and never really had a reason to learn “proper” etiquette. I came from a family where practicality was the rule, and being polite was saying please and thank you.
A lot of people don’t know the difference between a salad fork, dinner fork and a dessert fork, because they’ve never had a need to know that. So if they’ve always been invited to more informal weddings and never really had a need to learn the proper way to respond to an R.s.v.p., how would they know it was improper to included an uninvited guest on the response card?
So if “proper” etiquette isn’t taught or considered in everyday life, how do people learn etiquette when it comes to weddings, especially when etiquette says we should be gracious and not point out other people’s faux pas? If it’s improper to tell someone it’s improper to do such and such, how will they know not to do it next time they’re in the same situation?
I’ve seen the it said “they should know”, but I wonder how they should know.
Post # 4
i kind of feel like good manners and etiquette are something you make it your business to learn at some point before you are an adult. There are books, websites, and Dear Abby in the newspaper. I think a lot of it is actually common sense. In my experience, people ask their girlfriends what they think about certain things, so they learn it that way
Post # 5
@Loribeth: WHO DOESNT KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SALAD FORK AND ENTREE FORK??? OR HOW YOU LAY YOUR SILVERWEAR ON YOUR PLATE TO LET THE SERVER KNOW IF YOU ARE FINISHED OR NOT..AMERICAN STYLE OR ENGLISH STYLE??? EVERYONE KNOWS THAT!!! –on a more serious note.. no, you are not the only one with your background. And they dont know.. unless someone explains it to them or they do some research..
Post # 6
If people are really interested in learning proper etiquette, then they can read a book or go online and research. But lots of middle class people are taught manners and etiquette, you don’t have to belong to the “upper echelon” of society to lean. I come from a very middle class family and we were all taught proper table manners, etc.
But there are guidelines for every single possible situation these days. They even updated to include text etiquette and stuff like that. All yours for the learning:)
Post # 7
You read an etiquette book… Or you know you may be in a situation soon, and google it.
Post # 8
Unfortunately, many parents are abdicating responsibility re teaching etiquette. I don’t just mean the issues surrounding weddings , formal dinners etc. I mean simple things like how to hold a fork, saying please and thank-you etc.
This is how people “should know” Their parents should teach them.
Failing that they can go online, go to the library, buy a book or take a class.
Many corporations are having to send new hires or newly promoted employees to a course because their knowledge in this area is sadly lacking.
Post # 9
Oh–and funny story.. My Fiance has a mandatory class at the air force academy to teach the future officers how to be a polite person in society lol… thought that was really cute!
Post # 10
Here’s the thing… if not everyone knows it, then sometimes your good etiquette can be seen by others as rude, wierd, or not even noticed at all.
Best example… the most polite and proper way to write out your invitations so people don’t bring their own guests….. totally lost on others who don’t know better.
Smaller example… signalling at a restaraunt that you are finished with your meal by placing your silverware over your place a certain way. No server in any restaurant I go to would know what it meant… they are just teenagers trying to make some extra cash.
So even if you take the time to learn… it’s all for nothing if nobody recognizes it.
Post # 11
@julies1949: I agree.
How did I learn? Growing up, you learned from your mother and your older female relatives. And, no, not just rich or well-off people. Average, blue-collar family.
It’s mystifying to me that so many don’t know the basic rules. I’m not knocking you (OP), it’s just honestly stuff I thought people learned like I did. I think Julles is right, it’s fallen by the wayside. And the reason there is etiquette rules is so that feelings are not hurt and misunderstandings don’t happen and it’s basic communication. (I’m not referring to “don’t wear white after labor day” sillines — I’m talking about how envelopes are addressed and what “casual attire” versus “black tie” means)
Post # 12
A) Your parents teach you. I grew up middle class and still was taught that etiquette is more than “please” and “thank you” and how I should behave / respond in different situations
B) You teach yourself through research (books, internet, etc). If you’re invited to your first formal wedding and don’t know anything about the etiquette for that type of event/invitation, don’t you think you’d want to learn about it instead of just going in blind and hoping to figure it out along the way?
Post # 13
@rosworms: “signalling at a restaraunt that you are finished with your meal by placing your silverware over your place a certain way. No server in any restaurant I go to would know what it meant… they are just teenagers trying to make some extra cash.”
I’ve know this since I was probably 12 or 13 years old (and again, grew up middle class). Being a teenager isn’t an excuse, IMO.
Post # 14
I agree with this. I think that some things people should pick up even in less formal situations (saying please and thank you, responding if someone invites you to something), but other things we end up getting all sorts of mixed messages and don’t really know what’s what until we’re planning our own wedding. For instance, for some reason I had no idea it was rude to wear white (like short white sundresses, not full wedding dresses obviously) to someone else’s wedding. I had thought that white (and color) was fine but black was unacceptable. There’s also a LOT of examples from TV and movies where people bring random dates to a wedding. The fact that that often causes problems for brides and grooms is something that you don’t realize before you start going through wedding age.
Don’t even get me started on salad forks or setting a proper table. To me, there’s a huge difference between not eating with your hands (and basic politeness) and using the proper fork or spoon (and other formal etiquette).
Post # 15
When I got enagaged, I did research around what was proper etiquette for different parts of the wedding. But honestly, a lot of it seems like common sense – you don’t show up with an uninvited guest to an event that someone else has to pay for, it really doesn’t seem to me that you should need to be taught that.
Post # 16
@rosworms: I don’t know why that would keep you from practicing good etiquette. You don’t need some kind of award or recognition:) It’s like saying that everyone litters so why bother throwing your trash away. Just keep doing what is right and there are lots of people who will notice and appreciate your good manners.