Open Thread

by epi on April 12, 2012

Welcome to the Etiquette Daily

This open thread is your space to use as you like. We invite you to discuss current and traditional etiquette. Feel free to ask questions of each other and the community moderators here.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

polite punk April 12, 2012 at 1:25 pm

this isn’t a question per se, but i just think that it is interesting that the majority of the posts here concern proper etiquette around weddings. i wonder if this is because we are accustomed to act accordingly in every day situations or if it is because we put extra attention into our etiquette around big events, such as weddings? or maybe a combo of the two? thoughts?

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Country Girl April 12, 2012 at 2:14 pm

I think the “wedding skew” seems to be somewhat seasonal from what I’ve noticed. This time of year all we brides and wedding guests are in the planning stages and trying to make sure we are doing things correctly, because as you mentioned a wedding is a likely the biggest and most noted time in one’s life when your etiquette (or lack there of) is put on “public” display. In regards to a wedding, the right or wrong move could potentially delight or offend hundreds of your closets friends and family. =)

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Chocobo April 12, 2012 at 4:35 pm

I don’t really think it has to do with putting effort into weddings so much as formal events are so rare, behaving formally seems like a lot of effort. Many of us are familiar with informal etiquette in our day-to-day lives because most everything we do is casual.

For example, I don’t think we would think twice about saying “Nice ta meet’cha, Bob!” when introduced at a barbeque, but we stumble a bit at the gala trying to blurt out “How do you do?” when meeting Senator So-and-So. It’s not that “How do you do?” is harder to say, only that we don’t use it much so it doesn’t feel natural. I think it is the same with formal etiquette. Weddings are one of the only formal events many of us will have in our lives in an increasingly casual culture, so we have to ask a lot of questions about what is the proper thing to do when suddenly encountering such formality for the first time.

I think we wouldn’t be asking so many questions about proper wedding etiquette if we were more accustomed to proper formal etiquette in general.

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Zakafury April 13, 2012 at 8:31 am

In addition to being almost uniquely formal, weddings also bring together several distinct groups of people.

Although we know what would be fine with our friends and with our family, we might not be so clear on what works for our fiance’s family, his or her friends, and the various friends of parents who might also be invited. We cling to the rules when we need to navigate the differences among our guests.

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Melissa April 12, 2012 at 5:18 pm

My family is invited to a brunch that starts at 11:30. We wouldn’t be able to get there until 12:15. I think it may be a large gathering, but I’m not sure. We’d really like to go. Due to the nature of the event being a brunch, I think I have to decline. I don’t think it is polite to say yes, but we won’t arrive until 45 minutes after its already started. Am I right? How do I word my reply, so that just in case it’s a more casual affair, I can leave it open for the host to say “please come even if you have to come late.”

What do you think about this reply: “Thank you so much for inviting us, but we must decline as J’s soccer game ends at 11:45″

Thanks for your advice!

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Country Girl April 12, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Honestly if I was told “We must decline as J’s soccer game ends at 11:45.” as a host, I might assume you either figured you would be busy that entire morning or just didn’t want to come, and probably would not press the issue. Some teams get together after the game, or perhaps parents like to go home and change and unwind.

However what you might say instead, to show that you are still indeed interested, is “You know we would really love to come over and see everyone. Unfortunately J’s soccer game is that morning and won’t be over until 11:45. I know the brunch begins at 11:30 so unfortunately we wouldn’t make it in time for that, but would would you mind if we popped over after the game so we could still get a chance to see you all?” That way you are not putting pressure on the host to hold the meal for you and he or she will have the opportunity to either decline (though I don’t see that happening) or say “Sure, we’d love to have you whenever you can make it!” or possibly even “Great, we’ll be sure to set a little something extra aside for you!” =)

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Winifred Rosenburg April 12, 2012 at 10:49 pm

Your response is a good one. You are right that for sit-down meals you should decline invitations if you can’t be on time. For cocktail parties were they don’t need everyone there to get started, you can ask the host if it’s alright for you to come late. I suspect brunch falls into the sit-down category, but if it’s buffet-style and the host feels it would be fine for you to come late, I’m sure he’ll let you know based on your reply.

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Melissa April 13, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Thank you for your input!

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Future Bride April 16, 2012 at 10:18 pm

As I start to think about my wedding I am curious about how to best handle the following situation. My parents divorced several years ago and since the divorce I have had no contact with my father. As such, he will not be attending my wedding, and therefore, not walking me down the aisle.

Is it appropriate for a bride to walk, unescorted, down the aisle, or should I consider asking another male figure to give me away? Since my father is still with us, I wasn’t sure what the proper protocol is for this situation.

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Just Laura April 16, 2012 at 10:25 pm

The bride may choose whomever she pleases to escort her down the aisle, or no one at all. I have been to more than one wedding where the mother escorted the bride; most recently, I was matron of honor for my friend who had her 16 year old son walk her down the aisle. It was beautiful.

It is your wedding. If you choose someone for this great honor, make sure it is someone who adequately deserves the honor. I had no one give me away (my parents stood together, at the side). Best of luck to you.

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Alicia April 17, 2012 at 8:15 am

Totally appropriate to walk down unescorted. You can walk however you want by yourself or with whomever you wish. I’ve even seen processionals where the bride and groom enter together ( personally i do not like these as one of my favorite things is watching the grooms eyes when his bride walks in but it is totally acceptable)

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Winifred Rosenburg April 17, 2012 at 10:12 am

I agree with the previous posters and I would pike to add that the person walking you down the aisle no longer has to be male. You could have your mother do it as it sounds like she was your primary caregiver. At my wedding I had both my parents escort me because the idea that my father was more diserving of the honor than my mother seemed silly to me.

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Elizabeth April 17, 2012 at 10:32 am

I did the same, I thought both my parents should be accorded that honor.

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