Wedding Survey Comments, Vol. 5, Issue 10

Etiquetteer would like to thank everyone who responded to Etiquetteer’s Wedding Survey. The survey will close Monday, March 20, at 10:00 PM EST, but Etiquetteer thought it appropriate to start addressing now some of the interesting issues raised by responding to some of the open-ended comments given at the end:Comment: Weddings are an expression of love between two individuals.Etiquetteer: Etiquetteer could not agree more, but would note that weddings are an expression of love between two people to their families and friends assembled.Comment: Make the wedding a celebration of your love of each other and those you have invited to share this momentous moment in your lives - not some nerve-wracking extravaganza where any detail that goes wrong dooms the joy of the day.Etiquetteer: Etiquetteer thanks you for including the guests in the general purpose of the wedding; Etiquetteer has long felt that the guests are often overlooked. As for the day being ruined by one detail gone wrong, Etiquetteer would like to point out that it’s the reaction to the mistake that dooms the day. So the groom forgot the ring? The flowers aren’t what you ordered? The mother of the bride secretly changed all the music in the service? The DJ ignored all your favorite songs? Laugh! Make every error a source of amusement and you will resurrect disaster into an anecdote for years to come.Comment: Formality is silly. A wedding is about commitment not etiquette.Etiquetteer: What do you think etiquette is? Talking in a fake English accent in a cathedral? A wedding is never about etiquette, but even informal weddings need a set of rules for people to follow to keep everyone from offending each other. And you would be amazed how often feelings are hurt at weddings.Comment: Weddings should be fun for the people involved. If it doesn't sound like fun, don't give one or go to one.Etiquetteer: Who said fun and etiquette don’t go together? Etiquetteer will never forget attending a family wedding with a buffet dinner reception several years ago. The Happy Couple selected a fish as their emblem. The groom made fish magnets for all the guests as souvenirs, as well as a bride fish and a groom fish for the wedding cake. They even had live goldfish instead of flowers for centerpieces. Instead of rice, everyone blew bubbles at them as they departed on their honeymoon. One of their friends even created a wedding crossword puzzle! And yet the wedding was as formal as any Perfectly Proper wedding, with a receiving line and toasts.Comment: I don't think the bride and groom or guests have any more of a right to forgo manners at a wedding. Everyone should be friendly and well-mannered even if they have been offended, left out in some way, or don't agree with the wedding choices. There is so much going on that people shouldn't take things too personally.Etiquetteer: Amen! But Etiquetteer acknowledges that this is difficult to do when you haven’t been invited and feel you should have been.Comment: I think the bride and groom should do whatever they want, but also be considerate of their guests. So, even if my groom and I want a steakhouse-themed dinner, we would make sure hearty veggie options are also available for those who don't eat meat. If we decide to get married in Europe, I would understand that my grad school friends just couldn't make it (and I wouldn't pressure them to show up knowing it was financially impossible for them). On that note, I think guests should be considerate of the bride and groom's values, etc., and what they want. So, it's very rude to criticize the wedding for not being traditional enough, nice enough, etc. If you don't agree with how a wedding is going to be held, just don't go. For example, I'm having a very low-key, nontraditional wedding (no bridal party, just cocktails and appetizers) for many reasons: it reflects my and my fiance's values, and it's cheaper that way (we're paying for it ourselves). Some people have decided not to come, because it's not worth flying cross-country for what's not a "real" wedding to them. To me, this is so insulting I no longer want to be friends with these people. My wedding is no less sacred or important just because I can't afford the traditional shebang.Etiquetteer: Etiquetteer is always amazed when brides do just what they want and don't understand why people feel unhappy about going to their weddings. Have you noticed that you’ve just ignored your own advice? You’re having a wedding that your friends disagree with, they’ve decided not to go (which is just what you’ve recommended), but now you’re insulted. If your "values" involve making people spend a lot of money to travel cross-country for a cocktail party, then it’s time to adopt some more selfless values. You are behaving like a princess bride and you had just better stop that right now. Etiquetteer thinks it would have been better for you to invite only those who live locally to attend the wedding and send wedding announcements to everyone else.

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