Post # 1
Hopefully someone can shed some light on this topic for me. I was wondering where etiquette for weddings originated and how it is passed on. Does it change from country to country or urban/rural or even adjust with socioeconomic groups or age?
I’m wondering because I’m currently invited to a wedding where I feel all the “etiquette” I’ve heard/read on here seems to be disregarded (asking for money and hosting bridal shower to name a few). Am I just hyper aware of all the missteps because of my time on the bee?
Post # 2
somathemagical : there is no simple answer to your question – you could probably do an sociology/anthropology phd on the topic. But briefly, a lot of our (by which I mean white, western – most of what you see here on the bee) current etiquette stems from the Victorian era (though it’s evolved a lot). And yes, etiquette varies from place to place, as culture varies. In essence, etiquette stems from culture and what is considered appropriate and expected by a culture. That doesn’t make etiquette an anything goes situation, though; etiquette WITHIN a single culture does not vary (what constitutes a culture, though, is up for debate). That iw how come we can say that something is rude or a breach of etiquette, because we’re implying it is so within a shared cultural framework.
Post # 3
Etiquette for any situation comes from social and cultural norms developed over time, and as with anything like that, there are going to be a lot of variances– it’s kind of like how there are so many different dialects of a language within a country/region that speaks mostly one language; it’s just too big of a thing in too big of an area to remain totally standardized, if that makes sense.
I definitely think that I’m hyper aware of wedding etiquette because of the bee; that said, I still don’t care if someone hosts their own bridal shower or has a cash bar or whatever. As long as people are nice to me and give me something to eat around dinner time, we’re good. For something as frivolous as a wedding, I think it would be silly of me to sit there going “Well, I didn’t really care about this before, but now that I’ve seen the light I’m absolutely horrified at having to buy my own drink.”
Post # 4
Guantanamera : ah that makes sense! I didn’t know about bridal shower hosting etc before the bee. While I’ve never been to a wedding with a cash bar I don’t think I’d be totally outraged if a couple chose it.
catskillsinjune : Interesting point! She and I suffer in big city/small town circles so I wonder if it’s just something we differ on in terms of norms.
Post # 5
From a few different dictionaries:
-the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group.
-the conduct or procedure required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be observed in social or official life
So yeah, very heavily influenced by society and social groups. Who came up with it? Without a doubt it evolves across time and space… But who influences it more and how exactly does it transmit/evolve I think that’s a question for an anthropologist (and probably one that’s been answered) and I’m sure the answer is fascinating.
Post # 6
Etiquette is just a way to make people feel welcome and accepted at an event you host in polite society. Therefore, wedding etiquette is how you make people feel welcome and accepted at a wedding.
What people count as polite varies from region to region, social circle to social circle, and class to class.
For what it’s worth, asking for money is never done in polite society, which is why it’s generally frowned upon.
Post # 7
Etiquette is just etiquette – there’s nothing different about “wedding etiquette.” I think it comes up more when people are planning weddings because it may be the first formal event they’ve planned.
Miss Manners says “etiquette is the language and currency of civility” – I’ve always liked that definition. I also think it’s about putting the needs and happiness of others above your own.
Post # 8
A wedding is a private social function and comes under the guidelines of the etiquette of hospitality, which is actually remarkably consistent througout the western world. There are some regional traditions, for example the fact that BMs buy their own dresses in the US but they are provided in the U.K. and elsewhere.
However, the examples you give are due to unawareness or ignorance, not different standards of what is acceptable. Etiquette actually allows the poor and the rich, the young and the old, the educated and the uneducated to operate on the same playing field. For example, Miss Manners says host what you can afford, but do it graciously. Cake and punch is just as proper as a black tie, formal reception.
The original Emily Post believed that bringing etiquette to the masses was a way to break down barriers of social class that prevented upward mobility. Of course etiquette existed in society long before her day.
Post # 9
weddingmaven : I adore Miss Manners – her daughter Jacobina had an afternoon tea reception. Very simple and classy. I worked for her son for 15 years so I got to meet her several times – she remembered my name after the first time we met (for like one minute). I didn’t see her for about a year, and she knew my name and exactly who I was. And I was really no one, just an employee of her son’s. I was always impressed by that.
Post # 10
fredthebasil : As you can probably tell, I’m a fan, too. Remembering you after one meeting was impressive, but not surprising considering Martin’s background in journalism and covering White House and embassy social events. Her son, as you no doubt know, has co-written some of her books and columns. I know he’s also big in the opera world. What fun to know both of them!
Post # 11
There’s actually a great book that answers this question called “One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding”
The idea is that a lot of the traditions or “wedding etiquette” is actually created by the wedding industry. For example, even 50 years ago people were much more likely to have morning ceremonies and punch and cake receptions at their parent’s home. Receptions were more likely to be self catered or even potluck style. 100 years ago, people didn’t have showers. Registries used to be gift-grabby and now they are the norm.
Of course, etiquette itself has been around for hundreds of years. However, the thing to keep in mind is that if you’re generally a thoughtful considerate well mannered person in every day life, that will rub off on people even if you mess up “wedding etiquette.” They won’t assume you’re all of a sudden rude. They’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. In contrast, I’ve seen plenty of people without any manners or adherence to etiquette at all suddenly become the queens of THE RULES when it comes to weddings, and it’s like, if you’re a b-, people are still going to think you’re a b- the day after regardless of whether you used the proper salutations and slaved over the seating chart for one day
Post # 12
I’m pretty sure some etiquette was made up by bitchy brides that want to be in control of everything. Example: you can’t wear blush or nude as a guest of the wedding….which is stupid IMO
Post # 13
FebruaryBride026 : Authentic etiquette doesn’t say this at all!