- 5 years ago
- Wedding: August 2017
I came across a copy of Sensible Etiquette of the Best Society, Customs, Manners, Morals, and Home Culture by “Mrs. H. O. Ward,” published 1878, at work a little while back, trying to sort out our fragile book room. And, just for a giggle, decided to look at their wedding etiquette section. Then I had a second cup of coffee and remembered that public domain books are usually on the internet! So share in this joy with me.
Here are my favorite bits of how to throw a proper wedding in 1878.
“Perfect self-control should be exhibited by all parties during the ceremony; nothing is more undignified than exhibitions of feeling in public. People who are unable to control their emotions should stay home.” Sorry, folks who cry at weddings! And that includes my groom, alas.
“The bridal costume most approved for young brides is of while silk…and a wreath of maiden blush roses with orange blossoms. The roses she can continue to wear, but the orange blossoms are suitable only for the ceremony. No jewelry of any description, for when she goes up to the altar she is still a young girl, but she leaves it with the privilege of ever after appearing at her will in diamonds, thick silks, expensive laces and cashmere shawls, where her husband’s means permit these indulgences.”
“White neckties are not worn with frock-coats under any circumstances.”
“The entry of the bridal party to the church may be varied to suit the taste, but care should be taken to avoid dramatic effects while endeavoring to be picturesque and impressive.”
“Indeed, the universal bridal present has fallen into disuse along with the universal funeral bouquet.”
“The guests bidden to a marriage in the house, or to a marriage feast following the ceremony in church, are in the same position as are they who receive an invitation from royalty. They do not feel at liberty to decline from any whim.”
“Only such persons are invited as the young people choose to keep as friends, or perhaps only those whom they can afford to retain. It is an easy and sensible opportunity for carefully rearranging one’s social list, because there are limitations to hospitality, which are frequently more necessary than agreeable.”
“If the wedding occur in the evening, the only difference in the ceremonials of the morning is that the ushers or groomsmen wear full toilette, and the bridal pair retire quietly to dress for their journey before the dancing party disperses, and thus leave unobserved.”
All right, so as to the last one, I’m all for the bride and groom getting to “leave unobserved,” but that’s the anxiety talking. Think we could get away with ditching our own reception midway through, declaring “It’s tradition; that makes it okay”?