Here at No Award, we like to know our readers are looking their best. And so, No Award is very pleased to present to you a Wedding Etiquette post, thanks to Friend and Official Calligrapher of No Award, Moya, with assistance from Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Book of Etiquette, 1952. We do it all for you.
On declining attendance after acceptance:
You certainly may not back out of an accepted invitation because a more attractive one has arrived. Illness, death in the family, or a sudden business trip are acceptable excuses. If you receive an invitation to the White House for the same date as that of a formal wedding invitation you have
already accepted the White House invitation takes precedence over a social one. A regret, following a previous acceptance, may take this form:
Mr. and Mrs. Morrow Truitt
regret that the sudden illness
of Mrs. Truitt
prevents their attending
the wedding on
Friday, the ninth of June
If the regret is occasioned by a summons to the White House, the second and third lines read:
regret that an invitation to
The White House
On veils (Moya says: This just makes me want to go around putting veils on everyone ever. YOU DON’T GET TO DENY VEILS TO PEOPLE, AMY VANDERBILT):
The bride who has been married before never wears a wedding veil nor does she wear white. Otherwise she dresses for the time of day and the degree of formality her wedding calls for and wears a corsage. Her head covering is either a small hat or a flower arrangement. It is only the bride’s
previous status that determines whether or not she may wear a wedding veil.
On the role of the best man (This makes Steph assume rape and forced marriage, so that’s nice):
The best man has always had an important role in all
weddings. In ancient times, when marriage was by seizure of some girl out-side the tribe, the best man was chosen for his brawn and bravery, as he was needed to fend off the bride’s male relatives and, later, to prevent the bride’s escape from the groom.
The best man takes the groom ‘firmly in hand’, aka, Shipping It:
The best man is adviser, messenger, valet, secretary, and general factotum to the groom. He takes him firmly in hand from the very start of preparations for the wedding, seeing to it that he is fitted for his wedding clothes, if new ones are to be made for him or if they are to be rented that he has
the ties and gloves for the ushers, that he confers with the bride on the needed flowers for ushers and for her bouquet and his boutonniere…
I don’t even know what this is (Moya says: I assume this is to make sure the guests don’t escape. TIE THOSE PEWS TOGETHER, BOYS, THE MOTHER-IN-LAW IS A FLIGHTY ONE):
After the bride’s mother is seated and the canvas, if there is one, is down two designated ushers, starting with their left feet first, walk together up the aisle to the last reserved pews where white satin ribbons have been carefully folded and laid alongside of the decorated aisle posts. They pick
up the entire bundle and, again in step, walk the length of the pews, as rehearsed, drawing the ribbons behind the aisle posts in a straight line, placing the loop at the end of each ribbon over the last aisle post.
On poor silly mens:
Ushers, as members of the wedding party, always give gifts to the bride, individually, before the wedding or together give the couple some major gift from them all, with contributions to the fund tactfully geared to the circumstances of the least affluent usher. A silver tea tray, a chair, or coffee table things the new household needs are appropriate and better than separate gifts from each usher, as men are usually greatly befuddled as to what constitutes a suitable wedding gift. They are often visibly relieved if the bride, when asked, has a concrete suggestion along these lines.
On the modern bridal gift:
On or just before her wedding day the bride receives some personal gift from the groom usually something to wear. Loveliest is a string of pearls, but the modern bride if her husband can afford it may think in terms of a mink coat or her own roadster.
Moya’s official stance on wedding etiquette:
Modern brides have the obligation to do precisely zero of these things, although I am all in favour of hitting up anyone available to give you a roadster as a wedding present. But not a mink coat, unless it’s artificial. (Seriously, go for the roadster).
(And do what makes you happy, especially if that involves wearing forty-seven veils at your third wedding. Veils are great and the judgemental ghost of Amy Vanderbilt will be a feature attraction for your guests.)
No Award end note: Moya is available for calligraphy for weddings and parties, and her nib collection is excellent.