Wedding Survey Results: Clothes, Vol. 5, Issue 11

Etiquetteer would like to thank everyone, anonymous and identified, who took Etiquetteer’s wedding survey over the last month. It has been very interesting intepreting the results; most respondents are more permissive than Etiquetteer would prefer . . . which makes this a Perfectly Proper time to review them.Exactly 145 responses to the survey were received. Females responded to the survey roughly twice as much as males, 69% to 31%. 54% said they had never been married in a wedding service, 39% had been married once, and 7% more than once. Of those who chose to define their politics, liberals responded most (52%), followed by moderates (21%), ultra-liberals (13%) and conservatives (11%). The ultra-conservatives stayed home, but 2% of the apathetics at least roused themselves to take the survey.As a general rule "anything they want" is not the Perfectly Proper answer. Unfortunately, it was the most popular. Answers given in bold are Perfectly Proper.Question One: When should a bride be allowed to wear white at her wedding?2.1%......At her first wedding, but only if she is a virgin.16.0%.. At her first wedding, regardless of her virginity.5.6%.... Only at her first wedding, not if she remarries for any reason.73.6%... At any wedding, if that’s what she wants.0.0%..... Never: it’s an archaic symbol.Comments: 1. As the mood strikes her. Their wedding, their rules!Etiquetteer responds: Ladies and gentlemen, behold the princess bride!2. "At any wedding" and "it's an archaic (and vulgar) symbol" both apply here.3. At any wedding if she wants, but she must be willing to accept some criticism for doing so. I think a bride's attire should reflect a respect for the commitment of marriage regardless of color.4. I think a bride should wear whatever she wants...but taste and thought should be used! Etiquetteer responds: And taste and thought dictate that a bride wears only white at her first wedding.Question Two: should a bride ever be allowed to wear black?68.1%.....Yes, if she wants to2.8%.......Yes, if she’s a Goth15.3%.....No under any circumstances9.0%.......No, it means she’s in mourningComments: 1. If she is insane.2. Black is fine; it might be the only color she looks good in.Etiquetteer responds: Etiquetteer remains unswayed by that argument. Midnight blue is a beautiful compromise color here.3. If there is a specific reason for wearing black that the guests are made aware of, then it would be OK, but still odd.Etiquetteer responds: What reason could that be? This strikes Etiquetteer as far too eccentric.4. As the mood strikes her. Their wedding, their rules!Etiquetteer responds: Again, the princess bride!5. Well, let’s see . . . what color are some formal tuxedos? Are the groom and groomsmen in mourning?Etiquetteer responds: Etiquetteer does not pretend to understand the contradictions between the clothes of ladies and the clothes of gentlemen, only to observe them.6. Yes, if the bride intends it as a sign of mourning and is being married in an informal ceremony and without a great deal of celebration (for example, if a parent just died.)Etiquetteer responds: Ah, but a wedding is the one exception to mourning dress. Emily Post, bless her, gave specific dispensation to bridesmaids in mourning to wear colors because a bridesmaid’s dress was really her uniform for the wedding. Etiquetteer offers the same dispensation for brides and could only add that, if you are so prostrate with grief that you wouldn’t dream of going to someone’s wedding without wearing black, then you are really not ready to be out in public yet and should decline the invitation.Question Three: Should a bride ever be allowed to wear red?84.6%...Yes, if she wants to15.4%...No, she’ll look like a prostituteEtiquetteer adds: This is not true of Eastern cultures, of course, where red is the traditional color for brides. But as Etiquetteer has said before, it’s the color of harlotry in the West, and therefore undignified for a bride.Question Four: What is the correct dress for a groom at a FORMAL wedding that starts before 5:00 PM?22.4%...Anything he wants24.5%...Dark suit and tie23.8%...Tuxedo27.3%.. Cutaway coat and striped trousers2.1%.....White tie and tailsEtiquetteer adds: There are those who might think of this as a trick question, but Etiquetteer finds it quite simple. Dark suits and ties are worn to informalweddings ("informal" really does not mean "without a tie;" Etiquetteer leaves that to "casual.") The cutaway coat with striped trousers (and frequently a pearl-gray top hat) is Perfectly Proper formal dress for a daytime wedding. Tuxedos and white tie, Etiquetteer must point out sternly, are evening clothes and completely incorrect before 5:00 PM.

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